When most people think of Michigan, “safety” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind. Now, maybe this is because of the reputation that Detroit has garnered for itself over the years, or maybe people just aren’t informed on the facts. The truth is, in a recent analysis here at the Movoto Real Estate blog, Michigan wasn’t one of the most dangerous states—it came in at No. 33 of 50. That being said, there are certain places within its borders that are less safe than others. Here are the 10 most dangerous places in Michigan: 1. City of Flint
2. City of Benton Harbor
3. City of Detroit
4. City of Highland Park
5. City of Muskegon Heights
6. City of Harper Woods
7. City of Inkster
8. Township of Flint
9. City of Ypsilanti
10. City of Kalamazoo
To find out just how we came up with this list, keep reading. Then, we’ll go over what makes each of these 10 places more dangerous than the rest.

Our Methodology

In creating this list, just like our other Big Deal Lists, we began by gathering a list of all of the most populous places in Michigan. Once we had all of the places with 10,000 people or more, we went straight to the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report to look at each of them in terms of the following criteria:
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Vehicle theft
We divided these crimes into four categories:
  • Murders
  • Violent crimes
  • Property crimes
  • Total crimes
Once we eliminated any places on our list that didn’t report crime data that year, we were left with a grand total of 102 places to look at. From there, we calculated each place’s number of crimes per capita (per person) so that we could best compare cities and places of all sizes. We then ranked each place in each category from 1 to 102, where the lowest scores were the more dangerous places. Because of the differing severity of crimes, we weighted murders, violent crimes, and property crimes more heavily; they made up 30 percent of the overall score, while the total number of crimes made up 10 percent. Lastly, we averaged each place’s weighted scores into one Big Deal Score, where the lowest score was our most dangerous place. To see where your hometown ranked, you can head to the bottom of the list to see the top 50 most dangerous places in the state.
  • This ranking is not a critique of police practices or effectiveness. It is simply an analysis of where crimes occurred.

1. Flint

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Mike McManaman
Flint is dangerous, not because it had the highest total number of crimes, but because in 2012, it had a reported 63 murders and a total of 2,774 violent crimes in general. For the population of just over 101,000 people, this gave Flint the highest number of murders and violent crimes per person in the state. It also came in with the seventh highest number of property crimes per person, all adding up to just a 1 in 12 chance of being the victim of a crime.

2. Benton Harbor

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Kevin Dooley
Just because Benton Harbor didn’t have quite the high number of murders per person as Flint, didn’t mean that there weren’t a high number of violent crimes. In fact, Benton Harbor had the third most in the state. In 2012, Flint had a total of 864 property crimes. This may not sound like that many, but considering the population is just over 10,000 people, it made for the most property crimes—and ultimately, the most total crimes—per person in the state.

3. Detroit

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Frank Deandro
In 2012, Detroit had a total of 386 murders. With its population of just over 707,000 people, this made for the second most murders per person (just after Flint). It also had the fourth highest number of violent crimes in general and the sixth highest number of property crimes, all adding up to the fifth most total crimes per capita in the state.

4. Highland Park

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Wikimedia user Mikerussell
In 2012, Highland Park had a total of six murders. This may not sound like a lot, but considering its small population of just under 12,000 people, it really was. In fact, it was the fourth most murders per person in the state. It also had a high number of violent crimes and property crimes—the fifth and eighth most per person, respectively—making for the seventh most total crimes per person in the state.

5. Muskegon Heights

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Jack Amick
With just under 11,000 residents, Muskegon Heights may be one of the smaller cities on our list, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s safer. In fact, it is largely due to its small population that it is so dangerous. In 2012, it had a total of 892 crimes. This may not seem like a lot, compared to, say, Detroit’s 55,967, but considering the fact that its population is about 70 times smaller, that’s quite a lot. In fact, it was the fourth highest number of total crimes per person in the state. It also had the fourth highest number of property crimes, the sixth highest number of violent crimes, and the 10th highest number of murders per person.

6. Harper Woods

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user jpowers65
This Wayne County city ranked high on our list for its high numbers in most of our categories. In particular, with 1,206 crimes in 2012 and a relatively small population of just over 14,000 people, it had the second highest number of total crimes per person for the year. Most of these crimes were property crimes (it had the second most of these per capita as well), but it also had a high number of violent crimes (the 11th most) and the 17th most murders per capita in the state. Overall, with these high numbers, residents had a 1 in 12 chance of being the victim of a crime.

7. Inkster

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Stephen Boyle
In 2012, this city of just over 25,000 residents had a total of 10 murders, making it the fifth highest number of murders per person in the state. To put this into perspective for you, just take a look at Birmingham, Marquette, or really, most any other place of similar size where there were zero murders that year. Inkster also had the seventh highest number of violent crimes in general and the 17th highest number of property crimes per person, adding up to the 13th highest number of total crimes per person in Michigan.

8. Flint Township

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Google Maps
While the names are the same and the two communities are next to one another, Flint and Flint Township are administratively autonomous. Even so, Flint Township managed to make our list of most dangerous places in Michigan. In 2012, Flint Township had the third highest number of property crimes per person in the state. This, plus its ninth highest number of violent crimes, made for the sixth highest total number of crimes per person in the state. Residents had just a 1 in 13 chance of being the victim of a crime.

9. Ypsilanti

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Bird Eye
This little city may be charming, and yes, in places it’s downright adorable, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, out of the over 100 places we looked at, Ypsilanti had the eighth most murders per person. In the broader category of violent crimes, Ypsilanti had the 13th most per person, and for its property crimes, the 11th most. All told, it had the 10th most crimes per person for the year, giving residents just a 1 in 17 chance of being the victim of a crime.

10. Kalamazoo

Most Dangerous Places in Michigan
Source: Flickr user Dave Sizer
Last but certainly not least in danger (just see the table at the bottom of the post, there are plenty more), Kalamazoo made the cut for its high numbers in nearly every category. First of all, with nine murders and a population of 74,797 in 2012, Kalamazoo had the sixth most murders per person in the state. More broadly it had the 12th most violent crimes per person. It even had the thirteenth most property crimes per person, with a total of 3,120 that year, all adding up to give Kalamazoo the 15th most crimes per person in the state, and, of course, the coveted title of 10th most dangerous overall.

Staying Safe In The Great Lakes State

Overall, Michigan isn’t the most dangerous of states. It’s not particularly safe, but it’s no South Carolina either. (To see how all of the states ranked, you can check out this map.) The bad news is, within Michigan’s borders, there are places with high crime numbers like these cities. The best news of all, though, is that you don’t have to live in them. If you’re interested in relocating, just get in touch and we’ll help you find your new home. For Media Inquiries, Contact:
Randy Nelson
rnelson@movoto.com

Most Dangerous Places In Michigan