Michigan would like to think that the only things dangerous in their state is the Detroit lions’ defensive line and driving over the Mackinac Bridge during a snowstorm; but sadly, that’s not the case.
There is danger lurking in every corner of the mitten in our top ten most dangerous cities in Michigan for 2020 list. Let’s be real, we’re not talking about driving 5 mph over the speed limit kind of danger. The type of danger we’re talking about will gets people on the news. How does one navigate these dangerous cities when trying to make an informed decision on what city you should call home? We can answer that.
To compile our list, we looked at violent crimes and property crimes in cities with a population of 5,000. Folks, the cities that made our list have robberies happening in broad daylight, car jackings, and daily shootings. There are neighborhoods in these cities that you shouldn’t drive thru, ever, and there are areas that you definitely shouldn’t be in after dark. We’re not saying that there aren’t little pockets of goodness in these cities. The neighborhoods and shopping centers in these Michigan cities are not ALL bad. We do recommend that you spend some time studying them before you make a move. And If do you choose one of these cities, you’re going to have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
It’s not entirely Michigan’s fault. They are the sixth largest state in terms of population. As with most situations, there’s bound to be problems with that many people. To see where these Michigan cities with more issues than a newspaper are located, take a look below at our most dangerous cities in The Great Lakes State for 2020.
What are the circumstances that make these Michigan cities this way? Maybe not enough jobs, low wages, drugs, gangs, close to larger cities that push their problems onto surrounding cities; and in Michigan’s case, freezing temperatures and boatloads of snow?
We’re not entirely sure. But one thing we are sure about is our number one most dangerous city in Michigan is Muskegon Heights.
The Michigan cities on our most dangerous list could definitely use some some TLC. If you’re looking to be that diamond in the ruff, or you’re just curious to see if your city made the list, take a look at our list below. And if you don’t see your city there, head to the bottom.
Learn more about the safest places in Michigan.
For more Michigan reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Michigan
- Best Counties To Live In Michigan
- Cheapest Places To Live In Michigan
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Michigan For 2020
It seems like most of the top cities on this list are all on the coast of Lake Michigan. Muskegon Heights, a smaller town with almost 10,720 residents, is, according to the FBI, a very dangerous place.
There were more than 240 violent crimes here in 2018, meaning that 1 in 44 residents was the victim of a serious attack. Crime seems to be ticking up here as well, as violent crimes have gone up 10% since 2017.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,606 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,958 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Benton Township:
Benton Township is the 7th most violent city, with residents facing a 1 in 62 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018.
Progress has been made in recent years, however, reflected by a 12% drop in violent crime, and an 11% drop in property crime between 2017-2018.
Benton Harbor is, statistically one of the most violent place to live in Michigan — clocking in at 3rd place. In 2018, there were 213 violent crimes there, meaning residents have a 1 in 46 chance of being raped, attacked or outright killed.
To put this into perspective, since the average person has 300 Facebook friends, if every single one of them lived in Benton Harbor, 6 of them would have faced death last year.
This isn’t the place to jump on and bash Detroit, though, if you were to do a poll of people, they’d most likely guess that Detroit would top this list. However, per capita, it does not. In fact, perhaps due to the population decrease of Detroit, the number of crimes has gone down since 2011.
Obviously, Detroit is a very dangerous place. In 2018, there were more than 13,478 residents attacked, murdered or raped.
The 5th most dangerous city in Michigan goes to Kalamazoo.
And much like a walk in a major city park, you need to watch for muggers and property theft as it ranks as having the highest rate of property theft in the Wolverine State. You had a 1 in 19.9 chance of being a victim of a property crime in 2018 in Kalamazoo.
It’s not totally clear why the property crime rate is so high. People live spread out, unemployment is relatively high — but not super high — and poverty isn’t as bad as in some other parts of the state.
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 8)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 815 (20th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,392 (1st most dangerous)
More on Lansing Township:
Located in Clinton County., Lansing Township is the 6th most dangerous city in Michigan.
With residents facing a 1 in 122 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018, Lansing Township it earns a spot on the most dangerous places in Michigan.
Jackson is a bit of an outlier here. It’s one of the only cities not on the Lake Michigan coast or a Detroit suburb to make the top 10 for most dangerous places to live.
Jackson, a half hour drive west of Ann Arbor, saw 366 of its residents report violent attacks in 2018.
Harper Woods, a Detroit suburb, has seen its crime increase overall for the last few years. According to the FBI, violent crimes have nearly doubled here, and residents have a 1 in 106 chance of being robbed.
Additionally, there were 128 attacks in a city of only 13,674 residents.
Another Detroit suburb, Highland Park is, overall, slightly more dangerous than surrounding communities. However, between 2017 and 2018, the number of crimes dropped. Hopefully, that trend continues into the near future.
A resident of Highland Park had a 1 in 57 chance of being involved in a violent attack in 2018.
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 875 (17th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,996 (12th most dangerous)
More on Flint Township:
Flint Township is slightly less dangerous than Flint, but it is still a very uncomfortable place to live if you cherish safety. While the number of robberies here has gone down lately, violent crimes have gone up. Statistically, 1 out of 114 people was attacked in 2018.
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Michigan
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Michigan for 2020?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered Michigan cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 220 cities in Michigan.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 220 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Michigan — Muskegon Heights. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Michigan.
Locking It All Up In Michigan
The latest FBI crime data shows that Muskegon Heights ranks as the most dangerous city in Michigan for 2020.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Muskegon Heights and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Michigan:
- Addison Township (Pop. 6,598)
- Oakland Township (Pop. 19,495)
- Lapeer Township (Pop. 5,036)
For more Michigan reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Michigan
- Best Places To Retire In Michigan
- Richest Cities In Michigan
- Safest Places In Michigan
- Worst Places To Live In Michigan
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Michigan?