Detroit, MI is infamous for its less-than-favorable crime statistics. But how does the rest of Michigan compare? There are plenty of safe towns in Michigan that often go overlooked when discussing the state. Our team analyzed the most updated FBI crime statistics to get an idea of the relative safety of nearly 200 cities and towns in Michigan. According to our methodology, Detroit, Benton Harbor, and Flint had the highest incidences of violent crime. Crime scores ranged from the safest at 26 to a whopping 7,156. These scores do not reflect actual crime rates, but they are a handy way to attempt to compare towns to one another. Check out our findings below:
With the exception of Lapeer Township, all of our top five towns are located in southern or southeastern Michigan. They all have relatively small populations. Their scores range by around 100 points, with our top ranking town scoring 26 and our fifth place scoring 128. On average, their scores were 91% better than the average town in Michigan.
1. Raisin Township, MI
Raisin Township takes the top spot on our list with an adjusted crime score of 26. The precinct reported 0 violent crimes in 2013, and very few property crimes relative to its population. The town is located in southern Michigan, in Lenawee County. Property values in Raisin Township exceed the state average by around 18% and people earn around $10,000 more here than the average Michigan citizen.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 26
- Population: 7,468
2. Cambridge Township, MI
The town takes second place with an average score that is three and a half times our top town, due in part to its slightly higher rate of violent crime. Cambridge Township is located in Lenawee County, in the southern portion of the state. It has about double the property crime Raisin Township has, and a slightly smaller population, which widens the gap between the two towns’ crime scores.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 89
- Population: 5,663
3. Chocolay Township, MI
Chocolay Township is located on the banks of Lake Superior, in Marquette County in northern Michigan. The small town had no reported violent crime in 2013 and a relatively small amount of property crime. The town is generally regarded as a nice place to live, with the median income exceeding the state average.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 122
- Population: 6,029
4. Lapeer Township, MI
Our fourth city is located in the thumb of the mitten, in Lapeer County. The town has an adjusted crime score of 128.3, beating the state average adjusted crime score by around 89%. The city had one instance of violent crime and very little property crime.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 128.3
- Population: 5,052
5. Thetford Township, MI
Thetford Township takes the last spot on our list, with an adjusted crime score of 128.4. The median resident of Thetford makes almost double the median Michigan resident. Thetford is located in Genesee County, which is located in eastern Michigan. The town had very little property crime relative to its population, but a slightly higher incidence of violent crime – three reported in 2013 – hurt its adjusted crime score.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 128.4
- Population: 6,872
Population dynamics affect crime rates. In order to compare apples to apples, we broke out three separate population categories (small under 10,000, midsized between 10 and 25,000, and large greater than 25,000) to determine which are the safest in each category.
Featured Large City (over 25,000) - Bloomfield Township
Bloomfield ranks as our safest large town in Michigan with an adjusted crime score of 355, 87% more favorable than the average city in Michigan. The median income is significantly higher than the state average. Located in eastern Michigan, the town is home to the Detroit Skating Club, where many world-class figure skaters train.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 355
- Population: 41,791
Featured Midsized City (10,000-25,000) - Grosse Ile Township
Money magazine included the township as one of the “Top 100 Best Place to Live” in 2009. It is also the safest mid-sized city in Michigan according to our methodology. The township, located in Wayne County in southeastern Michigan, is home to Grosse Ile Land & Nature Conservancy.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 157.2
- Population: 10,194
Featured Small City (under 10,000) - Kinross Township
Kinross Township is located across Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, in Chippewa County. According to our calculations, it ranks as the 6th safest small city, behind Raisin, Cambridge, Chocolay, Lapeer, and Thetford Townships. The township scores 134, with three reported violent crimes and 27 property crimes in 2013.
- Adjusted Crime Score: 134
- Population: 7,821
Below is a map looking at the almost 200 places we analyzed in this year’s study of Michigan and how they performed when it came to safety in the community. You can easily zoom in to see more detail by just double clicking the map!
Here is a comprehensive chart showing how each city’s crime score ranks relative to the others. If you're interested in how we came up with the 'Crime Score' for each area you can always reference our methodology.
We collected data from the 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. We excluded towns with populations less than 5,000 because towns with smaller populations than that are much more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) from all law enforcement agencies that participate in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.
We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100k, to account for population. We then aggregated a "crime score". In order to calculate this, we weighted violent crime at 90% and property crime at 10%; though property crime is far more prevalent, we figured that the violent crime data points are more relevant when calculating the relative safety of these cities. To account for the fact that smaller cities with very slight upticks in crime are penalized more severely, we then applied a logarithm to the population and multiplied it by that number to arrive at our "crime score". We then ranked the cities relative to each other based on their crime scores.
|Rank||City||Population||Violent Crime per 100k||Property Crime per 100k||Adjusted Crime Score|
|29||Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township||9,170||142||709||393|
|172||Buena Vista Township||8,500||1,165||3,118||2,672|
|16||East Grand Rapids||11,100||27||1,243||301|
|84||Grand Blanc Township||36,793||171||1,655||730|
|54||Green Oak Township||17,977||122||1,285||508|
|8||Grosse Ile Township||10,194||39||432||157|
|20||Grosse Pointe Farms||9,271||76||960||325|
|87||Grosse Pointe Park||11,287||159||2,206||738|
|55||Grosse Pointe Woods||15,760||121||1,396||521|
|167||Mount Morris Township||20,990||710||4,269||2,303|
|35||Richfield Township, Genesee County||8,523||117||1,103||424|
|122||Sault Ste. Marie||14,203||253||2,795||1,054|
|7||Spring Arbor Township||8,276||12||689||156|
|75||St. Joseph Township||9,953||191||1,437||631|
|116||Van Buren Township||28,282||223||2,348||969|
|31||West Bloomfield Township||65,840||65||1,071||400|
|42||White Lake Township||30,585||72||1,419||463|