Is Flint Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On January 27, 2023
Flint, United States
Safety Index:
47
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
100
* Rated 100 / 100 based on 2 user reviews.

Flint, also known as Vehicle City, is a Mid-Michigan city that has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Is Flint still a dangerous place, and is the Flint water unsafe to drink?

We’ll explore the truth, facts, and context of crime data and community challenges, with some safety advice for visitors along the way.

Flint was once a booming vehicle industry, having first earned the title Vehicle City for making horse-drawn carriages.

Then General Motors was founded here. For decades, the city thrived.

Once the auto industry moved to other domestic and international locations, a giant gap was left.

With no major industries came growing poverty rates and unemployment.

A city that was once home to nearly 200,000 is now home to 81,000.

Those who stayed behind faced a bankrupt city and a major water crisis that pumped lead and bacteria right through the tap water.

Even since 2010, the population has decreased by 20%.

Flint regularly makes the list of the most dangerous cities in Michigan and America.

More than 35% of the city lives in poverty, and the remainder averages an annual income of just a few thousand over poverty limits.

I’m currently binging the Netflix show Flint Town, which is 2018 docuseries about police officers in Flint.

It doesn’t paint a good picture, leaving you rooting for the city to rebound.

Flint and surrounding Genesee County offer some great parks, museums, and places to visit.

You just need to know where to look, and we’ll tell you!

Warnings & Dangers in Flint

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

There's a medium risk here, even with some encouraging news in the 2022 crime statistics. The city is still among the most dangerous in the state, but there is some light on the other side of the tunnel.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

MTA is the public bus system with local and regional routes, plus special routes during peak travel times. Taxis and rideshares are available throughout the city and county. Having a rental car is likely the safest option since you'll be able to control the routes and spend less money than relying on a cab.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

While it's not an overwhelming problem, you should treat this concern as a medium risk. In 2021, 13 pickpockets/purse snatchings were reported. In 2022, that number went up to 21. This is definitely not a town where you should carry a large designer bank or a wallet full of cash. Carry the bare minimum with you and keep your purse or wallet as hidden as possible.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Michigan is known for its intense winters, but it won't stop the locals from enjoying the community. It just might catch a warm-blooded tourist off guard. Snowstorms, blizzards, and ice storms can often happen; driving in snow is just part of life here. Spring can bring severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, plus there's a year-round risk of flooding. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office has an emergency management website with safety tips for each season.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM

The risk is medium, but I'll give credit where it's due here - the robbery rate went down 28% between 2021 and 2022 and down a whipping 450% since 2011! While there isn't an outbreak of strangers being robbed on the street, as just 25% of robberies are highway robberies, it's still something to be aware of in this rather violent community. Criminals will not hesitate to take something from you by force, so give them nothing to notice about you as you walk around.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

International terrorism isn't a concern, but the terrorists of drug dealers and gang members are the big problem. While Flint is the type of town where you shouldn't go looking for trouble, you could also get stuck in a business robbery or caught in the crossfire. If you use street smarts and common sense, your risk will be much lower. You likely won't be in the parts of town where the most crimes happen.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

The major scams reported here are against businesses, as scammers try to use fake or stolen credit cards. You should always be wary of anyone who is pressuring you to give personal information or sell you something. The sad truth is that you can't trust anyone.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM

Flint has been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities for women. 2022 crime data shows the sexual assault rate is 450% higher than the national average. Police say the sexual assaults have gotten more brutal. The city did get a grant to help process rape kits, which led to identifying a serial rapist and a sex trafficker. Women should be very cautious in Flint - treat it with a medium risk. Stay off the streets at night, and don't walk around alone day or night. Avoid house parties or meeting someone in a private place.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM

This feels like a trick question. Yes, Flint had a major water crisis in 2014, and there was a time the risk was "Don't Drink the Water." To make a very long (and scary) story short, the city says it has now met or exceeded state and federal standards for six years in a row. The report also shows that for six months in 2020, lead and copper tests weren't collected, which is concerning since lead was a main problem during the water crisis. However, the tests resumed for the second half of the year. I'd treat this city as a medium risk and review the Progress Report on Flint Water detailed on the city's website.

Safest Places to Visit in Flint

The tourism website for this region is titled “Explore Flint and Genesee,” meaning the city and the county amenities are included in one website.

You can download the visitor’s guide, explore sample itineraries, and review the Crim section if you’re coming for the annual Crim Festival of Races.

The Flint Downtown Development Authority also has a website detailing shops, restaurants, and events.

Downtown includes the University of Michigan – Flint and a walkway along the Flint River.

The Flint Farmer’s Market is open throughout the year, three days a week.

This indoor market also offers cooking demos, arts & crafts, and a rooftop terrace.

Museum, history, and art lovers need to head to the intersection of Crapo and Kearsley Streets.

Here you’ll find several attractions, including:

  • Sloan Museum of Discovery: Several galleries celebrate history, automobiles, science, and children’s imaginations.
  • Longway Planetarium: Shows include exploring Michigan’s night sky, a 4k show set to Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), and Secrets of the Universe in IMAX.
  • Flint Institute of Arts: Exhibits, discussions, and demonstrations round out the things to do at this modern masterpiece.
  • Applewood Estate: This historic home was owned by the co-founder of General Motors and named after Charles Mott’s father – who owned the Mott’s apple juice and snack company.

The Stockton Center at Spring Grove is another historic property in Flint.

The Stockton family was influential in town and donated to many medical and educational facilities in town.

Tours are limited, but check the schedule on the website.

This is truly a treasure in the Flint community.

Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad transport you back to a simple time in the early 1900s.

Nearly three dozen historical buildings and interpretive guides bring this living museum to an immersive level of education and enjoyment.

The park also includes a steam-powered train engine ride and a paddlewheel riverboat.

Other Genesee County Parks include beaches, sledding hills, fishing docks, woods, wetlands, and unique waterfalls:

  • Stepping Stone Falls: Concrete steps create a waterfall where Mott Lake meets the Flint River.
  • Buttercup Beach/Bluebell Beach
  • Hogbacks Area: “A line of hills with steep slopes on each side,” Hogbacks is also an off-leash dog park covering 2,000 acres.

Flint Children’s Museum is a wonderful family adventure to explore life through the eyes of a child.

Eight hands-on and interactive exhibits teach children about careers, nature, and art.

Birch Run Premium Outlets is 25 minutes north on the interstate.

Here you’ll find name-brand stores at discount prices with plenty of sit-down or drive-through restaurants.

Across the interstate is Wilderness Trails Zoo, which is open seasonally.

You’ll find lions and tigers and bears; oh my, there’s even a parakeet encounter.

Places to Avoid in Flint

If you look at a wide view of the city map, avoid anywhere north/west of the Flint River.

It’s not even a case that going further north or west will get you to a safe suburb.

From downtown to the I-75/I-475 interchange (12 miles), there’s a wide patch of impoverished communities where crime runs rampant.

Should you be turned around, you’ll be able to tell a potentially dangerous neighborhood by the blight.

The north side also has an issue of large parking lots in abandoned strip malls being gathering places for teenagers.

This also leads to more crime as fights often break out.

The police have started a summer initiative to focus on these hot spots, leading to dozens of arrests.

Avoid being an aggressive driver or prone to road rage in Flint.

A community Traffic Taming Task Force is trying to stop the excessive number of speeders going 2-3 times the speed limit in neighborhoods.

They claim the police aren’t holding speeders accountable.

However, when it comes to responding to a shooting – which already can take at least 30 minutes for the understaffed police force – or stopping a speeder, police have a higher priority call in the shooting.

Do your part to keep the streets safe and stick to the speed limit, obey traffic signs, and keep your mouth shut with your middle finger down if an aggressive driver passes you.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Flint

  1. Michigan has this very confusing habit of having a city name and then the same city name with the word “Township” after it. Such is the case for Flint, where Flint and Flint Township are right next to each other but have separate city leadership and law enforcement. All Flint government and public safety groups are under the “City of Flint” website or the Genesee County website.
  2. I’m giving credit to the Flint Police Department for transparency. First, it’s the right thing to do, but second, I’ve researched hundreds of cities. The most dangerous cities are least likely to have crime mapping or recent crime statistics posted on websites. Flint has both. You can see monthly and yearly comparison reports released each month. An interactive crime map also allows you to search for crimes in different areas.
  3. The Coplogic section of the police department’s website is where you can report a non-urgent crime. You would use this for a hit & run, car burglary, or harassment, just to name a few examples. If an accident happens on an interstate, you would call the state police.
  4. Follow the city of Flint and Flint Police on Facebook to get important safety updates. The handles are @cityofflintMI and @flintpolicedept.
  5. Sign up for Smart911 using the address of your hotel to get personalized crime and safety alerts during your visit. You can choose the types of alerts you want, but it’s critical to get weather warnings and shelter-in-place directives. Alerts can be made via text, email, or voice message.
  6. Illegal dumping is a big problem in Flint, and you can help by reporting anything you see. Don’t interact with people dumping. Let the police and city handle it. You can call 1-800-422-5245 to report blight or any other criminal activity you see that doesn’t require an urgent response.
  7. Winter visitors should review the most updated Snow & Ice plan. This will help you learn about parking restrictions during winter weather, what streets get plowed first, and what kind of chemicals are put on the road.
  8. Use Michigan’s Department of Transportation website Mi Drive to review your route before you go anywhere. You can see construction zones, real-time traffic, accident reports, and live cameras. If you create your own account, you can set preferred routes and request alerts when traffic is impacted.
  9. The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services offers an Eat Safe Fish guide for each region. Look for the Southeast Michigan Guide to see the contamination risks of eating fish and what the maximum allotments are from the different streams of water. If you plan to go fishing, get a license through the Department of Natural Resources.
  10. Don’t swim in the Flint River. Enough said. Ok, not enough. In addition to the normal contaminants that make it unsafe, there was a massive “unknown” spill of an “oily substance” in the summer of 2022 that required a “no contact with water” order.

So... How Safe Is Flint Really?

No matter how you look at it, Flint is not really safe.

Sure, there are safer parts of town and some really cool things to see and do, but you can’t ignore the violence here.

You can avoid it by following the safety guidance provided above.

What is truly inspirational is the community members, like the Traffic Taming Task Force, who say, “Enough is Enough” and take action.

What’s truly disappointing is that city leaders either can’t or won’t give the assets needed to support the community and fight crime.

“We know from current trends that if we have X amount of police officers, we can expect X amount of crime, and we’re not doing anything to sway those in great numbers,” Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer said in Spring 2022.

“So as a community, I think we can expect high murder rates for the given future until we can come up with a budget that escalates more enforcement, more boots on the ground, more investigators, the whole thing.”

The police department, understaffed and underpaid, must use strategic policing and community groups to help stop crime while preventing crime before it happens when possible.

“It’s important to understand that we have to be aggressive and intentional about the way that we fight crime here in the city of Flint,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

As a visitor, you should know that in 2021 67% of violent crimes happened in homes, and just 15% happened against strangers.

New data from 2022 shows the following comparison from 2021:

  • Homicide: Down 41%
  • Sexual Assault: Up 55%
  • Robbery: Down 28%
  • Larceny (Overall): Down 14%
  • Car Break-ins: Up 3%

Flint is less scary and sadder, especially when you know the dynamic city it once was.

Seeing blight, foundations of homes and businesses in ruins, and dead trees just makes you painfully aware of how bad planning and infrastructure can destroy a city.

Hope is on the horizon as General Motors announced in early 2023 it will bring manufacturing for the V-8 engine to Flint with a $579 million investment.

In addition, the former Buick City site is on track to re-open as an industrial space, potentially bringing up to 3,000 jobs to the city.

The mayor made it clear in his State of the City speech that everyone wants to move past the water crisis reputation and rebuild a city everyone can once again be proud of.

Still, a lot of trust-building and community support is needed to make that happen.

How Does Flint Compare?

CitySafety Index
Flint47
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66
Belize City (Belize)37
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

You'll need a passport that doesn't expire within six months and a visa to enter the country. A travel visa takes the longest, so start planning now. Review the State Department's 2023 update to find out how you can potentially expedite the process.

Currency

Currency

The U.S. Dollar is the only currency used here. Exchange currency before you arrive to pay the lowest fees. Don't carry cash on you or use public ATMs. Credit cards offer better fraud protection, even if they get stolen.

Weather

Weather

Dress warmly in winter and casually in the summer, as this region gets the best and worst of all four seasons. Spring and fall can have fluctuating temperatures day by day, so bring layers to have the best options. You'll want comfortable walking shoes and bug spray. Don't skimp on winter clothing.

Airports

Airports

Flint Bishop Airport is just seven miles from downtown. For those flying in or out of Detroit, plan for an hour on the road.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance just makes sense in an area so prone to severe winter weather. Even storms out West can have a ripple effect on Michigan airports. Check your rental car insurance to see if you should supplement it since the drivers are so aggressive here.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Flint Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -5° C
Feb -4° C
Mar 1° C
Apr 8° C
May 15° C
Jun 20° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 11° C
Nov 4° C
Dec -2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
-1161421262827231682
Low
°C
-9-9-518141615115-1-5
High
°F
303443577079828173614636
Low
°F
161623344657615952413023

Michigan - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Ann Arbor63
Battle Creek45
Dearborn77
Detroit56
Farmington Hills72
Flat Rock81
Flint47
Frankenmuth84
Glen Arbor76
Grand Rapids73
Houghton82
Ironwood83
Kalamazoo44
Lansing41
Livonia76
Mackinac Island83
Mackinaw City78
Macomb84
Marquette78
Muskegon72
Pontiac45
Port Huron73
Saginaw42
Sault Ste. Marie82
Sterling Heights78
Taylor68
Traverse City77
Troy78
Warren58

Where to Next?

2 Reviews on Flint

  1. R
    Rose Pacheco says:

    Resilient community

    I was initially apprehensive about traveling to Flint due to its reputation, but my experience was positive. I took basic precautions, and the community seemed resilient and welcoming. It’s crucial to stay informed and make informed decisions, but my trip turned out better than expected.

  2. R
    Rory Graves says:

    Safety concerns about Flint are valid, but during my trip, I found that the city is working hard to overcome its issues. While there are areas to avoid, I encountered no problems by sticking to well-traveled areas.

Flint Rated 5 / 5 based on 2 user reviews.

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