15 Safest Cities in Alabama [2023 Data]

June 23rd, 2023

15 Safest Cities in Alabama [2023 Data]

So, you’ve decided to look for your next home in Alabama, but maybe you're not sure where to start your home search. Between a low cost of living and great weather, what’s not to love? In a state with over 5 million residents, there are many cities to choose from, whether you want to live the Appalachian life or move to a major city. 

Looking at safety is a great place to start, but there’s more than just crime rates to consider when you move to Alabama. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 15 safest cities in Alabama, looking at nine different factors to give you the big picture. Keep reading to learn more about these top cities and find your next home base.

Methodology disclaimer: We've included indirect factors like poverty rates to broaden our scale. However, these factors are weighted less than crime rates because poverty rates and income alone don’t determine whether or not a city is safe. We break down how each element was weighted in our methodology section.


Map shows the 15 safest cities in Alabama.




Violent Crime Rate per 100K

FEMA National Risk Index (out of 100)

UpHomes Safety Rank






Pell City





Rainbow City















Muscle Shoals















Mountain Brook




































1. Headland

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Headland.


County: Henry County

Population: 5,501

Violent crime rate: 73 per 100,000

FEMA score: 49.89


Headland is a city located in southeast Alabama, and it’s the largest city in Henry County. This city is based on an agricultural economy — it’s home to the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, where Auburn University researchers study local crops and farming practices. Though the city has more of a small-town feel, it’s less than 20 minutes away from Dothan.

Headland earns its spot as the safest city in Alabama due to its low natural disaster risk, population density, and cost of living (which is 19.6% below the national average). Unlike other cities, it has relatively low crime rates in both the city and the county overall, making Headland a safe community for families

2. Pell City

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Pell City.


County: St. Clair County

Population: 13,976

Violent crime rate: 14 per 100,000

FEMA score: 70.79


Along the Coosa River, Pell City is another classic riverside city known for its scenic views and beautiful parks. At Lakeside Park, families can enjoy the beach, boat launches, and fishing tournaments. It’s the perfect place to live if you want to enjoy riverside activities in a city that’s less than 40 minutes from Birmingham.

Pell City is very safe — it scores third for violent crime and fourth for nonviolent crime rates. The cost of living is high, although still 8.4% below the national average. With this in mind, Pell City is the second safest city in Alabama and the place to be if you want the best of both city and country life.

3. Rainbow City

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Rainbow City.


County: Etowah County

Population: 10,146

Violent crime rate: 30 per 100,000

FEMA score: 82.25


Rainbow City runs along the Coosa River and is about an hour drive from Birmingham. It’s named after Highway 411, or the Rainbow Drive, which runs through the middle of town. There are many recreational activities to do in Rainbow City, including a free 18-hole disc golf course in the Vivian Lee Maddox Sports Complex, where you can enjoy quality time with friends and family.

Rainbow City is a very low crime city. It has the fifth lowest violent crime and second lowest nonviolent crime rate of the 100 cities we studied. Despite the low crime rate in Rainbow City, Etowah County has higher crime rates, which brings Rainbow City to third on our list. This still makes Rainbow City a top place to live in Alabama.

4. Southside

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Southside.


County: Etowah and Calhoun County

Population: 9,584

Violent crime rate: 31 per 100,000

FEMA score: 82.25


Across the Coosa River from Rainbow City, you’ll find the town of Southside. The two cities share a school district, despite their locations on opposite sides of the river. Southside is more of a rural town, perfect for taking it slow. In the summertime the local Sports Complex hosts both youth and adult sports tournaments, which are the perfect opportunity to meet friends, whether you’re new to the area or grew up there.

Southside is the fourth safest city in Alabama. It has the seventh lowest violent and nonviolent crime rate and the 10th lowest poverty rate. These factors make Southside the perfect choice if you’re interested in moving to the Gadsden metropolitan area but want to ensure you live in a safe area.

5. Monroeville

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Monroeville.


County: Monroe County

Population: 5,754

Violent crime rate: 70 per 100,000

FEMA score: 58.89


Monroeville is another small city in southern Alabama. It’s the hometown of one of America’s most famous writers, Harper Lee, making it the Literary Capital of Alabama. Monroeville inspired the setting for both “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Go Set a Watchman.” Each year, a stage production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” takes place in the Monroeville courthouse, drawing many literary-minded visitors.

But what makes Monroeville such a safe place to live? It has the 11th lowest violent crime and third lowest nonviolent crime rate on our list. This makes Monroeville the fifth safest city overall in Alabama and a great place to live for book lovers.

6. Muscle Shoals

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Muscle Shoals.


County: Colbert County

Population: 17,222

Violent crime rate: 35 per 100,000

FEMA score: 71.91


Just south of the Tennessee River, you’ll find the city of Muscle Shoals. This city is a great place for music lovers. It’s known as home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio — though the studio is technically located in a neighboring town. The studio offers tours and is still a working recording studio where bands like The Black Keys have recorded their hits.

When it comes to safety, Muscle Shoals has the eighth lowest violent crime and 10th lowest nonviolent crime rates on our list. Colbert County itself is also very safe, with the ninth lowest violent crime and fifth lowest nonviolent crime rate on our list, making Muscle Shoals the sixth safest city overall. Whether you’re looking to rock out or live a quieter riverside life, there’s a place in Muscle Shoals for you.


7. Gardendale

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Gardendale


County: Jefferson County

Population: 17,289

Violent crime rate: 6 per 100,000

FEMA score: 96.47


Gardendale is a city located north of Birmingham, just a 15-minute drive to the heart of the city. This makes it a great alternative if you’re not sure about moving to Birmingham but like the area. Residents enjoy walking around Black Creek Park, which has areas in both Fultondale and Gardendale. Residents particularly enjoy Rails to Trails, an easy but long hike with minimal elevation and many resting areas. After your hike, wander through Gardendale Pickers, a local favorite antique mall with 95,000 square feet of treasures to discover.

When it comes to crime rates, Gardendale comes out on top with the second lowest violent crime rate and lowest nonviolent crime rate on our list. Its higher cost of living (though still 9.7% below the national average) compared to the rest of Alabama and higher county crime rates are what makes Gardendale the seventh safest city on our list.

8. Rainsville

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Rainsville.


County: DeKalb County

Population: 5,767

Violent crime rate: 121 per 100,000

FEMA score: 69.42


Rainsville is a unique city in Alabama that’s located on top of Sand Mountain, a large sandstone plateau spanning areas in northeast Alabama, northwest Georgia, and southeast Tennessee. This makes Rainsville a scenic arena boasting mountain biking, cavern and canyon exploring, and other unique outdoor activities.

Rainsville has the 23rd lowest violent crime rate, 13th lowest nonviolent crime rate, 20th lowest FEMA index, and 17th lowest cost of living on our list. These factors make it a solid choice for your next home and the eighth safest city in Alabama.

9. Mountain Brook

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Mountain Brook.


County: Jefferson County

Population: 21,665

Violent crime rate: 0 per 100,000

FEMA score: 96.47


Mountain Brook is a suburban city where you can enjoy the most popular attractions of Birmingham while living in a suburban atmosphere. The Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Vulcan Park and Museum are all right on the border of Mountain Brook, so there’s no shortage of sights to see and things to do.

Mountain Brook is one of the few cities on our list where the cost of living is above the national average, and it’s the most expensive city on our list. But it has the lowest violent crime rate and fifth lowest nonviolent crime rate, so it comes in ninth place. Not to mention there’s tons to do, so it’s no surprise why so many families make Mountain Brook their home.

10. Glencoe

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Glencoe.


County: Etowah and Calhoun County

Population: 5,400

Violent crime rate: 93 per 100,000

FEMA score: 82.25


Glencoe is located in the southeast Gadsden metropolitan area. Glencoe offers a unique experience called Dive Land Park, where certified divers and snorkelers of almost any skill level can explore. Whether or not you choose to dive in, the park has primitive camping sites and live music for everyone to enjoy.

What makes Glencoe the 10th safest city in Alabama? It has the 17th lowest violent crime rate, 19th lowest nonviolent crime rate, and is tied with Muscle Shoals for the 12th lowest poverty rate on our list. This area also offers the 10th lowest population density for families who value their own space.

11. Margaret

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Margaret.


County: St. Clair County

Population: 5,955

Violent crime rate: 168 per 100,000

FEMA score: 70.79


Margaret is a northeast suburb of Birmingham and about a 40-minute drive to the city. Whether you’re looking for a home close to Margaret Lake so you can take advantage of the best fishing spots or just want some respite after a day exploring Birmingham, you’ll want to look for a home in Margaret.

Margaret comes in 11th on our list as it has the sixth lowest nonviolent crime rate and 16th lowest poverty rate.

12. Athens

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Athens.


County: Limestone County

Population: 29,923

Violent crime rate: 30 per 100,000

FEMA score: 73.59


Athens is just north of the Tennessee River and 36 minutes west of Huntsville. Looking to experience some classic Southern culture? The Limestone Sheriff’s Rodeo has been running for 41 years and takes place each May, with contestants competing for a $50,000 prize. You might also recognize Athens from our roundup of the best places to live in Alabama.

Athens has the sixth lowest violent crime rate in Alabama, though the nonviolent crime rate is higher, coming in 31st. The cost of living in Athens is 13.8% below the national average, which is one of the reasons Athens is the 12th safest city in Alabama.


13. Pelham

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Pelham.


County: Shelby County

Population: 25,154

Violent crime rate: 83 per 100,000

FEMA score: 87.40 


Pelham is best known as the home of Oak Mountain State Park. Here you can enjoy the beauty of Alabama and many outdoor activities such as:


  • Camping

  • Hiking 

  • Mountain biking

  • Cable skiing

  • Boating

  • Fishing

  • Picnicking

  • Horseback riding


The park is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Center, where you can view the native birds they’re rehabilitating via the Treetop Nature Trail.

Whether you’re into roughing it or a gentle walk is more your speed, you’ll find the perfect home in Pelham. It’s the 13th safest city in Alabama with the 14th lowest violent crime rate and sixth lowest poverty rate, though the nonviolent crime rate is a bit higher, coming in 23rd on our list.

14. Satsuma

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Satsuma.


County: Mobile County

Population: 6,837

Violent crime rate: 59 per 100,000

FEMA score: 98.79


Satsuma is a suburb just 20 minutes north of Mobile. Agriculture has always been a major part of life in Satsuma. It was once known as Fig Tree Island before the city was renamed to refer to the sweet Satsuma oranges that were introduced to the region in the late 1800s. Today, the area is known for pecan and Satsuma orange cultivation.

Satsuma offers a safe suburban home close to Mobile. It has the ninth lowest violent crime and eight lowest nonviolent crime rate on our list. However, the FEMA index is a bit high, which makes it the 14th safest city in Alabama.

15. Helena

Image shows key information for one of the safest cities in Alabama, Helena.


County: Shelby and Jefferson County

Population: 22,521

Violent crime rate: 151 per 100,000

FEMA score: 87.40


Helena is a suburb of Birmingham with a higher population, offering a true mix of suburban and city life. It’s located half an hour south of the city. The town is in the midst of renovating its Main Street area to reflect the beauty of the local creeks. The surrounding community is full of parks to explore, including Moss Rock Preserve, which is just 20 minutes away and has stunning waterfalls.

Helena finishes off our list of the safest cities in Alabama. It features the ninth lowest nonviolent crime rate, although the violent crime rate comes in 29th. Helena also offers a lower poverty rate and higher population density if you want a suburban home with a more social atmosphere.

Other Safest Cities in Alabama

We evaluated 100 cities in Alabama, but just because an area didn’t crack the top 15 doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Here are the next 15 safest cities according to our methodology:


  1. Daphne

  2. Trussville 

  3. Prattville

  4. Moody

  5. Vestavia Hills

  6. Pleasant Grove

  7. Alabaster

  8. Hamilton

  9. Leeds

  10. Auburn

  11. Albertville

  12. Montevallo

  13. Foley

  14. Cullman

  15. Hueytown


To create our study of the safest cities in Alabama, we took the 100 most populous cities and evaluated them based on seven weighted variables.


  • City violent crime rate — 35%

  • City nonviolent crime rate — 30%

  • FEMA index rating — 15%

  • Median household income — 5%

  • Poverty rate — 5%

  • Cost of living — 5%

  • Population density — 5%


Of our 100 original cities, five were excluded due to a lack of crime data. Some cities are seated in multiple counties. For these areas, we used the following counties for their county crime rate:


  • Autauga County: Prattville

  • Etowah County: Southside, Glencoe

  • Jefferson County: Vestavia Hills, Trussville, Leeds

  • Shelby County: Helena

Finding Your Sweet Home Alabama

We know safety is top of mind when you’re looking for your next home. Alabama is a state with great weather, amazing natural beauty, and it’s one of the most inexpensive states to buy a house in America. Explore homes in Alabama on UpHomes to find the perfect place in any of the safest cities in Alabama.

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.