Michigan isn’t in the top 20 most dangerous states in America. In fact, Michigan’s property crime rates are recorded as one of the lowest property crime rates out of all 50 states. However, Michigan is also known for being home to some of the most dangerous cities in the United States. Out of a state of safe towns, there are 15 dangerous cities where it’s too dangerous to even walk outside your door at night, according to the FBI crime reports.
When looking at crime in Michigan, the number one source is the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. Every year, the FBI collects crime data from every state and county. To calculate the crime data, the FBI records the total number of crimes, divides the total crimes by the area’s population, and then multiplies it by 100,000. When the number is multiplied by 100,000, it creates a uniform number that can be compared to other city’s crime rates. Crime data should be recorded as “the number of crimes per 100,000 people.”
Crime data is separated into two categories: violent crime and property crime.
Violent crime includes robbery, rape, sexual assault, and murder. These crimes are considered serious and can result in a lifetime in prison. The shortest jail sentence for violent crime is five years in prison for robbery. Violent crimes can leave lasting emotional and physical trauma for victims. Most victims of violent crime spent years recovering from the trauma with help from trusted medical professionals. That being said, when an area records a high rate of violent crime, it’s better to stay away.
Property crime includes burglary, theft, arson, vandalism, and car theft. These crimes, though still serious and often considered felonies, are not life-threatening and have shorter jail sentences. The highest sentence is the conviction of arson with the intent to kill (bridging into a violent crime). The punishment for arson with the intent to kill is a lifetime in prison. The shortest sentence is vandalism, which is a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor is a year in prison, though this is often dismissed by the offender’s pledge to do community service hours instead.
Property crime is nearly four times as common as violent crime. Most states have high rates of property crime and low rates of violent crime; although, for some of these dangerous Michigan cities, the violent crime rate is higher than the property crime rate.
Crime rates are the most effective way to determine whether or not a city is “safe.” If the city has high rates of violent crime, the city is dangerous. If there are low rates, the city is safe.
However, what counts as a high rate of crime? The FBI calculates crime data for the nation as a whole in order to create a baseline, or average number, for crime rates. If a city or state has a higher crime rate than the national average, the city or state is more dangerous. The national average violent crime rate for the United States is 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The national average property crime rate is 2,362.2 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. When comparing the violent crime rates in Michigan, keep the national crime rates fresh in your mind.
The violent crime rate in Michigan as a state is 449 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Although this is higher than the national average, it isn’t nearly high enough to claim that the state is dangerous. In fact, most cities in Michigan have low crime rates, such as Grosse Pointe Park, with a violent crime rate of 0.03 crimes per 100,000 people. For the most part, Michigan is perfectly average in terms of violent crime. There aren’t too many crimes, but it also isn’t the safest state in the nation.
Michigan’s property crime rate is more surprising than the violent crime rate. Michigan’s property crime rate is 1,653 property crimes per 100,000 people. This means that the national average property crime rate is twice as high as Michigan’s property crime rate. Reported incidents of property crime are rare, making most cities in Michigan fairly safe places to live.
Many attribute the low rates of crime in the outermost parts of Michigan to be due to the high numbers of law enforcement in the area. Michigan employs over 19,000 police officers and 1,000 unsworn officers. There are over 60 police stations in the state, evenly employing the police to help secure the population. Per square mile, there are 26 crimes in Michigan, which is a fairly low per-square-mile rating.
Although there are plenty of safe places to live in Michigan, there are some areas that are riddled with crime. These 25 dangerous neighborhoods weigh down the state and drive up the crime rate for the rest of the state. Here are the 15 most dangerous places to live in Michigan:
The crime rate in Pontiac, Michigan, is 124.3 percent higher than the national average. Pontiac is a polarizing town, with a violent crime rate that is nearly four times higher than the national average, and a property crime rate that is much lower than the national average. The violent crime rate in Pontiac is 1,343 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Essentially, there is a 1 in 74 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime while in Pontiac. The number of homicides seen in one year is high, with a homicide rate of 0.23 homicides—five times higher than the national average.
The property crime rate is 2,270 property crimes per 100,000. Though this is a high rate, it is still lower than the national average. The main threat of Pontiac isn’t the property crime rate; it’s the violent crime rate. With constant reports of shootings in the poorest areas of town and a crime ridden downtown, this is a town to avoid.
Mount Morris Township has a violent crime rate of 841 crimes per 100,000 people. This is twice as high as the state’s average violent crime rate. This means that residents have a 1 in 119 chance of being a victim of violent crime. The most common violent crime in this small town of 2,000 people is assault.
The property crime rate in Mount Morris Township is 2,242 crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate, though lower than the national average, is significantly higher than the state’s property crime average, with 2,242 property crimes per 100,000 people. Both theft and burglary are fairly common in this area.
Ypsilanti, pronounced “ill-sill-ann-tee,” is the 13th most dangerous place to live in Michigan. This city has a violent crime rate of 953 violent crimes per 100,000 people, nearly double the state’s average and triple the national average (and we’re only looking at the 13th most dangerous city). While in Ypsilanti, there is a 1 in 105 chance that you will become a victim of violent crime.
The property crime rate in Ypsilanti is also extremely high, with 3,401 property crimes per 100,000 people. This number is double the state’s average property crime rate. While in this city, there is a 1 in 29 chance that you will be a victim of property crime.
Harper Woods has a population of 13,813, a fairly average population size for a small city in America. However, the high crime rate in Harper Woods is not average for a small city in America. Harper Woods is one of the worst places to live in Michigan due to high rates of violence and property crime. The violent crime rate in Harper Woods is 927 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. While living in the neighborhoods in Harper Woods, residents have a 1 in 108 chance of becoming a victim to a violent crime.
The property crime rate in this area is also stunningly high, with 4,923 property crimes per 100,000 people. This means that 1 in 20 residents will become victims of property crime. The most common property crime in Harper Woods is theft, with 472 thefts reported every year.
Lansing Township is the 12th most dangerous city in Michigan. Lansing Township is safer than only 7 percent of American cities, meaning that 93 percent of the United States is safer than Lansing Township. Lansing has a fairly large population of over 118,427 people, and with the large population comes a high crime rate. The cities overall crime rate is 4,173 crimes per 100,000 people. The most common crime in the city is theft, with 2,308 isolated reports of theft. The violent crime rate is 1,115 violent crimes per 100,000 people, and the property crime rate is 3,058 crimes per 100,000 people.
Encorse has a population of 9,226 people, fairly small for a Michigan town. In this city, there are 1,517 violent crimes per 100,000 people and a property crime rate of 3,544 property crimes per 100,000 people. Encorse has the highest rates of car theft in the state, so invest in a good car alarm and car security devices. When using your own car in Encorse, park off the street and or use a private car garage. While in Encorse, stay off the streets at night and stick to locations you know.
Flint Township has a population of 95,943 people and has 1,759 violent crimes and 2,689 property crimes reported every year. Flint is one of the rare towns that have an extremely high violent crime rate and an extremely average property crime rate. Many speculate that this is due to gang activity and drug abuse in the city. In Flint, there is a 1 in 55 chance that you are going to become a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 36 chance that you will become a victim of property crime. The most common violent crime in the city is assault, with over 1,400 incidents of assault reported every year. Essentially, stay away from Flint at night and don’t come to this city unless you know where you’re going.
The crime rate in Highland Park is 49 percent higher than the national average; the violent crime rate is nearly five times higher than the national average. With a violent crime rate of 1,740 violent crimes per 100,000 people, there is a 1 in 59 chance that you will be a victim of violent crime while living in or visiting these neighborhoods.
The property crime rate in this city is above average, with 3,202 property crimes per 100,000 people. The chances of being a victim of property crime are 1 in 30. Highland Park has a large percentage of motor vehicle thefts, with a quarter of property crimes being motor vehicle thefts.
Although the first look at Albion’s crime rate isn’t shocking, there is a key detail that is. First of all, the violent crime rate is 849 violent crimes in 100,000 people. The property crime rate is 3,751 property crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate in the city is high; there’s no disputing that. But, the property crime rate alone shouldn’t earn Albion the prize of being the seventh most dangerous city. So, what makes Albion so dangerous?
The most dangerous feature that Albion presents is the high number of registered sex offenders. In the population of 8,477 people, there are 92 sex offenders. This averages out to be 106.51 sex offenders per 100,000 residents. This is nearly six times higher than the national average of 19 sex offenders per 100,000 people. Albion isn’t intrinsically dangerous; however, having such a high number of sex offenders does complicate Albion’s appeal.
Jackson is an average-sized city with a population of 32,605 people. The area has both high rates of violent crime and property crime. There are 1,187 violent crimes per 100,000 people, meaning that there is a 1 in 84 chance that residents will be victims of violent crimes.
The property crime rate is also high, with 4,364 property crimes per 100,000 people, meaning that there is a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of property crime. The local police officers assume that high crime rates are due to the high poverty rates in the city. The poverty rate in Jackson is 32.8 percent, meaning that 1 in 3 residents live in poverty. This is triple the national poverty rate of 11 percent.
The 5th most dangerous city in Michigan is Saginaw. Saginaw has a population of 48,323 people and sees a high violent crime rate of 1,676 violent crimes per 100,000 people. While in Saginaw, there is a 1 in 60 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. Assault is the most common violent crime found in this city, with 654 yearly incidents of assault. There are also 86 reports of robbery, 58 reports of rape, and 12 murders, all in one year.
The property crime rate in Saginaw is also higher than Michigan’s average, with 1,912 property crimes. Typically, the vast majority of property crimes are reports of theft. However, Saginaw has a surprisingly high number of burglaries, with 387 burglars every year. This is nearly triple the national average rate of burglaries.
Kalamazoo has earned its place as the 4th most dangerous city in Michigan. Kalamazoo has 1,336 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. In total, the 76,545 people who live in Kalamazoo report 1,023 violent crimes every year. Of these violent crimes, there are 735 assaults, 159 robberies, 122 rapes, and 7 murders. One in 75 people are victims of violent crime in this city.
Property crime in Kalamazoo is also high, with 5,139 property crimes per 100,000 people. There is a one in 19 chance that a person will experience property crime in Kalamazoo. In Kalamazoo, there are 3,934 property crimes. The breakdown of the crimes is: 2,749 thefts, 846 burglaries, 339 car thefts. There are 197 crimes per square mile in this city.
Detroit is infamous for crime and was once deemed as the most dangerous city in the country. That being said, Detroit is still incredibly dangerous. The city has a population of 672,662 and sees 42,535 total crimes every year. There are 13,511 reported violent crimes, and 29,024 reported property crimes. The violent crime rate per 100,000 people is 2,009. This means that residents have a 1 in 50 chance of experiencing violent crimes every year. Detroit also has one of the highest murder rates in the country, with a murder rate of 39 per 100,000 people (seven times higher than the national average).
Property crime also defines Detroit as one of the most dangerous cities. With a property crime rate of 4,315 property crimes per 100,000 people, people tend to take their home security seriously in Detroit. Most homeowners use metal bars on the windows and install home security systems to protect their homes from the constant plague of burglary. Detroit is one of the worst cities to live in due to crime; however, the houses in Detroit are offered at some of the cheapest rates in the nation.
Benton Harbor is the second most dangerous city in Michigan. This town has a violent crime rate of 2,198 violent crimes per 100,000 people. In the small population of 9,826, there are 157 assaults, 28 robberies, 28 rapes, and 3 murders all in one year. The area has a median household income of $18,962, compared to the national household income of $61,937. The low income could explain the high rates of both violent crime and property crime.
There are 4,386 property crimes per 100,000 people in Benton Harbor, which means that there is a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of property crime while in this city. There are 105 burglaries, 268 thefts, and 58 motor vehicle thefts. Per square mile, there are 138 crimes.
The number one most dangerous city in Michigan is Muskegon Heights. Muskegon Heights is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, and it only has a population of 10,731. Typically large population cities like Detroit or New York will be more dangerous than smaller towns. However, in the case of Muskegon Heights, this small town is more dangerous to walk alone at night than a large city.
Muskegon Heights has one of the highest homicide rates in the United States. It has a homicide rate of 0.47, almost 10 times higher than the national average. Rape, robbery, and assault are all incredibly high as well. The rape rate is 149 per 100,000; the robbery rate is 363 per 100,000; the assault rate is 1,715 per 100,000. In Muskegon Heights, there is a 1 in 44 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.
For property crimes, there are 6,001 property crimes per 100,000 people, meaning that there is a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim. Per 100,000 people, there are 1,230 burglaries, 4,007 thefts, and 764 car thefts. Muskegon is one of the most dangerous cities in the states (if not the most dangerous).
No matter where you live, safety should be a priority. For law-abiding citizens, crime is terrifying and inconvenient. Burglars can steal thousands of dollars in an hour, and an alleyway assault can leave a person with years of therapy and emotional distress. To stay safe from crime in a crime ridden city, here’s what you need to do:
The first thing that you should do is carry personal protection. This is usually in the form of pepper spray, personal alarms, or striker kit. These items can help to protect you when you need it most.
Learning self-defense can help you to better protect yourself against attackers. Take a self-defense class to learn how to escape if someone grabs you in the street or attempts to rob you. Knowing self-defense also decreases your odds of becoming a victim because you’re able to walk more confidently.
For safety at home, one of the best things you can do is to install a home security system. Home security systems, such as Cove Security, will protect your home from burglary, home invasion, stalkers, and other threats to the home. A home security system will come equipped with smart abilities and connect to your mobile device to give you safety notifications while you’re away from home.
Staying safe in a dangerous place is easier when you stay aware of your surroundings. Always check crime maps for the latest crime updates in your area. For example, if you live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, simply search for a Grand Rapids crime map on your internet browser. It will pull up either CityProtect.com or SpotCrime.com. You can also search your zipcode within those sites and see where crimes are happening in your area. However, even knowing where crime happens won’t protect you if you’re not alert while walking in the city. The best thing you can do to be safe while living in a dangerous city is to stay aware and alert.