Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Michigan?
We all see our news feeds with reports of crimes happening all around us. From your couch, it’s easy to speculate on where you think the places are in your area to avoid. And you’re probably a little jaded as well; you might think your hometown is quite bad, but in fact, you might be relatively safe.
However, statistics never lie. In order to keep residents – and future residents – of this fine state in the know, we’ve crunched the numbers from the annual FBI report to determine, once and for all, where the danger hot spots are in Michigan. Some are surprising, and some are not.
Just where are the danger hot spots in Michigan? After analyzing all 322 cities, the data has determined that the 10 most dangerous places to live in Michigan are:
- Benton Harbor
- Muskegon Heights
- Benton Charter Township
- Harper Woods
- Highland Park
- Flint Township
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom for a complete chart to check how your city ranked. Coastal communities near Lake Michigan are a lot more dangerous than you might think.
Additionally, we needed to put this list into context. While these are hard numbers on crimes that occur in a city, these numbers don’t reflect the fact that sometimes, crimes in a city are committed by tourists or people from outside the city. Tourist towns with lots of visitors might have higher numbers due to this fact.
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Michigan
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.
Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.
We crunched the numbers on every city in Michigan where a report was available. This left us with more than 300 cities in Michigan to rank.
Additionally, we made 2013 factor more heavily than 2012, since more recent crimes are a bigger determining factor in how dangerous a place is.
We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently.
1. Benton Harbor
Violent crime ranking: 2
Property crime ranking: 4
Benton Harbor is, statistically the most violent place to live in Michigan. Last year, there were 225 violent crimes there, meaning residents have a 1 in 45 chance of being raped, attacked or outright killed.
To put this into perspective, since the average person has 300 Facebook friends, if every single one of them lived in Benton Harbor, 6 of them would have faced death last year.
2. Muskegon Heights
Violent crime ranking: 6
Property crime ranking: 8
The top three cities on this list are all on the coast of Lake Michigan. Muskegon Heights, a smaller town with almost 11,000 residents, is, according to the FBI, a very dangerous place.
There were more than 200 violent crimes here in 2013, meaning that 1 in 50 residents was the victim of a serious attack. Crime seems to be ticking up here as well, as violent crimes have gone up 10% since 2011.
Violent crime ranking: 5
Property crime ranking: 11
This isn’t the place to jump on and bash Detroit, though, if you were to do a poll of people, they’d most likely guess that Detroit would top this list. However, per capita, it does not. In fact, perhaps due to the population decrease of Detroit, the number of crimes has gone down since 2011.
Obviously, Detroit is a very dangerous place. Two years ago, there were more than 14,000 residents attacked, murdered or raped.
4. Benton Charter Township
Violent crime ranking: 14
Property crime ranking: 3
We only had 2013 data to go by, meaning Benton Township didn’t report its data before that. But when you have a city with a total of 1,200 property crimes, this is definitely a place to watch your back. Nearly 1 in 12 Benton Township residents were robbed two years ago.
That means, if you live there, odds are at least a couple people on your street were victims of a crime.
5. Harper Woods
Violent crime ranking: 13
Property crime ranking: 6
Harper Woods, a Detroit suburb, has seen its crime increase overall for the last few years. According to the FBI, violent crimes have nearly doubled here, and residents have a 1 in 15 chance of being robbed.
Additionally, there were 169 attacks in a city of only 14,000 residents.
Violent crime ranking: 3
Property crime ranking: 20
Statistically, 1 in 52 people in Flint was the victim of a rape, attack or outright killed in 2013. That’s a really large number – even much higher than Detroit.
Crime in Flint has actually gone down; just four years ago, that number was 1 in 40. And that’s just residents who actually reported a crime. Chances are it was even higher than that.
7. Highland Park
Violent crime ranking: 7
Property crime ranking: 17
Another Detroit suburb, Highland Park is, overall, slightly more dangerous than surrounding communities. However, between 2012 and 2013, the number of crimes dropped. Hopefully, that trend continues into the near future.
A resident of Highland Park had a 1 in 61 chance of being involved in a violent attack two years ago.
8. Flint Township
Violent crime ranking: 16
Property crime ranking: 9
Flint Township is slightly less dangerous than Flint, but it is still a very uncomfortable place to live if you cherish safety. While the number of robberies here has gone down lately, violent crimes have gone up. Statistically, 1 out of 92 people was attacked just two years ago here.
Violent crime ranking: 10
Property crime ranking: 16
Jackson is a bit of an outlier here. It’s one of the only cities not on the Lake Michigan coast or a Detroit suburb to make the top 10 for most dangerous places to live.
Jackson, a half hour drive west of Ann Arbor, saw almost 400 of its residents report violent attacks two years ago.
Violent crime ranking: 18
Property crime ranking: 14
Muskegon only recently reported its data to the FBI, but according to their reporting, there were 325 violent crimes and 1,970 property crimes in 2013.
There You Have It
This list may have been surprising to some who had expected to see more cities in the Detroit metro area rank highly. Additionally, it brings to light the level of danger in your community. Scroll down for a complete list.
Again, this list isn’t an indication of the effectiveness of police departments. It’s merely stating where crimes occurred and how often.