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The 10 most dangerous places in Alabama

Anniston, Alabama (Photo: Wikipedia)
Anniston, Alabama (Photo: Wikipedia)

Movoto, one of the web’s most-read real estate blogs, this week released a list of the “10 Most Dangerous Places in Alabama.”

“Alabama may have a lot going for it—it was the birthplace of greats like Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, and, of course, Channing Tatum, and was even the first state to build a rocket that put a human on the moon,” wrote Movoto’s Natalie Grigson. “Pretty high marks there.”

But in spite of those “high marks,” Grigson says some parts of the state are lacking in one area in particular — safety.

“Alabama may be the Heart of Dixie, but these 10 cities seem to be the heart of crime,” she said.

Before we dig into the cities, let’s take a look at the methodology Movoto used to come to their conclusions:

In order to create this list, we started by making a list of all of the places in Alabama with populations of 10,000 people or more, according to the U.S. Census. Then we used the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report to look at each place according to the following criteria:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Vehicle theft

We then divided these crimes into four different categories:

  • Murders
  • Violent crimes
  • Property crimes
  • Total crimes

We omitted any place that didn’t report data to the bureau that year, which left us with a total of 52 places. We then calculated each place’s number of crimes per capita (or per person) in order to fairly compare cities of all sizes. We gave each place a score from 1 to 52 in our four categories—murders, violent crimes, property crimes, and total crimes—all per capita.

Next, we weighted murders, violent crimes, and property crimes so that they each comprised 30 percent of the overall score, whereas the total number of crimes comprised 10 percent.

Finally, we averaged each city’s rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, where the lower the score, the more dangerous the place.

So what’d they find?

Here are Movoto’s Top 10 Most Dangerous Places in Alabama, along with a short blurb from Movoto about each one:

1. Anniston

In 2012, Anniston residents were some of the most likely in the state to be the victim of a crime—they had a 1 in 8 chance.

2. Bessemer

(Bessemer) ranked high on our list for having both the highest number of property crimes and overall crimes per capita… Bessemer also had a high number of violent crimes—the third most per capita in the state.

3. Fairfield

Fairfield had the second highest number of property crimes, the fifth highest number of violent crimes, and the sixth highest number of murders, all adding up to the second most total crimes per capita.

4. Selma

Selma had the third highest number of murders per capita in the state (and also) the fourth highest number of property crimes, making for the fourth highest number of crimes overall.

5. Prichard

(Prichard) ranked so high on our list (because of) its high number of violent crimes—it had the most per capita in the state. Most of these were assaults, followed by robberies, but there were also a high number of rapes and even the second most murders per capita.

6. Birmingham

(Birmingham) had the most murders per capita (in the state), and also ranked the fourth highest for its number of violent crimes in general, and eighth for its number of property crimes.

7. Opelika

Opelika had the sixth most murders per capita in the state. It also had the 10th highest number of violent crimes overall and the 11th highest number of property crimes per person. All told, Opelika residents had a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of a crime for the year of our study.

8. Talladega

Talladega had the fifth most property crims per capita in the state. It ranked 13th for its number of violent crimes per capita, adding up to give it the sixth highest number of total crimes per capita in the state.

9. Troy

(Troy had) the eighth most murders per capita in the state (and) the 14th most violent crimes.

10. Huntsville

Huntsville had the eighth highest number of violent crimes per capita. The majority of these were assaults, but this also included the 16th most murders per capita. Overall, with the 15th most crimes per capita for the year, residents had a 1 in 17 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Check out the full list of cities below, or head over the Movoto for more details.

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