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Known as one of Alabama’s most progressive cities, Dothan has much to offer for visitors, including breathtaking natural scenery, mild winters, unique cultural entertainment options, and a distinct Southern charm and atmosphere.
With a population of 71,072 as of 2020, Dothan is Alabama’s 8th-largest city, boasting amenities that can normally be found in big cities while retaining its small-town vibe.
Originally settled by Creek and Alabama Native Americans, Dothan used to be known as Poplar Head.
White settlers first came to the area in the 1830s, renaming the city Dothan, a reference from the Bible, since another Alabama city also had the name Poplar Head.
Today, Dothan is a thriving city with plenty of things to see and do for tourists and residents alike.
If you’re considering a visit to Dothan, here are some tips to prepare you for your trip.
Warnings & Dangers in Dothan
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Neighborhood Scout says that Dothan has a crime rate of 40 for every 1,000 residents, giving it a higher-than-average crime rate. This statistic means that a person’s chance of becoming a crime victim (either violent or property) is one in 25. However, a poll conducted by Niche shows that 73% of respondents think that Dothan is a safe city, with only 3% saying they think the city is not safe. Whether the poll participants are residents or people who’ve simply visited Dothan is unclear, but it’s worth noting the difference between the results of this poll and the above statistics. Based on these findings, Dothan is a medium-risk place when it comes to safety.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Dothan has a public bus system run by Southern Coaches. According to their website, they have maintained the highest US Department of Transportation Safety rating, “Satisfactory,” since the company opened in 1989. Not much information is available about taxi safety in Dothan. But Wiregrass Safe Taxi, with 70 Google reviews, appears to be the most-used taxi company in the city. There are no visible complaints about safety with the company, although customers have complained about generally low-quality service. These findings indicate that Dothan’s transport and taxi risk is low.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
There’s no online information about pickpocketing specifically, but, according to Niche’s Property Crime Statistics, the city of Dothan has a rate of 2,978.3 thefts per 100,000 residents, which is above the national average of 2,042.8 thefts. The pickpockets risk, based on this finding, is medium to high.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Although Dothan has had mild winters with only one instance of heavy snow since 1950, the city is susceptible to certain natural disasters such as thunderstorms, hail, and (sometimes) tropical storms and floods. In August 2021, several tornadoes touched down on the west side of Dothan. Even though there were no human casualties, some minor damage did occur. All in all, despite Dothan’s vulnerability to certain types of natural disasters, casualties are few and far between, so the city’s natural disasters risk is low to medium.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
No data is available about mugging in particular, but a report by Niche’s Violent Crime Statistics indicates that Dothan has a rate of 116.7 instances of robbery per 100,000 residents. This is below the national average of 135.5 cases. Dothan residents say that the northwest part of the city is the safest from robberies (1 in 1,658 chance of being a victim). In the southeast neighborhoods, on the other hand, a person’s chance of falling victim to this sort of crime can be as high as 1 in 724. Given the findings, the city of Dothan has a low mugging risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Although like in many other US cities, terrorist threats have been made in Dothan before, no terrorist acts have been carried out. Some of the most recent threats include a 15-year-old threatening to shoot up his school, a 31-year-old man threatening to attack a Mcdonald’s, and a 30-year-old man making threats against the Dothan Utilities Department. Based on the findings above, the terrorism risk in the city of Dothan is low.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There’s limited online information about scams in Dothan, but, in July 2021, the Dothan Police Department issued a warning on social media about phone, mail, and PC scams. According to a post on their Facebook page, scammers had been “spoofing numbers to make it appear official on caller ID as a city number,” while similar crimes had been taking place online and via mail. The following month, Dothan police arrested a scammer, a man who had been using a false name and identity to obstruct justice and recovered $70,000 for the victims. Based on the available information, Dothan has a medium scam risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Not a lot is known about women’s safety in Dothan; however, the city’s rape statistics might provide some useful insight. In 2020, the city had a rate of 39.4 rape incidents out of 100,000 residents, with 27 reported incidents. Compare that statistic to the national average of 38.4 incidents per 100,000 people. Because the Dothan and national rape statistics are similar, it can be concluded that Dothan has a medium level of risk for women travelers.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
According to Dothan Utilities, the city doesn’t have any active health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) as of April 2021. And Dothan’s last non-health-based violation was resolved on December 31, 2020. The city’s tap water is generally considered safe to drink, giving it a low tap water risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Dothan
Dothan residents consider the northwest part of the city to be the safest from robberies, so it can be assumed that the northwest is also among the safest parts overall.
The southwest is also considered fairly safe, with an average of 209 crimes per year.
The city is filled with safe and interesting places to visit.
The city hosts the annual National Peanut Festival and displays whimsical “nut-themed” statues throughout town—hence its reputation as the “Peanut Capital of the World.”
In addition, art lovers can take a stroll downtown, enjoying the colorful murals painted on the buildings.
There’s also the Wiregrass Museum of Art for visual arts enthusiasts.
Shopping and dining options abound downtown and by the historic Ross Clark Circle.
Finally, a trip to Dothan wouldn’t be complete without catching a glimpse of (and perhaps taking a photo with) the downtown monument dedicated to Dr. George Washington Carver, the great American agricultural scientist, and inventor.
Placess to Avoid in Dothan
With 1,017 crimes per year, the north parts of Dothan are considered the most dangerous.
A person’s chance of falling victim to a crime in the north is as high as 1 in 7, while it’s only 1 in 45 in the city’s west part.
Just like in most other places in the US, walking alone at night is strongly discouraged.
A poll conducted by Area Vibes shows that 30% of respondents don’t feel “safe at all” and would “never walk alone at night.”
Only 22% and 17% of respondents say they feel “extremely safe” and “fairly safe,” respectively, indicating that it isn’t particularly safe to walk alone at night in Dothan.
Dothan’s crime rate is roughly the same as Alabama’s average but higher than the national average.
But one’s safety in Dothan depends on their location in the city.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Dothan
- Do your research. Learn about Dothan in depth before arriving. You can read traveler reviews online or ask locals about the safest places to visit and stay.
- Stay in the safer parts of the city. These include the northwest and southwest parts. Avoid the more dangerous areas of Dohan, like the north parts.
- Avoid walking alone at night. Just like most other places in the US, Dothan is not very safe for walking alone after dark. Walk during the day. If you have to walk at night, bring someone with you—or better yet, take public transportation.
- Be aware of your surroundings. One of the joys of traveling is being able to meet new people and learn about their ways of life and cultures. However, you must never let your guard down. If you ever feel uncomfortable or notice someone behaving strangely or suspiciously, leave the vicinity immediately.
- Know the COVID-19 regulations. Although there’s currently no requirement to quarantine in Alabama, visitors arriving in the US from abroad have to present a negative PCR or Antigen test that isn’t older than one day. Vaccination proof is also required for international arrivals.
- Keep close control over your belongings. When you’re sitting, keep your bags on your lap, between your legs, or near you on your seat. When left unattended, it’s easy for thieves to snatch your belongings, so keep them close to you.
- Take precautions when using public transport. When taking public transport, check for an official badge or permit, which any legitimate bus or taxi driver will have. After spotting the badge, make sure the picture on it looks like your driver.
- Know where you’re going. When using a taxi, make sure you have a map ready and pay attention to the route the driver is taking. Some taxi drivers may not have your best interests in mind, so you should always be on the lookout.
- Be careful when using public wifi. Free public wifi can be convenient, but don’t get carried away, since hackers can steal valuable information, such as your credit card information or your Social Security number. If wireless Internet service is a must, use a virtual private network (VPN) to safely access the Internet.
- Know how to call emergency for help. As everyone in the US knows, 911 is the emergency number throughout the country. When dialing emergency services, be ready to provide your full name, a brief description of what’s taking place, and the address of the emergency, and be prepared to stay on the line in case the operator needs more information about the situation in hand.
So... How Safe Is Dothan Really?
Dothan is relatively safe for visitors as long as they’re aware of their surroundings and stay in the safer areas, e.g., the northwest and southwest parts.
Downtown is one of the most popular areas in Dothan, and it also happens to be filled with an array of things to see and do while being reasonably safe.
In terms of extreme weather, November through May is when tornadoes are most active in Alabama, although tornadoes can happen during any part of the year.
According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes are most likely to happen in April, while they’re least likely to happen in July.
Even though casualties from tornadoes in the state are quite rare, visitors need to be aware of the risks.
As long as visitors do their due diligence, they can safely enjoy their trip to Dothan, experiencing all the charm and beauty that make the city unique.
How Does Dothan Compare?
- Visas - All travelers to the US from other countries are required to present a passport upon arrival. Visas aren’t required for visitors traveling to the US for business or tourism for up to 90 days. However, visas may be required for permanent residents.
- Currency - The US dollar is the official currency of the US. No other currency is accepted, but you can exchange currencies at various ATMs, kiosks, and businesses (such as Wells Fargo) throughout Dothan.
- Weather - Since Dothan has four seasons throughout the year, what you wear on your trip will depend on the time of year. Winters are known to be quite mild, so if you’re traveling during this season, you might want to stick with lightweight jackets or vests, rather than thick coats. Summers in Alabama, however, are among the hottest in the US (they’re also quite humid), so it’s important to dress lightly and wear sunscreen.
- Airports - If you’re coming from the Florida panhandle, Southwest Georgia, or Southeast Alabama, you can fly directly into Dothan Regional Airport. Otherwise, visitors can fly into Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City Beach, Florida, the closest international airport to Dothan.
- Travel Insurance - One of the most important travel purchases you can make, travel insurance protects you against risks associated with trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost, damaged, or stolen possessions, to name just a few. Unexpected situations while traveling are inevitable, so to curb financial losses and have peace of mind, you should take advantage of travel insurance.
Dothan Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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