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
Flat Rock, Michigan, is a small town in the Downriver region outside Detroit.
For those looking for more pure Michigan wilderness while still being close enough to the big city, this is the place for you.
The very same outdoor benefits fueled Flat Rock to become a city when Henry Ford wanted to spread the economic impact of his motor company to the surrounding Detroit regions.
The Huron River’s power was harnessed into a hydroelectric powerhouse, and some of the first headlights of Ford cars were made here from the 1920s until 1950.
As many jobs as the plant brought to Flat Rock, named for the abundant limestone nearby, the city managed to keep that small-town charm it holds to this day.
It’s a city of 10,000 people, but it’s still growing.
Flat Rock also offers a downtown section where you can eat, drink, and be merry while offering river activities and Metroparks east and west for outdoor adventures during all seasons.
You also have other charming communities to visit nearby, like the island of Grosse Ile (not to be confused with the one in Quebec, Canada).
Warnings & Dangers in Flat Rock
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Flat Rock has a low overall risk, with lower than average crime rates across the board, yet an exciting enough region to avoid getting bored.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Neither the Detroit public transportation system nor the suburban bus system makes it as far as Flat Rock, so you'll be reliant on taxis or rideshares unless you have a rental car (which is strongly suggested).
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, with no pickpockets or purse snatching reported in 2021 and fewer than three reported in each year going back to 2017. You shouldn't be lackadaisical with your stuff, but you can rest easy that it's not an imminent risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
A mixed bag of dangerous weather potential comes in all seasons. Winters are cold and blustery, with blizzards and ice storms being fairly common. Spring fires up severe thunderstorms and tornado potential. Flooding is also a risk during heavy rain events, going so far as to block off interstates around Flat Rock. Wayne County Emergency Management's website offers full details of risks and safety precautions.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Just two robberies were reported in 2021, with a total take of $2. This is another low-risk, but it's also particular to Flat Rock. Other Downriver communities might not be as safe. It's smart to use safety precautions for a worst-case scenario, not just where you're visiting.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
The risk in Flat Rock is low, and the only potential target would be the dam. However, the dam is also nearly a century old, posing its wear-and-tear risk. For the bigger picture of terrorism risks, read the latest bulletin from the National Terrorism Advisory System.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Even the social media pages for Flat Rock Police Department show very few scams over the past few years, but you can't be too careful. Don't ever give out personal information from someone who contacts you unexpectedly, even if they claim to be a police officer. When in doubt, hang up and provide as much information about the scam to the police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is another low-risk and a great place to seek some safe solitude. You'll need to be outdoorsy and know wilderness and water safety, but as long you top that with common sense, there's nothing to worry about here.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Reports show no violations and full compliance with all state and federal standards. There was a major issue in 2021 when Ford accidentally released a dangerous chemical into the Flat Rock water system, prompting evacuations. That issue has been cleared, but we have much to discuss about outdoor bodies of water and chemical dangers still to come.
Safest Places to Visit in Flat Rock
History, hometown feel, and the Huron River sum up the things to do in this more rural part of Downriver.
Flat Rock Historical Society’s website is a helpful resource, and you can look at the Flat Rock section on the Pure Michigan and Visit Detroit website, though they aren’t very robust.
Flat Rock Recreation and Flat Rock Riverfest are two other helpful sites.
I found the Downtown Flat Rock website to be one of the most helpful.
A historical building collection preserved by the Historical Society sits on “Memory Lane” at Civic Center Park.
This site has four buildings, a museum, and a veterans memorial.
Events from ghost tours to “Diggin’ Up History” cemetery tours are hosted throughout the year.
Don’t get your hopes up for the downtown area, as it’s not one of those cobblestone streets and door-to-door business Main Streets, but it does have the quaint charm with locally owned businesses offering authentic food and items.
Don’t miss the Blue Heron Trading Company, one of the top spots for a cup of coffee and a souvenir or special gift for a loved one.
Stop by the Flat Rock Train Depot Museum on your way to our first park on the list.
This small but mighty museum takes you through the history of the railroad brought to Flat Rock by Henry Ford himself.
Model train sets circle the museum, and you can also get a look at the headlights that shined the way for Flat Rock to become a city.
Walk over the Flat Rock Dam from Downtown using the pedestrian bridge to visit Huroc Park.
This island park is surrounded by the river and offers a walking trail, playground, and nature viewing.
Oh, fishing is very popular too.
Do you want to know how popular?
I was using Google Maps Street View to see different corners of the park, and one 360° view shows part of the park is flooded, and a man wearing waders is standing in the floodwaters fishing.
You can’t (nor should you want to) swim at the park, and alcohol is banned.
You might be overwhelmed with the other outdoor options near Flat Rock.
The Detroit area has Metroparks scattered throughout the region, and there are (at least) four near Flat Rock.
- Oakwoods Metropark (5 miles): Huron River
- Lake Erie Metropark (6 miles): Lake Erie
- Willow Metropark (8 miles): Huron River
- Lower Huron Metropark (11 miles): Huron River
You can’t go wrong with any park, but each one has its own amenities.
Some are more wilderness-based, while another offers a nature center.
One has a golf course, while another has a waterpark.
Metroparks.com is the place to review all your options.
Flat Rock holds an annual Riverfest in September when the weather is nice.
This family-friendly event has live bands, inflatables, and fireworks.
FlatRockRiverfest.com has all the details for next year’s event.
Head south of the parks to visit the Flat Rock Speedway, with regular races scheduled from spring through fall.
Car festivals and flea markets are also held throughout the year.
Places to Avoid in Flat Rock
You don’t have to worry about dangerous neighborhoods in Flat Rock, but we advise always staying on main roads and interstates just for the utmost safety.
The Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant is in the industrial part of the city and, as of this publication, is not open for tours.
Don’t try to get in because you won’t be allowed.
Call to check closer to your visit to see if tours have resumed.
You can see a lot of history and innovation surrounding the Ford brand in Dearborn, which is 30 minutes north.
Before you even think of touching the water of Lake Erie or the Huron River, visit the Michigan Department of Health’s website.
The waters here are known for being polluted and often see advisories or warnings about the bacteria, chemicals, or PFAS (the “forever chemical”) in them.
Everything from NO CONTACT warnings to DO NOT EAT fish advisories are regularly issued, and you should know the risks before you go.
Before you even think of heading to Lake St. Clair near East Detroit, it has similar issues.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Flat Rock
- Flat Rock does have its own police department, but its website isn’t very robust. It does list all the officers by email and phone number if you want to reach out and ask specific questions. The Facebook Page “Flat Rock Police Dept.” is also regularly updated.
- The counties across Detroit use Crime Stoppers for anonymous crime tips. Download the P3 Mobile App to be directly connected and get all the great resources like the “Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem” podcast or personal safety tips.
- Use the Wayne County Emergency Management page to sign up for emergency alerts, as those will cover the entire county and not just the small town of Flat Rock. You can’t risk being caught outdoors in a storm, and you certainly need to know if flood levels are rising or if tornadoes are possible.
- You can also sign up for Nixle alerts to get information in Flat Rock. Whether it’s a water main break or a snow emergency, this RSS feed offers real-time information as incidents happen. You’ll get information at the same time the local news outlets do.
- It will take four inches of snowfall throughout Detroit and in Flat Rock before any bats an eye. The four-inch mark triggers snow emergencies (aka street parking bans) and snow plow activity. Don’t park on public or residential streets when the plows are out. You could get towed or broadsided by a snow plow.
- Review the fishing license requirements and seasons through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Everyone over 15 must have a license issued by the state and carry it with them at all times. License for hunting animals in the air or on the ground can have some very strict requirements. You can download the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app to get all the information in the palm of your hand.
- Flat Rock is 13 miles south of the Detroit airport, but you won’t have overwhelming airport noise here. I check the noise abatement map, and the closest city impacted is Huron (5 miles northwest of Flat Rock).
- If you plan to boat on the Detroit River (east side of the region), know that the water contains an international boundary to Canada. Stick close to the shore. You can use a boat or kayak on the waters, even if you cross the invisible boundary, but if you drop anchor, you could get a visit from Border Patrol.
- The city of Flat Rock Facebook page is filled with good information for visitors, @flatrockmi. Details cover local events, road emergencies, and weather inconveniences. It also shares many posts from other organizations in the community, giving you more follow options.
- Use the Mi Drive website to check traffic delays and construction zones before you get on the road. The site covers every road in the state with interactive mapping and custom routes with alerts for those with an account.
So... How Safe Is Flat Rock Really?
The Ford factory might be the only way you realize that you’re near Detroit when you visit Flat Rock.
It’s a small town with wilderness or rural areas on all sides.
Usually, small-town crime rates appear overly inflated since the math required to get to “crimes per 100,000 people” can be easily skewed in one direction or another.
Flat Rock breaks that mold by having lower-than-average crime rates and detailed information about the crimes that happen.
No strangers were victims of violent crime in 2021.
The city has seen just three homicides since 2011.
Car break-in rates make up 35% of the thefts, but the raw number is 38 car break-ins or accessory thefts.
The Ford plant has been a victim of more stolen cars or trucks than the city.
You might see some panhandlers in Flat Rock; unless they are aggressive, police can’t do anything about it.
Panhandling bans have been ruled unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court ruled that it’s an expression of free speech, protected under the first amendment.
That doesn’t mean you have to tolerate offensive or scary behavior.
You also should not feel obligated to give them money.
Helping a local shelter will be money better spent.
If you love the outdoors, Flat Rock is the place for you.
If you want to have more suburban amenities, consider Southgate or Taylor.
Even Dearborn is considered Downriver, but then you get a whole new batch of safety concerns.
How Does Flat Rock Compare?
|New York City
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)
A passport and visa are required to cross the border or fly into America. You can review the rules on the U.S. State Department website and then look at the Customs and Border Patrol website for specifics about the Michigan/Canada border.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here, and you should bring some cash if you'll be spending most of your time in Flat Rock. Some businesses are cash-only. Exchange currency before you arrive for the best rates or take care of it at the airport when you arrive. Flat Rock won't be a good option for finding a currency exchange bank or business.
Pack hunter orange and camouflage, depending on what you plan to do outdoors here, and don't forget winter accessories and waterproof boots. The exceptionally cold winters don't stop people from going outside. You'll also want bug spray and long-sleeved clothing to avoid mosquitos, ticks, and poisonous plants. This is a humid location, so you'll sweat a lot. Don't forget to keep hydrated, and bring an insulated bottle to keep your water cold.
You can get to the Wayne County Metropolitan Airport, the major Detroit airport, in 20 minutes by car. You won't have to worry about traffic since it's due north of rural Flat Rock.
Travel insurance for your flight and outdoor adventures is recommended. You'll need some kind of supplemental health insurance in case of an injury, frostbite, or allergic reaction. Weather delays can cause backlogs of delayed or canceled flights.
Flat Rock Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
|Temperature / Month
Michigan - Safety by City
|Sault Ste. Marie