Report lists the safest, most dangerous cities in Alabama
The metro area has some of the state's safest cities, but it also has some of the most dangerous. Those are the findings of a new report from security company "Safe Choice Security." The group used FBI statistics from 2012. They looked at the number of property crimes and violent crimes. Based on the cities' populations, it ranks them by crime per capita. The FBI emailed ABC 3340 a statement stating they discourage such rankings. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office seems to agree. "Statistics can be manipulated and they can be calculated a lot of different ways to arrive at the numbers in the ways that you want them to be," said Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian. He says his office works continuously to lower crime statistics. "We partner with our area law enforcement's. I know that our municipal police departments are working as hard as they possibly can. They're studying these trends. They're looking for ways to combat this kind of crime. But, a lot of it is tremendously difficult." Helena, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills are the top three safest cities in Alabama, according to Safe Choice Security. "It's no big secret that socioeconomic's plays a huge role in criminal activity," explained Christian. "In places where there are good jobs and a healthy income and healthy families, certainly there's going to be less criminal activity. There's less frustration, less drug use and less drug sell." On the most dangerous list, Bessemer is at the top with 21.1 violent crimes for every thousand people. 27,000 people live in the city. Bessemer Police Chief Rutledge tells ABC 3340 his team is holding routine neighborhood watch meetings. He's adding additional training and they're visiting with schools to build relationships with the community. "I think they've got a good grasp on the place where they live," said Christian. "We look to them to help us fight that kind of crime." Fairfield is ranked second, while Birmingham was 12th. The Birmingham police department didn't dispute the numbers, but says that they don't put much faith in studies from private companies. They say they're working hard to reduce crime. The city had 47 homicides at this time last year. Today, the count is at 25. We're told if the numbers hold, the city is on track to have the lowest homicide rate since 1959.