7 Most Dangerous Cities in Michigan

By Ben Hartwig
25 October, 2019

Michigan is one of the largest and most populated states in America.

Located in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the U.S., Michigan is the 11th most extensive state by area and the 10th most populous state. Made up of two peninsulas and surrounded by the great lakes, there’s plenty to discover and experience in the Wolverine State.

From charming Mackinac Island to the beautiful wineries in Grand Traverse County, Michigan has it all. Plus, you’re never more than six miles away from a natural water source! If you’re visiting for the first time, that’s awesome, because there’s something for everyone in the Great Lakes State.

However, it’s best to avoid some parts of the Mitten State because of higher than average crime rates. If you end up in one of the towns mentioned below, always be on your guard, especially if you meet someone. Perform Michigan arrest records search if you’re unsure of a person and wish to get more background information. Remember, it always pays to stay safe.

Michigan’s Most Dangerous Cities

These Michigan cities always seem to be making the news, but all for the wrong reasons. Here’s a list of the seven most dangerous cities in the state:

  1. Highland Park
  2. Flint
  3. Detroit
  4. Muskegon Heights
  5. Benton Harbor
  6. Ecorse
  7. Kalamazoo

These cities made the list due to several metrics, including violent crime and property crime in the towns with populations of 5,000 or more. Other factors include median household income, poverty rate, unemployment, and public transportation. Past drug abuse and hospitalization rates were also factored in.

Observations. The crime level in some of these neighborhoods is off the charts. Instances of carjacking, robberies, and shootings occur even in broad daylight. Even driving through some of the cities on this list is not advisable, and walking alone at night is asking for trouble. It’s not all gloom and doom, though, and like any other place, there are pockets of goodness that might spread if given enough time.

Highland Park

  • Total Population: 10,955
  • Poverty Rate: 49%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 1,701
  • Median Home Value: $33,500

Highland Park, Michigan, ranked number five in the 50 Worst Cities to Live in the U.S. for a reason: it’s the poorest city in America. The median household income is only $15,699, $42,000 lower than the national average. It’s the only town in the U.S. where most households earn less than $20,000 a year. In 2017, residents of Highland Park had a 1 in 57 chance of getting involved in a violent attack.


  • Total Population: 97,810
  • Poverty Rate: 41.2%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 1,945
  • Median Home Value: $28,200

Flint, Michigan, is not only one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S., but also one of the poorest. 41% of the Flint population lives below the poverty line, and half of all households earn less than $26,330 a year. In 2017, 1 out of 114 residents reported being victims of an attack, and Flint’s violent crime rate was higher than 90% of all cities in the U.S.



  • Total Population: 679,865
  • Poverty Rate: 37.9%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 2,057
  • Median Home Value: $42,800

Detroit is a massive city of more than 700,000 residents and the largest one on this list. Though the city is still the automotive heart of America, unemployment remains high at 10.6%, more than double the national average of 4.1%. Despite being a modern city in every sense, Detroit is still a dangerous one. In 2017 alone, there were more than 13,478 attacks, rapes, and murders reported in the city.

Muskegon Heights

  • Total Population: 10,743
  • Poverty Rate: 39.3%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 1,808
  • Median Home Value: $42,900

The average household in Muskegon Heights earns about $25,411 a year, less than half the national median. In 2017, there were over 240 violent crimes, with 1 in 44 residents falling victim to assault. The alarming part is that the crime rate has been increasing since 2016.

Benton Harbor

  • Total Population: 9,944
  • Poverty Rate: 48%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 2,202
  • Median Home Value: $56,200

In 2017, there were 213 violent crimes in Benton Harbor. To put that in perspective: there were 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people nationwide in the same year. Residents here have a 1 in 46 chance of getting attacked, raped, and killed. Despite the city’s size, Benton Harbor has over 2,200 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.


  • Total Population: 9,321
  • Poverty Rate: 36.8%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 1,533
  • Median Home Value: $37,900

Ecorse is one of the poorest cities in the entire country and made it to the list of worst places to live. The city has a higher than median poverty rate, and residents have almost no disposable income. Ecorse has one of the lowest concentrations of restaurants and bars in the U.S.


  • Total Population: 76,020
  • Poverty Rate: 31%
  • Violent Crimes per 100k People (2017): 1,325
  • Median Home Value: $99,300

Residents of Kalamazoo have a 1 in 75 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, making the city one of the most dangerous in Michigan. The medium income sits at $37,438, way below the national average.

Is it Michigan’s Fault?

The state is home to over 10 million people, and the burden of having too many residents is a serious matter. There must be a reason why certain cities in Michigan always make it to the “Most Dangerous Cities in America” list. What are the mitigating circumstances for such a high crime rate?

It could be that some areas lack the infrastructure and government oversight needed for the growth of the community. Other factors could be gang violence, drugs, low wages, and not enough jobs to go around. Could it be the freezing temperatures during winter?

Whatever the case, these places are super dangerous. Until there are radical, statewide changes in place, please avoid going to these cities while you’re in Michigan.

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