Crime impacts communities worldwide, and the state of Michigan is no exception. This blog post examines crime in Michigan with a specific focus on the 16 most dangerous cities. While these cities have vibrant histories, diverse cultures, and numerous positive attributes, they also face significant crime challenges that require attention and action.
Detroit, Michigan, a once-thriving metropolis and industrial powerhouse, is the most dangerous city in Michigan. Its peak population of two million residents has dramatically declined to slightly over 630,000 as of 2021.
Unfortunately, the city became infamous for its high crime rates, ranking fourth among major cities in the United States in terms of murder rate in 2018.
However, there have been glimmers of hope in recent times as certain downtown Detroit neighborhoods have experienced a decline in crime. Nevertheless, crime remains alarmingly high in most parts of the city, casting a dark shadow over the daily lives of its inhabitants.
Muskegon Heights, Michigan, stands as a small city comprising 9,951 residents. Despite its tight-knit community, the city grapples with notable challenges concerning crime and safety.
Best places statistics reveal a high rate of violent crime at 84.9, well above the national average of 22.7. Additionally, property crime poses concerns with a rate of 85.8, surpassing the US average of 35.4.
Additionally, according to Niche, a neighborhood evaluation platform, Muskegon Heights received a C- safety grade, indicating room for improvement in fostering a more secure environment.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, a vibrant community in the southwestern part of the state, is home to approximately 73,257 residents. While it offers numerous attractions and cultural offerings, it faces a higher crime rate compared to the national average.
The city experiences crime throughout its various neighborhoods, with inner areas like Edison, the Northside, and Vine being particularly affected.
One alarming statistic is the aggravated assault rate in 2015, which stood at 793.3 incidents per 100,000 people, surpassing the national average by 3.3 times.
Saginaw, Michigan, a city with a population of 43,854, is the fourth most dangerous city in Michigan. In the late 20th century, the city witnessed a decline in its once thriving industry and robust manufacturing sector.
This decline led to increased unemployment rates and a shrinking population. Sadly, this economic downturn also contributed to a rise in crime rates, placing Saginaw consistently among the highest-ranking cities in both Michigan and the United States.
Shockingly, in 2020 alone, Saginaw reported an alarming homicide rate of 50.2 per 100,000 people—a figure that barely exceeded Detroit’s rate of 49.7—far surpassing state and national averages, which stood at 7.6 and 6.5 respectively.
Benton Harbor, Michigan, is a small city with a population of 8,982. However, it faces significant challenges—especially concerning its crime rate, which stands at 246% higher than the state of Michigan’s average.
This means that residents have a concerning 1 in 29 chance of falling victim to a violent crime, as reported by the Southwest Journal.
The city’s economic struggles contribute to this issue: limited job opportunities and high poverty rates prevail, with the average resident income estimated at $32,236.
These factors exacerbate the crime situation even further. In fact, Benton Harbor experienced a staggering 2020 crime rate of 929—the national average being only one-third of that—according to City-Data.com.
Harper Woods is another one of the most dangerous cities in Michigan. Located in Wayne County, Harper Woods has a population of 15,492 residents. This neighborhood presents both charming aspects and challenges.
According to data from Macrotrends, the crime rate in Harper Woods experienced a significant increase of 25.3% from 2017 to 2018, reaching 936.08 incidents per 100,000 population. Furthermore, the violent crime rate in Harper Woods for 2019 exceeded the national average by 110.91%.
Coming at number seven is Highland Park, a small city situated approximately 6 miles north of downtown Detroit. The population of the neighborhood is 8,902.
Despite its rich history and close-knit community, the city faces challenges in terms of crime rates. According to Areavibes, Highland Park’s crime rates is significantly higher than the national average; violent crimes alone are soaring to an alarming 434% above the national average. Furthermore, property crimes are 74% higher than the national average.
Flint, Michigan, a city of 81,252 residents, gained infamy in the mid-2000s due to its alarmingly high crime rates.
Consistently ranking among the most dangerous cities in the United States based on crime statistics, Flint’s violent crime rates during 2007-2009 were among the top five for cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants.
This unsettling situation persisted throughout the years, leading to an FBI report in 2018 that classified Flint as America’s sixth most violent city. The concerning crime statistics have raised significant concerns for both residents and authorities alike.
Pontiac, Michigan, a bustling city situated as the county seat of Oakland County, offers a captivating blend of urban amenities and suburban charm. Its population of 61,606 contributes to the vibrant atmosphere.
However, like any metropolitan area, Pontiac grapples with crime-related challenges. According to NeighborhoodScout’s data analysis, the likelihood of falling victim to violent crime in this city is relatively high at 1 in 85—a figure that surpasses the national average significantly. In fact, Pontiac’s rate of violent crime is nearly four times higher than that observed nationwide.
Albion, Michigan, is a lively city situated in Calhoun County. Despite its small size, Albion encounters certain challenges. Regarding crime statistics, the city reports 804 violent crimes and 2,927 cases of property crimes. These numbers exceed the state average for Michigan, which stands at 478 and 1,361, respectively.
Established in 1829 and named after President Andrew Jackson, this city boasts a rich historical background. However, it grapples with safety challenges, specifically highlighted by NeighborhoodScout’s reports.
With a crime rate of 42 per one thousand residents, Jackson ranks among the American cities with the highest crime rates. Of particular concern is its violent crime rate at 55.5, more than double the national average of 22.7.
Regrettably, these statistics indicate that residents face approximately a one-in-24 chance of falling victim to either violent or property crimes in Jackson.
Dowagiac, Michigan, is a small city with a population of 5,879 residents. However, despite its size, Dowagiac faces a significant issue with crime. In fact, it has one of the highest crime rates in America, standing at 40 per thousand residents.
The area is plagued by crimes such as Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny/Theft, and Vehicle theft. Several factors contribute to this high crime rate, including poverty, limited educational opportunities, and the presence of drugs and gangs.
Located in the scenic state of Michigan, Mackinac Island stands as a captivating destination for tourists. Renowned for its delectable fudge and enchanting horse-drawn carriage rides, this quaint island attracts an astounding number of visitors daily during the tourism season.
Surprisingly, despite its charming facade, Mackinac Island holds the unfortunate title of being the fifth most violent city in Michigan according to FBI crime statistics. Sadly, these crimes mostly occur during the bustling tourism season, tarnishing the otherwise idyllic atmosphere.
Gaylord, Michigan, a small yet vibrant city in the northern part of the state, presents contrasting facets. Boasting scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, it also grapples with crime rates surpassing the national average. The city has a population of approximately 4,286 residents.
Statistics paint a troubling picture: overall crime rates soar 117% higher than the national average, while violent crimes occur at an alarming rate that exceeds the nation by 125%. Adding to this concern are property crimes—such as theft and burglary—that stand at 49.51% higher than the national average.
The penultimate city on our list of Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan is Ypsilanti. Residents and visitors in Ypsilanti face a one-in-23 chance of experiencing either a violent or property crime.
According to Bestplaces data, this city’s violent crime rate stands at 42.9—considerably higher than the national average of 22.7. Moreover, Ypsilanti’s property crime rate is marked at 45.0, surpassing the U.S. average of 35.4.
These statistics underscore the challenges confronting the local community in their fight against crime, emphasizing the pressing need for proactive measures aimed at safeguarding its residents.
Bangor, a charming city in Van Buren County, Michigan, has a population of 1,885 residents. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes and fostering a close-knit community spirit, Bangor offers an enchanting atmosphere for visitors to savor.
However, like any other place, it confronts various crime-related challenges. According to Areavibes, the city’s crime rates reflects a concerningly higher figure than the national average – with violent crimes standing at an alarming 158% above the normal.
To be safe in Michigan, follow these tips:
Detroit, Michigan, had historically been known for having the highest crime rate in the state.
Property crime, including burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft, is the most common type of crime in Michigan.
The safest cities in Michigan are Oakland Township, Grosse Ile Township, and Houghton.
Michigan’s safety levels vary across different cities and regions. Overall, Michigan has both safe and higher-crime areas, like any other state.
Michigan holds the eighth position among states with the highest rates of violent crime. The overall rate of violent crime has experienced a slight increase over the years, rising from 4.4 incidents per 1,000 residents to 4.8 to 5.0 incidents.
In 2019, Michigan reported 158,296 property crimes, which translates to 1,585 incidents per 100,000 residents. This rate is lower than the national average of 2,110 property crimes per 100,000 people.
In conclusion, this comprehensive overview of the 16 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan for the year 2023 sheds light on the critical issue of crime and safety within the state. While it is essential to acknowledge the challenges these cities face, it is equally important to remember that statistics alone do not define the entirety of their communities.