Over the past decade, Alabama grew by about five percent, which is just below the national average. While the state’s growth rate was lower than the nation’s, that still means Alabama has added hundreds of thousands of residents since 2010.

With affordable housing and warm weather, many people may be considering relocating from another state to Alabama, and many Alabama residents may be thinking about making a jump to a new city.

But whether you own or rent, security is a primary issue for the average person. What should Alabama residents and potential transplants know about property crime in Alabama?

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At A Glance:

  • With #1 being the best, Alabama is ranked #41 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
  • You have a 2.67% chance of being a property crime victim in Alabama in the next 12 months.
  • Alabama’s property crime rate is 27% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
  • Bayou La Batre (Mobile County) has the highest property crime rate in Alabama, 122 incidents per 1,000 people.

Property crime is considerably more common in Alabama than in the U.S. as a whole, and the state’s property crime rate is one of the 10 highest in the country. While the average resident of the state has only about a three percent chance of being victimized by property crime in the next year, that figure is the 11th highest in the U.S.

Alabama’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)

  • Rate of Property Crime
    • Alabama average: 26.74 crimes per 1,000 people
    • National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people

The distance between Alabama and the overall national crime rate in 2019 has remained pretty consistent over the past decade, though the difference in 10-year average rates between Alabama and the U.S. as a whole is slimmer. That’s due largely to the state posting a nearly one-quarter decline in the property crime rate since 2010, and 2019 had the lowest property crime rate of any in Alabama over the past decade.

Alabama’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)

    • Average Rate of Property Crime:
      • Alabama 10-year average: 31.54 crimes per 1,000 people
      • National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
    • -24% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
      • There was a 24.19% decrease in property crime in Alabama from 2010 as compared to 2019.
    • 2012 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Alabama?:
      • The highest rate of property crime in Alabama was 2012 (27.62 crimes per 1,000 people)
    • 2019 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Alabama?:
      • The lowest rate of property crime in Alabama was 2019 (23.31 crimes per 1,000 people)

What incidents fall under the umbrella of property crime? Burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson are the four major property crime categories reported by the FBI. In every case, if the incident involves violence or threats of violence, it no longer is a property crime and is classified as a violent crime.

Alabama’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)

      • Which type of property crime occurred the most in Alabama over the past decade?
        • Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 21.39 crimes per 1,000 people.
      • Average property crime rate by category
          • Average burglary rate: 7.82 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average larceny rate: 21.39 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average vehicle crime rate: 2.33 crimes per 1,000 people
          • Average arson rate: 0.08 crimes per 1,000 people (2018)
        • Note: There were no FBI estimates for arson rates, so we used all available data that was reported by individual cities in Alabama.
      • +14% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
        • Vehicle crime has increased the most, rising by 14% between 2010 and 2019.
      • -40% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
        • Burglary fell the most, declining by 40 percent.

Crime is a complex topic, and the reasons why Alabama’s property crime rate has increased over the past decade is likely due to many factors. Most researchers agree that a mix of poverty, unemployment, and urbanization are primary driving factors in property crime rates.

While that is not a comprehensive list of the factors that can contribute to rising property crime rates, it’s worth noting that Alabama’s poverty rate (nearly 16 percent) is seventh-highest in the country, almost four percentage points higher than the national rate, according to Census data.

On the other hand, Alabama had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates in April 2021 (just under four percent), putting Alabama in a much better position than many of its neighbors, including Mississippi (six percent) and Tennessee (five percent).

Updated 2020 Census data has not yet been released, but increasing urbanization could also have contributed to rising property crime rates in Alabama. In 1990, more than 60 percent of Alabama residents lived in cities, but that rate fell to about 55 percent in 2000 before rising again to 59 percent in the 2010 Census.

Exploring state trends is instructive, but crime is intensely local. Taylor, a south Alabama town of about 2,200 people, has the lowest property crime rate in Alabama. Conversely, the city of Bayou La Batre had the state’s highest property crime rate in 2018. While the city is part of the Mobile metropolitan area, its high property crime rate is likely because the city is primarily a fishing village and has just over 2,000 residents.

Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2018 data):

  • Taylor, Alabama (Geneva and Houston counties)
  • Rainbow City, Alabama (Etowah County)
  • Helena, Alabama (Jefferson and Shelby counties)
  • York, Alabama (Sumter County)
  • Southside, Alabama (Etowah County)

Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2018 data):

  • Bayou La Batre, Alabama (Mobile County)
  • McIntosh, Alabama (Washington County)
  • Fairfield, Alabama (Jefferson County)
  • Lanett, Alabama (Chambers County)
  • Anniston, Alabama (Calhoun County)