Four municipalities in St. Clair County have been named among the top 30 safest cities in Alabama.

Margaret has been deemed 2014’s safest city in the state by FBI crime report data. Coming in at No. 9 is Moody; No. 11 is Odenville and No. 14 is Springville.

To be considered, cities had to have a population of more than 2,500 in 2012. The four St. Clair cities beat out the likes of Childersburg, Pelham, Glencoe, Alabaster, Daphne, Hoover, Rainbow City and Hartselle.  

On average, the 30 cities had an average violent crime rate of 2.06 incidents per 1,000 people in 2014. That is 55 percent less than the national average.

On average, these same 30 cities experienced a property crime rate of 18.92 incidents per 1,000 residents, some 31 percent lower than the typical American city reports.

Margaret No. 1

Margaret’s violent crime rate per 1,000 people was .22, while the property crime rate per 1,000 people was 6.68.

According to the data, Margaret reported just one violent crime in 2014, and that was an aggravated assault.

Margaret police Chief Clay Morgan said the ranking was an honor.

“This makes me feel very confident in the guys who work for me,” Morgan said. “It lets me know they are doing their job. I am very proud of all my guys and everyone in the city who helps prevent crime. They are keeping their eyes open.”

Morgan is the only full-time officer, and he has five part-time officers.

Margaret Mayor Isaac Howard said the honor feels great, and he is tickled to death.

“It takes a good mayor and council, employees and the citizens as a whole to make something like this happen,” Howard said. “I appreciate our police department.”

Moody No. 9

Moody’s violent crime rate per 1,000 people was 1.51, while the property crime rate per 1,000 people was 15.05.

Moody police Chief Thomas Hunt said all the credit for the city’s ranking goes to the residents of Moody.

“Credit also needs to go to the staff of police officers, too,” Hunt said. “We have 20 full-time officers and five reserves. The mayor and council support everything we do in order to provide the services and protection our citizens need.”

Moody Mayor Joe Lee said this reflects directly on the people who live in Moody and its police department.

“We have a quality of life here in Moody that all adds up, and it starts with our police chief and goes through the rest of the department,” Lee said. “We have a very low crime rate. Our police department is here for the citizens of Moody.”  

Odenville No. 11

Odenville’s violent crime rate per 1,000 people was 3.31, while the property crime rate per 1,000 people was 14.30.

Odenville police Chief Adam Pardue was so pleased with the report and the hard work of his police department, he recently prepared a dinner in their honor.

“From what I have researched, there are 460 cities in Alabama,” Pardue said. “For the city of Odenville to rank No. 11 is a great honor. It says a lot for our police department and the job they do, but it also speaks volumes about the citizens who live in this city. They are just good, law-abiding citizens. We just don’t have much crime here.”

Pardue said he has a good, close working relationship with the other police departments in the cities that made the list in the Top 15.

“They help us, we help them,” Pardue said. “All four cities on the list, our borders touch each other. Ninety-nine percent of the break-ins we have are from people who don’t live here. We have people coming from Birmingham and other places to rob our people. We have good people living here in Odenville, and this city is a good place to live.”

Odenville has nine full-time and four part-time police officers.

Pardue said police work is a thankless job.

“We always get the griping and complaining,” he said. “People want to badmouth what the policemen do, but yet, they are the ones who call the police first when they need help. My guys hear all the negative talk that is out there. I just wanted to provide them with a dinner to show my appreciation to them. I am thankful for everything they have done. It is a team effort by everybody involved. The community of Odenville supports the police department. We have a Facebook page, and people go to it and praise us all the time. It really means a lot. My guys read all those comments and it makes them feel good.”

Odenville Mayor Buck Christian said he could not be more proud of his police department.

“It is a reflection of hard work, dedication and professionalism,” he said. “In general, Odenville is a close-knit community; (it’s) as if everyone within the city limits lives in the same neighborhood. The citizens and officers work together publicly and through social media to ensure protections to individuals, friends and family.”

Odenville Councilman Don Smith said the ranking was great news.

“It’s great for the citizens and great for the police department,” he said. “The police department is doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and this is just great for the entire county.”

Springville No. 14

Springville’s violent crime rate per 1,000 people was 2.41, while the property crime rate per 1,000 people was 19.33.

Springville police Chief Bill Lyle said being named one of the top safest cities is great and good for the city.

“Our guys stay active patrolling,” he said. “It shows a good light on our police department. I am very proud of our officers.”

There are 10 full-time officers and three part-time officers in the city of Springville.

Mayor William “Butch” Isley said he was proud the city made the list.

“I am also proud of several of our sister cities in the county who made the list,” he said. “Springville’s police department and fire department is one of the finest in the county. Our expertise in leadership roles at our departments is superb.”

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com.

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