2016 Safest Places in Michigan

by Susan Gulliford

The ValuePenguin team analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in Michigan. Nicknamed the Great Lakes State, Michigan has many beautiful areas. There is wide variation in the safety of its communities. These 193 communities with populations of 5,000-plus had final crime scores that ranged from 97 to 7,453. The final crime score takes into account violent crime and property crime and adjusts it for population size. Small, middle-income communities dominate the top five safest cities.

5 Safest Places in Michigan

These cities have an average final crime score of 136, which is a whopping 90% lower than their typical peer in the state. These five are the safest places in the state.

1. Gaines Township

This rural township of 6,268 people reported zero violent crimes of any kind in 2014. The median income of this township is $65,389 ($20,000 a year above the state median income), and 95% of its residents are homeowners. It is located in Genesee County and Flint, Mich., is approximately 15 minutes away. Housing costs are modest; the median for both expenses mortgage and rent are below the median for the U.S.

2. Raisin Township

Another small community (population 7,547), Raisin Township has a median household income of $68,350. This community also has a high homeownership rate, 94%, and the median home value is a modest $142,700. Raisin Township has a higher percentage of high school graduates than the national average but a lower percentage of college graduates than the national average. In addition to a low amount of violent crime, Raisin Township had the second lowest rate of property crime in Michigan when adjusted for population.

3. Kinross Township

This community had the lowest rate of property crime in the state of Michigan. Kinross is a diverse community. Per the census, it is 53% white, 31% African American, and over 11% Native American. It is also a modest community with a median household income ($40,856) below the state. It is in Chippewa County; residents enjoy the nearby Harbor Island National Wildlife Refuge and Hiawatha National Forest.

4. Thetford Township

This small community is the second entrant from Genesee County. Thetford Township not only had a low rate of violent crime, it had the third lowest rate of property crime. Another modest community, the median household income is $49,194 and per capita income is over $24,000. Consequently, housing costs are low; the median monthly owner costs for households with a mortgage is only $1,149. Residents drive approximately 19 minutes to get to Flint, Mich. (the county seat).

5. Lapeer Township

This community is the smallest one in the top five (population 5,076). It reported zero violent crimes of any type in 2014. Lapeer Township is a middle-class community in southeast Michigan with a median household income of $60,542 and a median home value of $152,000. Residents travel 32 minutes on average (mean) to get to work.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:

Safest Places in Michigan 2016

Full List of Places in Michigan

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Michigan” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Safest Places in Michigan

Year-over-year Change

The top five showed consistency from 2015 to 2016. Three communities, Raisin, Thetford, and Lapeer Townships, made the top 5 both years. In 2015 and 2016, all of the safest communities had populations of 5,000-10,000.

At ValuePenguin, we used a slightly different methodology for 2016. The categories were small (5,000-10,000, 10,001-20,000, and 20,000+. Hamburg Township, which was the second safest mid-size city in 2015, was the safest large city in 2016. Despite changes in definition, Grosse Isle Township, was the safest mid-sized community both year.

Townships also dominated the list of the safest large communities; eight out of ten municipalities were townships. The safest large community, Hamburg Township, was 12th in the ValuePenguin ranking. Eight of the ten safest large communities in 2016 were in the top ten for their respective categories in 2015.

Michigan's Safest Places

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.

In this particular study, Grand Rapids was removed from the list because the FBI determined that the agency’s data were underreported.

We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.

Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KFinal Crime Score

171

Albion8,5168343,1242,538

122

Allegan5,0594741,6801,325

111

Allen Park27,5491892,0151,230

87

Alma9,2602381,501972

124

Alpena10,2532632,3021,346

116

Ann Arbor117,7681651,8681,281

148

Auburn Hills21,8592523,1021,783

182

Battle Creek61,2257843,8383,339

166

Bay City34,3075312,9242,288

142

Belding5,7762603,4111,674

192

Benton Harbor10,0142,5265,3826,196

21

Berkley15,32346894451

16

Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township9,138142449403

13

Beverly Hills10,49319820360

32

Birmingham20,606581,000532

140

Blackman Township38,0251662,9271,644

19

Bloomfield Township42,11240784437

135

Bridgeport Township10,2475071,6791,487

73

Brighton7,615661,904841

61

Brownstown Township30,5771441,112757

180

Buena Vista Township8,3481,1982,7672,964

176

Burton28,9964664,2072,709

164

Cadillac10,2615653,3042,232

9

Cambridge Township5,68788352264

89

Canton Township89,0731321,4901,000

66

Carrollton Township5,9272361,147789

146

Center Line8,3183972,9091,763

121

Charlotte9,0462102,5091,325

34

Chelsea5,146194661534

117

Chesterfield Township44,2112421,8031,287

10

Chocolay Township6,001-717271

15

Clawson12,10358719388

76

Clay Township8,8951691,518866

33

Clayton Township7,253110938532

141

Clinton Township98,8972992,1171,656

110

Coldwater10,8262591,9861,219

106

Coloma Township6,4293421,7111,173

38

Columbia Township7,450215591561

50

Davison5,0081201,258643

100

Davison Township19,0572471,4901,060

168

Dearborn95,3963553,2862,344

144

Dearborn Heights56,3663742,1431,730

41

Denton Township5,404931,166573

193

Detroit684,6941,9894,8177,453

35

East Grand Rapids11,306271,212534

108

East Lansing48,5552781,4381,195

178

Eastpointe32,6748143,1372,886

177

Emmett Township11,6424984,9052,805

28

Farmington10,60385915505

67

Farmington Hills81,6821161,196816

93

Fenton11,5331391,9341,011

137

Ferndale20,3462512,7031,597

98

Flat Rock9,8192241,6801,029

190

Flint99,1661,7083,9245,374

31

Flushing8,158861,005527

17

Flushing Township10,324165368412

97

Forsyth Township6,2383211,4271,028

123

Fraser14,6322192,3241,332

1

Gaines Township6,268-25597

92

Garden City27,0352151,4091,005

143

Genesee Township20,6655081,9111,702

75

Grand Blanc8,0541991,415863

95

Grand Blanc Township36,6131611,5811,016

99

Grand Haven11,0201451,9691,031

8

Grand Ledge7,77939424225

160

Grandville15,8301834,3342,128

40

Green Oak Township18,151831,008570

149

Greenville8,4493313,3611,840

6

Grosse Ile Township10,15010404178

77

Grosse Pointe5,293941,965872

44

Grosse Pointe Farms9,273651,251599

109

Grosse Pointe Park11,2811152,5181,207

59

Grosse Pointe Woods15,8071391,208741

12

Hamburg Township21,67646447274

78

Hampton Township9,5351051,793881

181

Hamtramck22,0361,0303,0133,098

189

Harper Woods13,8971,1086,4404,505

80

Hastings7,2962191,467905

139

Hazel Park16,6684082,2081,621

96

Hillsdale8,1882321,6851,023

159

Holland33,5884262,9922,125

90

Holly6,2182731,5441,001

42

Houghton7,632661,258590

88

Howell9,5772511,483989

43

Huntington Woods6,385941,190596

60

Huron Township15,6371601,145748

183

Inkster24,7451,2293,0923,517

105

Ionia11,4332971,6091,136

79

Ironwood5,1341561,811903

47

Ishpeming6,547611,375618

184

Jackson33,4048954,2753,554

187

Kalamazoo75,8571,1653,8244,141

113

Kalamazoo Township24,3042841,7731,276

156

Kentwood50,6173582,9022,038

3

Kinross Township7,75652155140

186

Lansing113,9011,1173,1403,846

163

Lapeer8,7994323,7852,174

5

Lapeer Township5,076-473175

172

Lincoln Park37,1295873,2542,560

36

Lincoln Township14,510621,075551

107

Livonia94,8331271,8691,182

133

Ludington8,0304112,1051,464

132

Madison Heights30,3582272,3221,448

53

Madison Township8,558581,519689

101

Manistee6,0932131,9531,062

65

Marquette21,5241351,231767

81

Marshall7,0282561,366920

62

Marysville9,7901231,410758

48

Mason8,271851,257625

158

Melvindale10,4286902,5032,115

138

Menominee8,4733192,8441,618

128

Meridian Township41,1331992,2511,407

68

Midland42,2561181,292817

104

Milan5,9172032,1971,135

11

Milford16,47024553274

82

Montrose Township7,6382231,479920

173

Mount Morris Township20,8205623,8422,630

112

Mount Pleasant26,2272401,8721,252

102

Mundy Township14,7231362,1061,104

185

Muskegon36,9648254,7723,687

191

Muskegon Heights10,8261,7927,5195,925

169

Muskegon Township17,7673384,4352,459

25

Napoleon Township6,782133752491

18

New Baltimore12,24457825431

157

Niles11,3895622,9152,094

71

Northfield Township8,4902711,048838

24

Northville6,015501,097490

55

Northville Township28,801801,233692

136

Norton Shores24,0051752,8791,567

74

Novi58,654801,454846

130

Oak Park29,9713341,8481,425

131

Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg6,5195371,6261,439

129

Oscoda Township6,8582922,5371,421

154

Owosso14,6855722,5942,034

27

Petoskey5,779104917501

119

Pittsfield Township36,7222261,9771,315

22

Plymouth8,912101785470

45

Plymouth Township26,973741,094616

174

Port Huron29,1457622,8922,652

147

Portage47,8191613,1311,766

2

Raisin Township7,54727159103

37

Richfield Township, Genesee County8,429131902559

85

Richmond5,8283091,270943

161

River Rouge7,6257612,4522,133

64

Riverview12,205981,483767

23

Rochester13,05792819489

49

Rockford6,0161161,230641

153

Romulus23,4155642,3322,004

175

Roseville47,6184473,9102,666

57

Royal Oak59,3771261,000719

188

Saginaw50,0301,6892,4174,310

120

Saginaw Township40,2281762,1581,319

51

Saline9,1461421,061645

134

Sault Ste. Marie14,0843342,2441,485

58

Shelby Township76,556124993727

14

South Lyon11,69894547376

155

Southfield73,3213142,9322,037

152

Southgate29,3653063,0891,928

7

Spring Arbor Township8,26736339190

63

St. Clair5,4012041,222760

86

St. Clair Shores60,1571851,270960

29

St. Johns7,983501,127518

125

St. Joseph8,2471702,8011,363

94

St. Joseph Township9,9191711,8551,015

54

St. Louis7,3951891,028691

103

Sterling Heights131,6041691,5391,134

151

Sturgis10,9134492,9231,906

46

Sumpter Township9,3321071,125617

69

Swartz Creek5,6071611,552822

170

Taylor61,5275572,9212,467

39

Tecumseh8,4071071,023570

4

Thetford Township6,78844250164

56

Thomas Township11,7181111,314715

167

Three Rivers7,7434784,0422,315

20

Tittabawassee Township9,83592763451

114

Traverse City15,1053051,8401,278

70

Trenton18,4042011,141830

83

Troy83,279601,632921

126

Van Buren Township28,2692582,0691,381

115

Walker24,4431272,4101,280

26

Walled Lake7,15898894495

165

Warren135,0804752,5372,275

72

Waterford Township73,3081151,269840

162

Wayne17,0677032,2682,150

30

West Bloomfield Township66,22276776520

150

Westland82,2463612,3171,849

52

White Lake Township30,940651,212660

91

Wixom13,8041161,9631,005

84

Woodhaven12,5831031,883942

118

Wyandotte25,0821712,2811,305

145

Wyoming74,6033872,0351,747

179

Ypsilanti19,9018243,4372,895

127

Zeeland5,6303202,4161,386

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