Mississippi : Safety by City
- Holly Springs
- New Albany
- Pass Christian
Hattiesburg is known as Mississippi’s “Hub City” because of its central location within the state of Mississippi and its importance as a transportation hub.
Hattiesburg’s central location and transportation infrastructure have made it an important center for commerce and industry in the region.
The city is home to a number of major employers, including the University of Southern Mississippi, with more than 14,000 students, and healthcare facilities such as Forrest General Hospital and Merit Health Wesley.
In addition to its economic significance, the city often referred to as “H-Burg,” also has a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene.
The city is also home to the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum and the African American Military History Museum.
You can also eat your way through the “Hattie’s Burger Trail,” try some soul food, catch some Cajun music with dinner, or try a traditional Southern “meat and three” home-cooking restaurant options.
Don’t worry about the calories because you’ll have plenty of parks, trails, and waterways to explore and burn some energy while soaking in the southern outdoors.
Save room for sweet tea at the end of the day.
Warnings & Dangers in Hattiesburg
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Hattiesburg is consistently one of the safest cities in Mississippi, and there's a low risk for visitors here on top of many safe spaces to explore.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Hub City Transit is the public bus system throughout the city and neighboring communities, which is always expanding routes. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find, and a rental car would give you more flexibility to explore the large parks.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Pickpocket and purse snatching risks are low, but there are a lot of shoplifters reported in this community. That means people capable of stealing things on the sly are nearby.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Mississippi is part of Dixie Alley, another tornado-prone region in America, so you need to stay weather aware. Winter weather risks are less likely, but severe storms can happen any time of year, and during the summer and fall hurricane seasons, storms can move inland and cause severe damage. Hattiesburg was one of many cities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of a robbery, and in 2022, robberies were down 36% from 2021. It's still wise to keep your guard up at night or when walking around alone.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Hattiesburg has a low risk, but any city that's such a central distribution hub will come with more security and scrutiny. You should also review the national Terrorism Advisory System before any trip to the U.S. to see what the top concerns are at that time.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Hattiesburg has seen social media scams that prey on people's sense of compassion or charity. For example, it might show a missing child with an urgent plea to share. Once enough people share the post, the scammers will change the context to a scam link. Don't share or click any posts that aren't from official government agencies or links you can verify. Use programs like Snopes to see if a scam is legit and report any suspicious posts to the police department.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
The city has seen an increase in domestic violence, but there is no connection to crime against women travelers. You'll need all the same safety precautions here as you would in a big city, and always go with a friend if you're visiting the university bars or parties.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no concerns, but a water main break could also cause problems that are outside the yearly reports. In September 2022, a water main break caused a boil order for part of the city. It's just important to stay in touch with the social media sites for the city and utility company, so you can stay informed.
Safest Places to Visit in Hattiesburg
Visit HBurg is the official tourism site for the city of Hattiesburg, and it comes with a lot of free resources.
You can check out the newsroom to get the latest events and announcements for tourists.
A free visitors guide, attractions map, public art trail map, and so much more are available under the “Maps Guides Brochures” section.
Hattiesburg sits west of I-59, and you’ll find most of the hotels along that interstate near the University of Southern Mississippi.
Even if you aren’t here for a university tour or event, the university is home to several attractions, including the Southern Miss Museum of Art, the USM Museum of Natural Science, and the All-American Rose Garden.
The Hattiesburg Zoo is a small but well-maintained zoo that is home to over 100 animal species from around the world.
Visitors can see lions, tigers, monkeys, bears, and more.
A petting zoo, kangaroo interaction, mining expedition, and high ropes course offer expansive opportunities outside the regular zoo tour.
The African American Military History Museum is a museum located in the heart of Hattiesburg that celebrates the contributions of African American soldiers to American military history.
The museum is housed in the former USO Clubhouse that served African American soldiers during World War II.
You can also visit the Historical Society Museum before touring the Freedom Summer Trail, commemorating stops of the Civil Rights Movement.
A walking tour is available of the 23-block historical neighborhood in Hattiesburg.
Events are held in this district throughout the year but don’t miss the Candlelight Christmas celebration if you’re there during the holidays.
Paul B. Johnson State Park is a 2,000-acre park located just outside of Hattiesburg.
The park features a 225-acre lake, cabins, camping, hiking trails, and picnic areas.
You can also take a kayak ride on the Okatoma River or ride the Long Leaf Trace, a 44-mile bike and pedestrian trail that winds through the piney woods and wetlands of Hattiesburg.
Places to Avoid in Hattiesburg
If you stick to the main roads and interstates, you won’t run into a bad part of town or dangerous neighborhoods.
While Ward 2, which cradles the northeastern side of the city just south of Petal, has dealt with some issues over the years, there are plenty of community efforts to revitalize the neighborhoods.
There are gangs in Hattiesburg, and you don’t want to risk being in a neighborhood where criminal activity could happen, but crime can spill over into any public space.
It’s just smarter to use common sense and situational awareness.
You’ll be able to visually tell if you’re in a safe area or a more rundown part of town that doesn’t have a reason for you to be there.
Before you get too worried about the high theft numbers, here’s something to keep in mind — 90% of all car burglaries were due to either unlocked vehicles or valuables left in the car.
Sometimes it was a combination of both.
Imagine how much lower crime rates could be if 325 people had chosen to lock their cars and remove the valuables inside.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Hattiesburg
- Hattiesburg Police Department was the first in the state to get accredited by the well-known CALEA for superior police work and training. The department has a working presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, providing ongoing safety guidance.
- To give a crime tip in Hattiesburg, you can call the Hattiesburg Police Department’s non-emergency line at 601-544-7900 or use the anonymous online tip submission form on the department’s website. The Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline number is (601)582-STOP(7867) for Forrest and Lamar Counties.
- Hattiesburg residents can receive emergency alerts through the CodeRED system, which sends notifications via phone, text, and email in the event of severe weather, natural disasters, or other emergencies. To sign up for CodeRED alerts, visit the city of Hattiesburg’s website and follow the instructions to register your contact information.
- To fish in Hattiesburg, a valid Mississippi state fishing license is required for anyone age 16 and older. Fishing licenses can be purchased online from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website or from a local retailer that sells fishing licenses, such as Walmart or Academy Sports + Outdoors. It is important to review the fishing regulations regarding catch limits, size limits, and bait types.
- The city offers an Action Line to residents and guests who can report an issue by calling (601)545-4500. You can also email email@example.com. You are encouraged to report storm damage, potholes, water issues, or whatever other problem exists. You can also use this line to ask specific questions.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. You’ll need to decide if you want a freshwater (which is in Hattiesburg) license or a saltwater one if you plan to visit the coast.
- Downtown Hattiesburg offers free two-hour street parking and some free public parking garages, so you can enjoy the district and more than 200 restaurants in the city. The city website has a Park & Dine map to make choosing your parking location easier.
- You might see golf carts driving on the city streets, and this has been legal since August 2022. Drivers need a license and insurance. The speed limit is 30 miles per hour. Be sure to share the road with these carts but report any suspicious activity, speeders, or reckless driving to the police.
- Hattiesburg offers storm shelters when severe weather is imminent. Look for social media posts or emergency notifications that tell you the location of your closest storm shelter. Your hotel should have a designated safe space as well. Don’t wait until a tornado warning is issued to prepare for the worst.
- Follow the National Hurricane Center during the June through November hurricane season to see the project path of storms. While Hattiesburg won’t take a direct hit, it can still get intense winds, rain, and relentless weather events that spawn tornadoes.
So... How Safe Is Hattiesburg Really?
Hattiesburg is one of a few Mississippi cities that provides full, transparent crime data to the state and FBI.
The latest data will be posted on the MS Department of Public Safety website under MS Crime Stats.
As of 2022, the city saw the lowest homicide rate since 2018.
Violent crime was down almost 24%, while the rest of the state saw an overall increase in violent crime.
Property crimes, especially grand larceny, were up more than 51% in 2022.
35% of the thefts were shoplifting, and auto burglaries were up 4%.
Burglaries at homes and businesses were on the decline.
Counterfeit prescription drugs are causing problems in the region, much like in other places in America.
The drugs can be laced with a deadly mix of Fentanyl, while drug users can’t see, smell, or taste it in the drug.
Some businesses here are offering NARCAN free to residents and guests to help treat an overdose with the easy-to-use nasal spray.
With a low percentage of violent crimes happening against strangers, there’s a good chance you won’t even be aware of the crime issues here.
Your personal safety steps and situational awareness will go a long way here.
Also, reporting suspicious activity is one of the best ways to keep this city safer than others for years to come.
How Does Hattiesburg Compare?
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If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need a visa to visit Hattiesburg, Mississippi. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may need a visa to enter the United States, depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit. Regardless of your citizenship, it is always recommended to carry a valid passport as it is the most widely accepted form of identification when traveling.
The currency used in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and throughout the United States is the US Dollar (USD). Exchange currency at the airport or before you arrive, as you won't find numerous exchange services in town.
When packing for a trip to Hattiesburg, consider the time of year and expected weather conditions. Lightweight, breathable clothing is suitable for the hot and humid summers, while warmer clothing (but not a thick winter coat) is needed for the mild winters. It is also recommended to pack comfortable shoes for walking and outdoor activities, as well as sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle.
The nearest airport to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (PIB), which is located approximately 15 miles northeast of the city. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT), is about 70 miles southeast of Hattiesburg. Other options include Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN) and Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), both 90 miles away in opposite directions.
Travel insurance should cover severe weather delays or hurricane evacuations and costs, as this inland city can still get dangerous storms. If you buy insurance when you book the flight, the policy with go into effect immediately.
Hattiesburg Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Mississippi - Safety by City