Dothan Crime Rate Down

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The Dothan Police Department is saying goodbye to 2006 on a positive note. Early estimates credit the Dothan Police for a lower crime rate in the city.

Nationwide, it looks that violent crime is on the rise.

The Associated Press reports there was a 3.7 percent crime rate increase for the first half of the year.

However, officials say that's not the case in Dothan.

As of Wednesday, it looks as if Dothan’s crime rate has fallen six to 9.5 percent from last year, with seven homicides.

Officials credit that to many things, including some shifts within the department.

Dothan Police have made their early estimates, and as of late Wednesday, violent crime has fallen in the city by between six and 9.5 percent.

"Crime is driven by a couple of issues. One is by economics. The second thing is by population. I think the economy, even though it's been up and down recently, it's kind of leveled off, which has certainly helped us. But, also I think it's a direct reflection on the efforts of the men and women of the police department as far as patrolling and working investigations," says Dothan Police Chief John Powell.

The department leaders want to stress that this is just an early report. There are still a few days left in this year.

However, authorities say this department can't take all the glory. Some of the help came from across the street.

"We have support from our elected officials. The city commission provides the equipment for us to get our job done, and the financing to get our job done," says Powell.

Police Chief Powell also says he isn't going stop with this lower rate. He plans to keep enforcement strong to make it even lower in 2007

These reports are strictly internal investigations.

The state of Alabama will release the official crime rate for Dothan and the state as a whole after the New Year.

Dothan Police say the crime rate for the holiday season, which extends from the day after Thanksgiving until the New Year, is down by 41 percent. That’s based on reports up to Wednesday.