Is Birmingham, Alabama Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know (Stats, Maps And Tips)


is birmingham alabama safe

If you are thinking about visiting Birmingham and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

We are going to deep dive into the statistics, look at some maps, graphs and talk to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe Birmingham really is.

Is Birmingham, Alabama Safe To Visit?

Birmingham is not a safe place to visit. It consistently ranks on the list of most dangerous cities in the US.

In 2020, Birmingham had the 7th highest violent crime rate and it murder rate was the second highest in the nation.

Birmingham’s Population

The population for the Birmingham in 2020 was 200,733

Birmingham, Alabama Crime Stats

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in Birmingham for 2019 and 2020.

2019

2020

2019 vs 2020

Murder

115

122

+6.1%

Rape

159

87

-45.3%

Robbery

764

485

-36.5%

Aggravated Assault

2,888

2,472

-14.4%

TOTAL VIOLENT

3926

3,166

-19.4%

Burglary

2,444

1,652

-32.4%

Larceny/Theft

6,484

5,138

-20.8%

Motor Vehicle Theft

2,026

1,431

-29.4%

TOTAL PROPERY

10,954

8,221

-24.9%

TOTAL

14,880

11,387

-23.5%

*All data is from the Birmingham Police Department

Birmingham Violent Crime Rate

In 2020 Birmingham reported 3,166 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 1,577.21 per 100,000 people.

The national average for violent crime is 366.7 per 100,000 residents. Birmingham’s violent crime rate is 4.3x greater than the national average.

Alabama’s violent crime rate is 453.6 per 100,000. Birgmingham’s violent crime rate is 3.5x greater than Alabama’s national average.

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Birmingham Property Crime Rate

In 2020 Birmingham reported 8,221 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 4,095.5 per 100,000 people.

The national average for property crime is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents. Birmingham’s property crime rate is 1.9x greater the national average.

Out of the 100 most populous cities in the United States, Birmingham’s property crime rate ranked 32th place.

**Property crimes include; arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are classified as property crimes. The property crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Birmingham Murder Stats

In 2020 Birmingham reported 122 homicides, which was a 6% increase over 2019, where 115 homicides were reported.

In 2020 Birmingham had a murder rate of 60.77 per 100,000 residents.

The national murder rate is 6.5 per 100,000 people. Birmingham’s murder rate is 9.4x greater the national average.

It’s murder rate is the second highest in the nation, only trailing behind St. Louis.

The last time murder was this bad in Birmingham was in 1992 when it reported 148 murders.

As of December 3, 2021, there have already been 123 homicides reported and is on pace to finish the year with 133 homicides.

There is one homicide every 2.7 days in Birmingham.

Birmingham vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States

Here’s a list of the top 11 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates. Birmingham ranks 9th on most dangerous cities in the United States.

violent crime rate most dangerous cities

City Population Number of violent crimes in 2020 Rate per 100,000 people
Memphis 633,104 15,310 2,418.24
Detroit 639,111 14,370 2,248.44
Baltimore 2,707,064 9,273 2,027.01
St. Louis 301,578 6,017 1,995.17
Little Rock 202,591 3,657 1,805.11
South Bend 103,453 1,765 1,706.09
Cleveland 372,624 6,281 1,685.61
Milwaukee 577,222 9,407 1,629.70
Birmingham 200,733 3,166 1,577.21
Kansas City 508,090 7,919 1,558.58
Lansing 112,644 1,699 1,508.29
Springfield 169,176 2,545 1,504.35

*All data is from the 2019 FBI Crime Stats Report**

Birmingham, Alabama’s Worst Neighborhoods

Here’s a map showing you where gangs are most active and crime is prevalent in Birmingham.

Neighborhoods In Birmingham To Avoid:

  • North Birmingham
  • Ensley
  • The West End
  • East Lake / Bay Area
  • Kingston or K Town
  • Avondale Projects
  • Woodlawn
  • Gate City
  • Roebuck
  • CTP Center Point
  • Pratt City
  • Smithfield
  • Titusville
  • Loveman Village Projects
  • Central Park around Bessemer Road,
  • Mason City
  • Cooper Green Projects
  • Fairfield
  • Bessemer
  • Brighton
  • Collegeville
  • Brownville
  • Druid City

What do residents of Birmingham say about its safety

  1. "Bham is like any other city, there are rough areas and good areas. As long as you are not searching for crack at 2am or involved in some gang activity, you should be fine."
  2. "Avoid going west of 65 and you’ll be fine."
  3. "You don’t want to travel north of the Avondale railroad tracks."
  4. "Most violent crime in the city occurs in the neighborhoods north and west of downtown."
  5. "B’ham has some very rough areas, some normal urban areas and it has some relatively safe areas."
  6. "Stay out of North and West side of Birmingham."
  7. "Birmingham isn’t some kind of cesspool, but there is a reason its consistently rated high on “dangerous cities” lists."
  8. "The nice areas and dangerous areas in Bham are so close to each other that it’s easy to accidentally stumble into the bad areas if you’re not from here."
  9. "Birmingham is a dangerous city. Period. That doesn’t mean that every inch of the city is dangerous. Most of that violent crime is concentrated in economically depressed areas."
  10. "Avoid the Ensley area and the Norwood area"

Tips to stay safe while visiting Birmingham, Alabama

  • Learn and study the layout of the city before you visit. Figure out which places to avoid.
  • There are parts of Birmingham that are dangerous when it gets dark. Don’t go to those place.
  • Be observant of your surroundings.
  • Carry yourself like you belong there. Walk with confidence. Be polite.
  • Plan out your routes beforehand. This is not a city you want to get lost in.
  • Don’t walk around the city at night. Drive, take a taxi or get an Uber.
  • Stay in well-lighted and populated areas; Don’t walk down an alley or deserted street at night.

Is Birmingham safe at night? / Is it safe to visit alone?

Birmingham can be a safe place to visit if you study the layout of the city and avoid the problem areas.

Is Downtown Birmingham Safe?

Downtown is a generally safe area to visit during the day time. At night there isn’t a lot going on and it can get deserted and you sense of safety might feel different when there is not a lot of people around.

Final Thoughts

Birmingham is not a safe city. Its violent crime rate and murder rate is one of the highest in the nation and you basically have to avoid large swaths of the city if you do visit.

If you do plan to visit, you should at minimum, study the layout of the city and learn which parts of the city you should avoid. Birmingham is not a city that you want to get lost in.

Quick Facts About Birmingham, Alabama

 

Birmingham, Alabama

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020

200,733

331,449,281

Population, Census, April 1, 2010

212,237

308,745,538

Black or African American alone, percent

69.9%

13.4%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent

0.3%

1.3%

Asian alone, percent

1.1%

5.9%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent

0.0%

0.2%

Two or More Races, percent

1.5%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino, percent

3.9%

18.5%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent

23.8%

60.1%

Foreign born persons, percent, 2015-2019

3.8%

13.6%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019

$91,100.00

$217,500.00

Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019

$1,105.00

$1,595.00

Median gross rent, 2015-2019

$837.00

$1,062.00

Language other than English spoken at home, percent of persons age 5 years+, 2015-2019

5.4%

21.6%

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

86.7%

88.0%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

27.4%

32.1%

In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019

60.2%

63.0%

Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$37,375.00

$62,843.00

Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$24,480.00

$34,103.00

Persons in poverty, percent

25.9%

11.4%

*All data is from the U.S. Census

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Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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