Birmingham, Alabama has a wide variety of different industries and experiences available within its borders. There are beautiful buildings and murals, wonderful hospitals and colleges in the area, and even some historical landmarks and museums. However, it is important to understand the full picture of what Birmingham, Alabama is like before visiting or moving there.
Birmingham, Alabama has an incredibly high crime rate in comparison to the national average and the state average. There is almost 250% more crime in Birmingham, Alabama than the national average. Within 2018, there were 88 murders, 4,025 violent crimes, and 13,295 property crimes.
Crime rates that are that high bode for some extreme issues. It is important to understand where the safe areas of Birmingham are, what kinds of crime are the most prevalent, and how to report a crime in this area.
Safe Areas of Birmingham
Birmingham, Alabama has a variety of areas and atmospheres around the city. Some of the places nearby are actually quite safe and are considered some of the nicest places in the entire state. One of these areas is called Mountain Brook. Mountain Brook is a suburb of Birmingham that is near a golf course and the zoo. Sadly, it is also one of the most expensive places in Birmingham. Vestavia Hills is about a 10-20 minute drive from Downtown Birmingham. It is also a safe city that is ranked the fourth safest for violent crime and eighth safest for property crime in the entire state.
Within the boundaries of Birmingham, there are a variety of other safer areas and neighborhoods. A good rule of thumb is to stay on the outskirts of the city. The center of Birmingham, like North Avondale and East Avondale, is shown as some of the highest crime areas in the city. Safer neighborhoods are on the outskirts near Hoover, Bessemer, and Trussville. Examples of safe nearby neighborhoods include New Hope, Shoal Creek, Meadowbrook, and Eagle Point. People looking to set down roots near Birmingham are best off looking for homes a little further out but still within a reasonable commute distance.
Inside Tips from a Previous Birmingham Resident
I used to live in the Birmingham area in a city called Hoover. I lived there for about nine months and was constantly traveling around the city and meeting all kinds of people for my work. I found that there are a few different tips and tricks that I wished I would have known before moving to the area. This is also supported by fellow coworkers who lived there after I did.
One thing I wish I would have known is that there is a large homeless population in Downtown Birmingham. The city does a lot for its citizens and has monthly free meals for the homeless. However, they can be found anywhere, especially under bridges in the summer or at night. It is best to be nice and decent human beings, as homeless people still are people. However, it would also be smart to not carry around large amounts of cash or offer cash to homeless people. It is better to offer food or clothing to people in need for safety purposes and for their well-being.
Another tip that I would personally recommend is being aware of where well-lit spots are for parking and walking at night and in the day. It is typically not the smartest idea to walk at night, but sometimes there is no alternative. By knowing where good spots are to park and walk to different locations, it is easier to feel and remain safe. It also helps people avoid parking in dark neighborhoods, where crime is more prevalent. During the day, there are still some sketchier parts of the city that would be best to avoid. Going to active and public spaces is probably the best option.
The best rule of thumb a friend suggested was to not go places after dark that a person hadn’t been to previously in the daylight. It is safer to know exactly what the area looks like in the daylight, what the people are like, and which specific building or home a person was going to. In the dark, it is a lot easier to get lost and become unaware of the situation, especially if they don’t know what to expect. It is also safest to travel in groups of two or more people, just to avoid looking like an easy target for crime.
What Kinds of Crime is Most Prevalent in Birmingham, Alabama?
The types of crime that can be found in Birmingham are varied and differ from the rest of the state. The amount of arson in Birmingham exceeds the average for any other type of crime in Alabama. They also have a higher rate of robbery, aggravated assault, murder, and larceny. The average for any type of crime in Birmingham is automatically greater per capita than the rest of the state.
How to Report a Crime in Birmingham, Alabama
Potentially one of the reasons why the crime rate is so high in Birmingham, Alabama is because the city website was completely blank when it came to explaining how to report a crime in the city. This was noticed in October of 2022. Hopefully, as time continues, there is more information to be found for locals.
Luckily, the state website has much more resources available for people wanting to report a crime that happened to themselves or to someone else. The general rule of thumb is to report crimes in progress or when bystanders fear for their safety or the safety of others immediately through 911. People who hear of a crime, witness the aftermath of the crime, or cannot report it until after the fact should report through the non-emergent line. The number for the Alabama police department is 1.800.392.8011. They can also file a suspicious activity report that will be reviewed by officers and handled accordingly.
Considering these facts, it is likely that people will seriously consider whether moving or vacationing there is the best option. However, with time, hopefully, the crime rate will drop. One day, people might feel safer living in the area and enjoying the amenities therein.