I live in Mississippi and have spent alot of time in Alabama and Louisiana. There are certainly some relatively small areas in large metro areas like Jackson, New Orleans, the Miss/Ala Gulf Coast Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Tupelo, Memphis and others with high crime rates. However, have always felt comfortable in those cities as a whole and they all have alot to offer. The same situation exists as in any part other of this country or anyplace else with large urban areas. Don't let the fact that crime exists everywhere discourage you from visiting the Sunny South. People throughout the South tend to be very friendly, the food is great, if a bit unhealthy at times, the backroads are scenic, the hills are generally not too bad and the weather in May is generally great.
Just like you would be doing anywhere else, be aware of your surroundings and keep you eyes open when you're i. You will have fun.