10 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan

Updated On October 10, 2023

Thanks to Detroit, Michigan was once the automobile capital of the world.

That meant lots of money and power flowed through this otherwise quiet northern state.

As much of the auto industry shifted, poverty and crime swept over Detroit.

Some of that stretched out and influenced other cities as well. 

Today, Michigan has gained more popularity as a tourist destination. 

Is it worth all the hype?

Before you plan a trip to the Great Lakes, follow along with us.

We’re going to narrow down the most dangerous cities in the state. 

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan

Benton Harbor, Michigan
Benton Harbor, Michigan

1. Benton Harbor

Less than 10,000 people reside in Benton Harbor, yet the crime rates reflect a community with larger numbers.

In one year, 647 crimes were committed.

These crimes were mostly theft, burglary, and assault. 

Crimes also included robbery, rape, and murder.

It would be easy to correlate the extremely low average household income with the rise in violence.

Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan

2. Detroit

Once called the most dangerous city in all of the US, some progress has been made to fight crime.

Unfortunately, not enough to take it off the list of dangerous Michigan cities, overall. 

43,000 crimes are committed here each year. 

Part of that number makes up one of the highest murder rates in the country, 39 out of every 100,000 people, to be exact. 

That has prompted a majority of homeowners to put bars on their windows.

Being so incredibly unsafe is why houses are so cheap.

It’s not really an effective way to cut down on violence, but the city is trying.

Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kalamazoo, Michigan

3. Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is a big city with almost 80,000 residents.

It’s a college town with plenty of fun and interesting things to do.

What it also has a lot of is a crime.

In one year, 5,000 crimes are reported.

A majority of those crimes are thefts, burglaries, and assaults. 

1 in 75 citizens is a victim of a crime each year.

Muskegon Heights, Michigan
Muskegon Heights, Michigan

4. Muskegon Heights

In a city with just over 10,000 residents, Muskegon Heights has the crime rate of a larger city.

It currently ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the country. 

The city also has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation.

Actually, pretty much every category of crime is higher here than in most places.

Highland Park, Michigan
Highland Park, Michigan

5. Highland Park

Speaking of horrific statistics, Highland Park has a crime rate that is 49% higher than the national average.

This is coming from a town with less than 9,000 residents. 

The fall is quite tragic.

Highland Park was once the site of the first great factory by Ford Motor Company.

Now, there’s a 1 in 59 chance anyone there will fall victim to a violent crime.

Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan

6. Flint

Yes, this is the same city with undrinkable water.

Given that reality, it’s not incredibly surprising that the crime here is in a very dark place.

That’s 100,000 people who aren’t able to access clean water. 

4,500 crimes are reported each year in Flint, 1,400 of which are assaults.

It would also not be surprising if the population started to decline drastically.

Saginaw, Michigan
Saginaw, Michigan

7. Saginaw

On the outside, Saginaw sounds like a good place to live.

The economy is good, the population is diverse, and the cost of living is pretty budget-friendly.

Unfortunately, there are also 400 burglaries and 654 assaults every year.

Those are just the most common crimes.

Plenty of other criminal events take place throughout the year.

That is why you might want to think twice before setting your sights on Saginaw. 

Albion, Michigan
Albion, Michigan

8. Albion

The property crime rate is 3,751 for 100,000 people. 

For many, the crime rate is a lot, but it’s not necessarily what makes Albion an unsettling place to live.

For whatever reason, there seems to be an unusually high concentration of registered sex offenders that also call Albion home.

It equates to about 2% of the town’s population. 

Pontiac, Michigan
Pontiac, Michigan

9. Pontiac

Pontiac was named after a war chief from the Ottawa tribe. 

Later, the name grew in popularity thanks to GM building a plant here, birthing the Pontiac line.

What once used to be a pretty lucrative place now has something else it’s known for.

The crime rate in Pontiac is 125% higher than the national average.

Violent crimes are also four times the national average.

Jackson, Michigan
Jackson, Michigan

10. Jackson

A third of Jackson’s residents live below the poverty level.

That is three times as many as the rest of the country.

That is believed to play a big part in the high violent and property crime rates.

An individual has a 1 in 23 chance of something happening to their property and 1 in 84 of being hurt physically.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Michigan

1. First Aid Kit

If you’re going to Michigan on vacation, there’s a good chance you might be heading to The Great Lakes.

There is so much to see and enjoy, but it’s always smart to plan ahead.

Be sure to include the normal stuff, like ice packs and bandaids.

Don’t leave out things that might specifically pertain to the water, such as sunscreen.

Also, something for blood.

You never know when a broken bottle is in the sand.

2. Check Auto Needs

There’s nothing worse than a flat tire in the midst of a road trip.

The same goes for running out of gas or running so low on fluids that the car starts yelling at you.

Before pulling out, pop the hood and do a walk around the vehicle.

Give the tires a good squeeze.

Check the fluid levels.

Getting ahead of anything that’s going on will save you some time and money in the event there’s an issue away from home.

3. Create a Digital Buddy System

Whether traveling solo or with a big group of friends, there should always be someone back home who knows where you are.

That person should also be comfortable with you calling at any time, day or night, while away.

The reason is you may need them to verify they are a live person talking to you in case of an emergency.

A predator is less likely to hurt someone if they know a live person is there on the phone, especially if it’s a video call.

Having a buddy who will call you or take your call when you need it is a great way to ensure safety.

4. Locate Emergency Facilities

If you or someone you’re with gets hurt, you need to know where to go.

Before leaving, pull up a map of the surrounding areas where you’re staying.

Check out where the police station, hospital, gas station, and even the grocery store are.

The more you know ahead of time, the less you’d need to look up in the case of an emergency. 

It also wouldn’t hurt to have a good idea of the distances of the excursions in relation to where you’re staying.

That way you’ll have a nice bird’s eye view of the whole area.

5. Take Time to Refresh

If the drive is a long one, make pit stops every two hours or so.

Get out and stretch and get some cold water on your face.

The idea here is to keep you fresh and road ready.

It’s easy to lull into sleep, especially at night or before dawn.

Don’t feel like you can’t stop for a 30-minute nap, either.

The best place to do this is at a well-lit gas station parked up front. 

That doesn’t mean in front of the doors but on the front row of parking spots for good visual and security cameras.

Michigan Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Michigan Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the safest city in Michigan?

Hitting the top of the safety charts is Grosse Ill Township.

This is actually a little group of a dozen islands in the Detroit River.

There are 10,000 residents in the township and there aren’t any reports of violent crimes.

Coming up behind Grosse Ill Township are Beverly Hills and Grosse Pointe Park.

These are two high-end towns just outside of Detroit.

Both are well known for their almost nonexistent violent crime records.

How safe is Michigan?

In comparison to all the other states, Michigan wouldn’t be classified as the safest or most dangerous.

Despite the bad reputation that cities like Detroit have, Michigan is somewhere in the middle.

What that basically breaks down to is Michigan can be a safe place to live and visit, if you know where to go.

There are plenty of places that would be deemed as a no-go area.

Get some insight before you head anywhere within the border and you should be fine.

What are the top crimes being committed in Michigan?

More often than not, the most common crime happening in Michigan is related to property.

In fact, 78% of crimes committed throughout the state are property crimes.

That’s still below the national average of 85%.

Other crimes taking place in Michigan are larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.

As probably expected, violent crimes are 22%.

This is well above the national average of 15%.

5 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan

  1. Michigan may have its share of dangerous cities, but it’s still a beautiful state with plenty to offer for tourists.

  2. Despite its reputation as a tourist destination, Michigan’s high crime rates in cities like Detroit and Benton Harbor make it less appealing for those seeking safety.

  3. m
    mohamed says:

    Michigan’s most dangerous cities, such as Benton Harbor and Detroit, have high crime rates including thefts, burglaries, assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders due to poverty and the decline of the auto industry.

  4. C
    Catherine Jackson says:

    Living near one of these cities makes me grateful for my quiet town. It’s eye-opening to see the stats laid out like this.

  5. R
    Russell James says:

    I grew up in one of these cities and can attest to the challenges. It’s a reminder of the importance of community support and resources.

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