Michigan : Safety by City
- Ann Arbor
- Battle Creek
- Farmington Hills
- Flat Rock
- Glen Arbor
- Grand Rapids
- Mackinac Island
- Mackinaw City
- Port Huron
- Sault Ste. Marie
- Sterling Heights
- Traverse City
Farmington Hills, Michigan, is an affluent suburb on the northwestern side of the Detroit metro area.
Nearby Farmington fits in like a puzzle piece forming a square set of cities, it’s still a separate police department and leadership.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll talk about both.
Farmington Hills is known for the largest Holocaust Museum in Michigan, a somber space full of exhibits and an eternal flame memorial.
It’s also a community known for safe streets, green spaces, and suburban novelties.
Companies like The Sharper Image and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services have headquarters here.
While it’s definitely not one of the more robust communities for visitors, there are plenty of hotels in the city, with dozens more on its perimeter.
Just to the north, there are more than 24 lakes that dot the West Bloomfield landscape.
While Farmington Hills and Farmington seem like they’re a world away from Detroit, the drive downtown takes just 20 minutes (without traffic) and 40 minutes to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan’s chant “Let’s Go Blue!”
Warnings & Dangers in Farmington Hills
OVERALL RISK: LOW
The city has a low risk with below-average crime rates across the board. In fact, you're a good 10 miles from any part of town considered the most dangerous in Detroit.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Smart Bus is the transportation system for the cities out of Detroit. The system doesn't take you into Detroit, and Detroit's DDOT service doesn't go into the suburbs. Taxis and rideshares are widely available, while rental cars can be found at the airport, and several rental car businesses are in Farmington Hills.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
The risk is low, with just one pickpocket report in 2021. Car burglaries are a bigger concern, with 46% of all thefts being car break-ins or car accessory thefts.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Winters can be brutal with bitterly cold temperatures and regular winter storms. Warm weather brings severe thunderstorms and tornado risks. Costic Activity Center is often used as a safety, warming, or cooling center during extreme weather.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
12 robberies were reported in 2021, with just two of those being person-to-person, which is a low risk for a tourist. Once you cross into Detroit, you should assume that risk skyrockets.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Detroit has a storied history of terrorism attempts, including the Detroit Sleeper Cell allegedly planning an attack on Disneyland and the "Underwear Bomber," who tried to blow a Detroit-bound plane out of the sky. In 2022, an infusion of funding was announced in Farmington Hills to help protect houses of worship, with a growing concern about religion-based attacks. Treat it with a medium risk, but use that awareness for vigilance, not fear.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The risk of a scam against tourists is low due to this being a primarily residential area. The Michigan Department of Attorney General has a great list of common and newly developed scams on its website, as well as a place where you can report fraud attempts.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There aren't too many places in the Detroit area where the risk is low, but Farmington Hills is one of them. Check the safety rankings of other cities or sections of Detroit before you wander away from this safe place.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. The water utility asks people not to flush tissues, hand wipes, or personal hygiene products in the toilet to keep the water system functioning smoothly.
Safest Places to Visit in Farmington Hills
Michigan.org is the official “Pure Michigan®” website for the state, with a (small) section dedicated to Farmington Hills.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to include Farmington and Farmington Hills since they’re pieced together like a puzzle.
DowntownFarmington.org offers details of events and gathering spots in the center of the cities.
The Farmington Hills and Farmington separate city websites also include attractions and activities guides updated several times a year.
The Zekelman Holocaust Center is what draws most people to Farmington Hills.
This museum doesn’t gloss over any part of the preamble to the Holocaust, the atrocities within.
Still, it does tie it together with hope for a better future and how each individual can prevent another tragedy like this.
- The timeline of events leading to the Holocaust
- The timeline of Hitler’s life and eventual death
- How the Nazi Camps were run
- A boxcar that transported victims during the Holocaust
- The aftermath and trials following the Holocaust
- The eternal flame for all the victims, some names known and others who perished in anonymity but aren’t forgotten.
Online exhibits can help you learn more about what to expect and help children understand this major devastation in human history.
Rotating exhibits are held throughout the year.
The museum is open every day but Saturday, on Jewish holidays and legally designated American holidays.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills is fun and somewhat freaky, with coin-operated machines from different ears and some unique designs by the founder.
It’s like being in the movie Beetlejuice with a side of an arcade on steroids.
Admission is free, but coins are used to play the games, and a change machine is available.
“It’s a sensory overload,” says owner Jeremy Yagoda, one of the museum owners.
“You cannot see it all at once.”
Yagoda encourages you to look up, down, and in between machines to soak in every space with distinct displays.
Farmington Hills also has several parks worth exploring, from minimalist trails to sports parks to playgrounds and splash pads.
- Woodland Hills Nature Park: Basic nature park with plant and wildlife viewing through woods, ponds, and open spaces.
- Heritage Park: Hiking trails, splash pad, and archery range.
- Farmington Hills Nature Center: This includes a 2300-square-foot indoor facility with exhibits.
The city website’s Play, Explore, Learn section contains a full list of parks and activities.
In Farmington, the Governor Warner Museum Gardens is open seasonally, with a mansion, carriage house, and gardens available for walking tours.
Downtown Farmington is a mix of historic buildings and modern charm, with food, shopping, entertainment, and local events throughout the year.
The older buildings that still stand were tough enough to withstand a devastating fire in 1872.
While a tragedy, it’s also part of history that makes the old-vs-new atmosphere thrive in 2023 and beyond.
Shiawasee Park in Farmington runs along a creek with plenty of outdoor space to relax and enjoy and can be a great place for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter.
These communities also offer several golf courses open to the public and ice skating rinks open throughout the year.
Places to Avoid in Farmington Hills
Both Farmington and Farmington Hills are ranked among the best cities and school systems in Michigan, which means it’s a safe place to visit with a deep community commitment to safety and activities.
You won’t find a bad neighborhood here.
As idyllic as Farmington Hills appears, there are accusations of racist undertones in the community, with an investigation about why African Americans are stopped by police more than Caucasians.
While it’s not a topic that will impact a visit, it’s worth noting the community is sensitive and speaks out about injustices during a time of great advances in fighting systemic racism in America.
Avoid the hookah lounges as they have been a hot bed for crime – at least by Farmington Hills standards.
All the outdoor parks and trails are wonderful places to visit, be warned that during the summer, mosquitos can range from annoying to intense.
You need to wear bug spray with DEET and re-apply it often.
The humidity of this region can cause you to sweat a lot, so bring extra water and electrolytes to fuel your outdoor adventure.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Farmington Hills
- Farmington and Farmington Hills each have their own police force. It’s important to know which city you are in if you need help from the police. Follow them on Facebook @Farmington-Hills-Police-Department and @FarmingtonPublic Safety. It would also make sense to follow Livonia Police Department as that’s a city bordering each on the south. You can also read our article “How Safe is Livonia for Travel?”.
- Both police departments offer real-time crime mapping searches, so you can see crime trends closer to the time you visit. For example, you might want to know how many car break-ins happened within a mile of your chosen hotel over the past six months or how many robberies happened in the past month near your restaurant of choice.
- For some reason, the two cities use different apps to send emergency notifications. Farmington Hills has FH Alert, where you can sign up through the department’s website. Farmington offers updates through Nixle, a popular notification system that also directly reports information to the media. You will get real-time information instead of waiting for local news alerts.
- Check each city’s website for construction projects and road closures if you’re visiting from spring through fall. The brutal winters and freeze/thaw cycles of early spring leave major potholes or torn-up roads. You can also report problems you come across through the separate city websites.
- Both cities offer free parking with time limits in some spots. Yep, even downtown Farmington offers free on-street parking, a novelty among American cities. Since you’re not having to feed a meter, use that time to remove all personal belongings from plain sight and lock the car doors while confirming the windows are fully rolled up. Even a small crack in the window can make for an easy target.
- Farmington Hills added a license plate reader system in late 2022. This means your license plate will be recorded as you drive around, but it’s only for crime-solving reasons. For example, if your car is stolen, the cameras can help locate it as it moves through the city. About 20 other law enforcement agencies in Detroit use the same technology with the goal of reducing crime throughout the metro area.
- Farmington has a Vimeo account with some great local information about events and the city parks. Parking information and police engagement are also included. Farmington Hills has a YouTube channel @FarmingtonHillsMichigan with monthly updates called “Farmington Hills in Focus.”
- There are a handful of places to fish in Farmington Hills, including the popular Founders Fishing Pier. Anglers must follow the rules and seasonal restrictions as found in the Michigan Fishing Guide from the Department of Natural Resources.
- Winter guests, listen up! Local roads in Farmington Hills will only be plowed if more than four inches of snow falls. You can track the snow plows in real time through the city’s website. While there are now snow parking bans, you should always remove your vehicle off the street during snow events to avoid being sideswiped by a plow or having another car hit it.
- Cannabis users should review the “Cannabis Industry Information Gathering & Public Outreach” section of the city’s website to see the latest information on this tough topic. As of late 2022, the city was holding community conversations to figure out how it will interpret state laws allowing recreational and medical marijuana.
So... How Safe Is Farmington Hills Really?
Farmington Hills and Farmington each have incredibly low crime rates; from there, the risk of a tourist or stranger being a victim is exponentially lower.
50% of violent crimes in Farmington Hills happen in private homes.
Just 30% happen against strangers.
The only problem in Farmington Hills is that crime rates are going in the wrong direction.
2021 brought the highest violent crime rate since 2011.
That number is fueled by increased aggravated assaults, as homicides, robberies, and sexual assaults are about average, looking back over 10 years of data.
The city hasn’t seen more than two homicides in a year since 2012, with 2014, 2015, 2019, and 2020 having no homicides.
The crime problems in Farmington Hills center mainly around hookah lounges, some of which haven’t even applied for the required business license.
“We have four hookah lounges, and three of them have had significant violent criminal actions at their location,” Police Chief Jeff King said.
“This has included gunshots, shootings, individuals shot, individuals stabbed, and various other crimes.”
Efforts are being made to address each increased crime area, including policies to allow police to close down businesses after violence and hold business owners more accountable for their actions or lack of reaction.
Farmington Hills police are also engaged in Project Safer Streets, meant to prevent crime before it happens and educate juveniles on crime risks while providing safer alternatives.
The police department is also working with a group of community members to help build better conversations and incentives to reduce crime.
“We want people to have confidence that the police will respond.
They will treat you with dignity and respect, and that’s one of the reasons I’m on this committee,” resident T.R. Carr said.
Let the police and community figure that out while helping report anything suspicious during your stay.
Farmington Hills and Farmington are still two very safe places to stay in the Detroit Metro area, which faces surging crime rates on a much larger level.
How Does Farmington Hills Compare?
|Siem Reap (Cambodia)||63|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
The U.S. State Department issues Visa or Visa Waivers to all international travelers. Start the process early and use the Visa Wizard module on the website to get started down the right path. Bring your passport and Visa with you on the plane or as you cross over from the Canadian border, and be patient with the process.
The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency you can use anywhere in America. Exchange currency at home to avoid paying higher fees stateside.
The Detroit area gets very distinct seasons, with winter being painfully cold, snowy, and icy sometimes. While residents here are used to it, visitors from warmer climates might find it downright jarring. Spring and fall can be a roller coaster of temperatures, so just pack layers of clothing. Summers will be mild to hot, with high humidity requiring bug spray and sunscreen. Pack breathable, loose-fitting fabrics. Bring good walking shoes for all those trails.
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport is a 28-mile drive on a major interstate, so plan for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get there, depending on traffic. Use the Mi Drive website or app to spot traffic troubles, construction projects, or accidents along the way.
Travel insurance is most valuable if you purchase it when you book your trip. It goes into effect immediately, allowing for an escape hatch if an emergency cancels your trip. Also, with the intense weather of Michigan, you should never assume you won't face delays or cancellations just because there's a major airport nearby.
Farmington Hills Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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Michigan - Safety by City
|Sault Ste. Marie||82|