What Are The 15 Most Dangerous Cities In Michigan?

Dangerous Cities in Michigan

With its stunning natural landscape, active outdoor lifestyle, affordable housing, and enjoyable seasons, thousands discover how much Michigan has to offer each year. So, if you’re considering a move to Michigan, you’re certainly not alone. Though, safety should be at the top of your priority list, regardless of where you’re headed. Home to cities like Detroit, Benton Harbor, and Flint, Michigan is a consistent offender when it comes to cities with the highest crime rates.

Although there has been an overall downward trend in crime over the last 17 years, it’s important to be aware of which cities to avoid in The Great Lakes State.

Based on FBI statistics, the most dangerous cities in Michigan include Muskegon Heights, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Three Rivers, Jackson, Harper Woods, Benton Harbor, Highland Park, Ypsilanti, Albion, Battle Creek, Lansing, Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw. Detroit alone, the state’s second most dangerous city, has a violent crime rate that is over three times the state average and a total crime rate that is a whopping 152% higher than the national average.

 So, if you’re looking for a safe place for you and your family to settle down in Michigan, it is critical that you know which areas to steer clear of. With that said, let’s explore the top 15 most dangerous cities in Michigan.

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2022 Michigan Crime Statistics

When it comes to looking at crime in Michigan, the best source is the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, which are collected and published every year. This crime data is generally separated into two main categories: violent crime and property crime. Violent crime involves crimes such as rape, robbery, assault, and murder. Overall, when an area reports a high violent crime rate, it’s best to stay away.

Property crime, on the other hand, includes theft, arson, burglary, vehicle theft, and vandalism. Unlike violent crime, these crimes are non-life-threatening and typically come with shorter sentences. Property crime tends to be around four times as common as violent crime and most states have high rates of property crime and low violent crime rates. However, in some of the most dangerous Michigan cities, the violent crime rate exceeds the property crime rate.

Violent Crime in Michigan

Michigan’s violent crime rate is higher than 37 other states in the nation. The state has the highest violent crime rate in the East North Central region of the country at 4.4, compared to the regional average of 3.7. Michigan’s violent crime rate is also higher than the national average, with the thirteenth-highest rate among all 50 states.

  • Roughly 50% of Michigan residents report that they feel safe in their state, compared to the national average of 55%.
  • Murder is the least common violent crime in Michigan, accounting for approximately 1% of violent crimes in the state.
  • One in six reported violent crimes in Michigan is rape.
  • Michigan had 9 mass shootings in 2019 and 20 in 2020.

Property Crime in Michigan

Despite Michigan’s higher violent crime rate, the property crime rate is surprisingly low in the state. In fact, the national average property crime rate is two times the property crime rate in Michigan. The overall property crime rate even dropped last year, making reported incidents of property crime in Michigan pretty rare.

  • About 13% of Michiganders reported experiences with property crime in the past 12 months.
  • Burglary accounts for about 18% of property crimes in Michigan, which is higher than the national average of 16%.
  • Michigan has the second lowest property crime rate (15.9 per 1K people) in the country, behind Wisconsin at 14.7.

What Are the Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan?

Although Michigan may not be among the top 20 most dangerous states in the U.S. and there are plenty of safe areas, the state is known for being home to some of the most dangerous cities in the country. In an effort to help you avoid the worst areas in the state, we’ve put together a ranking of the most dangerous places in Michigan for 2021. While you can certainly speak with long-time residents of Michigan about which cities to steer clear of, analyzing statistics will yield the most unbiased answer.

To determine the most dangerous places across The Great Lakes State, we took a look at reported FBI crime date. More specifically, we examined the property crime, violent crime, and total crime rates for each city in Michigan with over 5,000 residents. Those with the highest crimes per 100K people in 2021 earned a spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in Michigan:

  1. Muskegon Heights
  2. Detroit
  3. Kalamazoo
  4. Three Rivers
  5. Jackson
  6. Harper Woods
  7. Benton Harbor
  8. Highland Park
  9. Ypsilanti
  10. Albion
  11. Battle Creek
  12. Lansing
  13. Pontiac
  14. Flint
  15. Saginaw

Let’s dive deeper and explore these communities in detail, along with their characteristics, crime rates, and livability.

1. Muskegon Heights, MI

  • Population: 10,792
  • Total Reported Incidents: 776
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,165
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,076
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,241

Believe it or not, there is a city more dangerous than Detroit in Michigan. With a total crime rate per 100K of 7,241, Muskegon Heights is considered the number one most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. In fact, the city is among one of the most dangerous in the entire country. Muskegon Heights is home to only 10,792, which is surprising considering cities with large populations like New York or Detroit tend to be more dangerous than smaller towns.

The city has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation, at 0.47 per 1,000 people. This rate is nearly ten times higher than the national average. Reported incidents of robbery, assault, and rape are also high – the rape rate is 140 per 100K, assault is 1,642.3 per 100K, and robbery is 335.9 per 100K. In regards to property crime, the city boasts a rate of 5,076 per 100K people, which is almost five times higher than the state average. Muskegon Heights also has the highest burglary rate in the state, so you’ll want to be diligent about locking your doors in this city.

Overall, you have a 1 in 14 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.

2. Detroit, MI

  • Population: 683,443
  • Total Reported Incidents: 41,590
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,965
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,303
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,268

Between the financial crash in 2008 crippling the industry, a whopping 36% poverty rate, and an unemployment rate almost five times higher than the national average, it’s not surprising that Detroit has had its fair share of struggles. In the past decade alone, nearly 10% of the population has fled the city. It’s very common for a low quality of life and poor prospects to result in increased levels of crime. The only surprising thing here is the fact that Detroit didn’t earn the top spot on our list, as the city is infamous for crime and was once named the most dangerous city in the nation.

With a population of about $683,443, Detroit experiences around 41,590 total crimes each year. In 2019, there were 13,040 reported incidents of violent crime and 28,550 property crimes alone. Additionally, the Motor City has the second-highest murder rate and the second-highest burglary rate in the state of Michigan. The murder rate is about eight times higher than the national average. All in all, you have about a 1 in 16 chance of becoming a victim in Detroit, Michigan.

3. Kalamazoo, MI

  • Population: 75,885
  • Total Reported Incidents: 4,527
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,235
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,657
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,892

With a population of 75,885, you’d expect the crime rates in Kalamazoo to be on the higher side. However, crime rates are exponential in the city, earning the third spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in Michigan. In 2019, approximately 949 violent crimes were reported, yielding a violent crime rate of 1,235 per 100K people. Of these violent crimes, there are were 9 murders, 110 rapes, 182 robberies, and 648 assaults. About 1 in 75 people are victims of violent crime in Kalamazoo.

Property crime is even worse in the city, with a rate of 4,657 per 100K people. Residents have a 1 in 23 chance of having their car stolen or their home broken into, which is incredibly high compared to the state average of 1 in 56. Although crime in Kalamazoo has decreased year over year by about 7%, overall crime rates are still a staggering 137% higher than the national average and you have a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim of some sort of crime in the city.

4. Three Rivers, MI

  • Population: 7,743
  • Total Reported Incidents: 427
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 981
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,606
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,587

Although Three Rivers may sound like a name for a peaceful, small city, it’s actually the fourth most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. In 2019, a total of 75 violent crimes were reported, resulting in a violent crime rate of 981 per 100K people. Of these violent crimes, there were 50 assaults, 8 robberies, 16 rapes, and 1 murder. The rape rate in Three Rivers is the fourth highest in the state.

In regards to property crime, there were a total of 352 reported incidents with a rate of 4,606 per 100K people. Although year over year crime in Three Rivers has increased by 20%, overall crime rates are a shocking 124% higher than the national average. All in all, you have a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Three Rivers, Michigan.

5. Jackson, MI

  • Population: 33,165
  • Total Reported Incidents: 1,704
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,108
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,135
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,243

With a population of approximately 33,165 residents, Jackson is an average-sized city. The city is located about 25 miles south of Lansing and 40 miles west of Ann Arbor.  As the fifth most dangerous city in Michigan, the area has high rates of both violent and property crime. In fact, Jackson averages nearly one violent crime per day, and almost four property crimes a day. The violent crime rate is 1,108 per 100K people, equating to a 1 in 84 chance of becoming a victim of violent crimes in Jackson.

The property crime in Jackson is even higher, with a rate of 4,135 property crimes per 100K people. This property crime rate is almost three times higher than the state average and double the national average. Although year over year crime in Jackson has dropped by 2%, you still have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of crime in the city. The local police in Jackson attribute the high crime rates to the high poverty rate of 32.8 percent. This is nearly three times the national poverty rate of 11 percent.

6. Harper Woods, MI

  • Population: 9,988
  • Total Reported Incidents: 716
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 800
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,409
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,209

While the overall crime rate in Harper Woods has been steadily decreasing year over year, the area is still considered the sixth most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. The city may have an average population of 13,895 for a small city, but the overall crime rate is not average for a small city in the U.S. To put things in perspective, the Michigan average crime rate is 2,022 per 100K people but the Harper Woods total crime rate is a staggering 5,209 per 100K people.

There were 110 violent crimes reported in 2019, yielding a violent crime rate of 800 per 100K people. Of these violent crimes, there were 87 assaults, 18 robberies, 4 rapes, and 1 murder. With this in mind, you have about a 1 in 108 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Harper Woods. Property crime in Harper Woods is also high, with a rate of 4,409 per 100K people. The most common property crime in the city is theft, with a whopping 425 thefts reported each year on average.

Overall, you have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of some sort of crime in Harper Woods, Michigan.

7. Benton Harbor, MI

  • Population: 13,895
  • Total Reported Incidents: 510
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,939
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,265
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,204

With a total crime rate of 5,204 per 100K people, Benton Harbor is considered the seventh most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. In the small population of 9,988 people, there were 150 reported assaults, 19 robberies, 18 rapes, and 3 murders all in one year. The median household income in Benton Harbor is a shockingly low $18,962, compared to the national average of $61,937. Low incomes often correlate with high rates of property crime and violent crime.

The property crime rate in Benton Harbor is 3,265 per 100K people, meaning you have approximately a 1 in 23 chance of being a victim of property crime in this city. In addition to the high crime rates and the low household incomes, poverty is an astonishing 48% and unemployment is 20.8%. Overall, you have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of a crime – whether violent or property – in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

8. Highland Park, MI

  • Population: 10,978
  • Total Reported Incidents: 549
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,065
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,065
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,129

Violent crime rates in Highland Park, Michigan are nearly six times the national average and five times the state average. With a total crime rate of 5,129, Highland Park is considered the eighth most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. The city has been featured at the top of lists outlining the worst places in Michigan for years, and for good reason. Residents have about a 1 in 60 chance of becoming a victim of rape, assault, robbery, or murder.

Property crime rates in Highland Park are even higher, with a rate of 3,065 per 100K people. The most common property crime in the city is theft and a total of 203 thefts were reported in a single year. Year over year crime in Highland Park has increased by about 4% and you have a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of some sort of crime in the city.

9. Ypsilanti, MI

  • Population: 20,577
  • Total Reported Incidents: 952
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,020
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,475
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,495

Situated just 10 miles southeast of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti is considered the ninth most dangerous place in the state of Michigan. The city has a violent crime rate of 1,020 per 100K people, which is nearly double the state average and three times the national average. In a single year, there were 162 assaults, 26 robberies, 26 rapes, and 2 murders reported in Ypsilanti. These incidents are commonplace in the city, and property crime is even worse.

Property crime is over two times the state average, with 736 reported incidents of property crime in one year. In fact, residents of Ypsilanti have a 1 in 27 chance of becoming a victim of burglary, theft, or vehicle theft. The city has seen year over year crime increase by a staggering 20% and overall crime rates are 81% higher than the national average. All in all, you have a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

10. Albion, MI

  • Population: 8,293
  • Total Reported Incidents: 379
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 945
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,533
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,479

With a total crime rate of 4,479 per 100K people, Albion is deemed the tenth most dangerous city in the state of Michigan. There was a total of 80 violent crimes reported in a single year and assault was the most common violent crime in the city. Overall, Albion experienced 1 reported murder, 65 assaults, 8 robberies and 6 rapes in 2019. Not to mention, the city has a shocking amount of registered sex offenders.

In a population of just 8,293 residents, there are 92 sex offenders. This equates to an average of 106.51 sex offenders per 100K people, which is about six times higher than the national average. Property crime in Albion is also high, with a rate of 3,533 per 100K people. Although year over year crime has dropped by 1%, you still have a 1 in 23 chance of becoming a victim of a crime in Albion, Michigan.

11. Battle Creek, MI

  • Population: 51,763
  • Total Reported Incidents: 2,537
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 937
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,249
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,186

Being the 28th largest community in the state, you’d expect some issues in Battle Creek. However, the astonishingly high crime rates earns Battle Creek the eleventh spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in the state of Michigan. In 2019, approximately 568 violent crimes were reported, yielding a violent crime rate of 937 per 100K people. Of these violent crimes, there are were 5 murders, 60 rapes, 67 robberies, and 436 assaults. About 1 in 100 people are victims of violent crime in Battle Creek.

The property crime in Battle Creek is also high, with a rate of 3,249 per 100K people. Theft is the most common property crime in the city and a whopping 1,377 incidents were reported in a single year. Overall, you have a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a victim of some sort of crime in Battle Creek, Michigan.

12. Lansing, MI

  • Population: 114,773
  • Total Reported Incidents: 4,668
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,104
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,820
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,924

Lansing is the capital of the state of Michigan, located primarily in Ingham County. With an overall crime rate of 3,924 per 100K people, Lansing is the twelfth most dangerous city in Michigan. Based on statistics, the city is safer than only 5% of the cities in the U.S., meaning roughly 93% of the country is safer than Lansing.

Theft is the most common property crime in the city, with 2,225 isolated reports of theft. Assault is the most common violent crime, and the total violent crime rate in Lansing is 1,104 per 100K people. Although year over year crime in the city has decreased by 5%, you still have a 1 in 26 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Lansing, Michigan.

13. Pontiac, MI

  • Population: 59,920
  • Total Reported Incidents: 2,069
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,286
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 31,174
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,460

At 3,460 per 100K people, the total crime rate in Pontiac is 39% higher than the national average. However, violent crime is a staggering 239% more than the national average and 769 incidents were reported in a single year. Homicide alone is five times higher than the national average. Property crime, however, is basically on par with the national average.

With reports of shootings in the poorest areas of the city and a crime ridden downtown area, Pontiac is considered the thirteenth most dangerous city in Michigan. All in all, you have a 1 in 29 chance of being a victim of a crime in Pontiac, Michigan.

14. Flint, MI

  • Population: 98,918
  • Total Reported Incidents: 3,270
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,349
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,086
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,434

Flint has been a consistent feature on “worst of” lists for many years and, based on our calculations, the city is considered the fourteenth most dangerous in Michigan. Although property crime is 1% lower than the national average, violent crime in Flint is a shocking 255% higher. There were 1,284 reported incidents of violent crime in a single year, including 78 robberies, 23 murders, 64 rapes, and 1,119 assaults.

This is one of a few towns in Michigan with a higher violent crime rate than property crime rate. Although year over year crime has decreased by 24%, you have a 1 in 30 chance of becoming a victim of some sort of crime in Flint, Michigan.

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15. Saginaw, MI

  • Population: 49,892
  • Total Reported Incidents: 1,450
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,474
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,549
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,024

Saginaw is another city in Michigan with a lower property rate than violent crime rate. In fact, the property crime rate is 27% lower than the national average. Meanwhile, the violent crime in Saginaw is a staggering 289% higher than the national average and 707 incidents of violent crime were reported in a single year. Based on FBI statistics and our calculations, Saginaw is considered the fifteenth-most dangerous city in Michigan.

You have a 1 in 34 chance of becoming a victim in Saginaw and approximately 93% of the United States is safer than this city.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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