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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:

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.

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 City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Final Crime Score
171 Albion 8,516  834  3,124  2,538
122 Allegan 5,059  474  1,680  1,325
111 Allen Park 27,549  189  2,015  1,230
87 Alma 9,260  238  1,501  972
124 Alpena 10,253  263  2,302  1,346
116 Ann Arbor 117,768  165  1,868  1,281
148 Auburn Hills 21,859  252  3,102  1,783
182 Battle Creek 61,225  784  3,838  3,339
166 Bay City 34,307  531  2,924  2,288
142 Belding 5,776  260  3,411  1,674
192 Benton Harbor 10,014  2,526  5,382  6,196
21 Berkley 15,323  46  894  451
16 Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township 9,138  142  449  403
13 Beverly Hills 10,493  19  820  360
32 Birmingham 20,606  58  1,000  532
140 Blackman Township 38,025  166  2,927  1,644
19 Bloomfield Township 42,112  40  784  437
135 Bridgeport Township 10,247  507  1,679  1,487
73 Brighton 7,615  66  1,904  841
61 Brownstown Township  30,577  144  1,112  757
180 Buena Vista Township 8,348  1,198  2,767  2,964
176 Burton 28,996  466  4,207  2,709
164 Cadillac 10,261  565  3,304  2,232
9 Cambridge Township 5,687  88  352  264
89 Canton Township 89,073  132  1,490  1,000
66 Carrollton Township  5,927  236  1,147  789
146 Center Line 8,318  397  2,909  1,763
121 Charlotte 9,046  210  2,509  1,325
34 Chelsea 5,146  194  661  534
117 Chesterfield Township 44,211  242  1,803  1,287
10 Chocolay Township 6,001  -    717  271
15 Clawson 12,103  58  719  388
76 Clay Township 8,895  169  1,518  866
33 Clayton Township 7,253  110  938  532
141 Clinton Township 98,897  299  2,117  1,656
110 Coldwater 10,826  259  1,986  1,219
106 Coloma Township 6,429  342  1,711  1,173
38 Columbia Township 7,450  215  591  561
50 Davison 5,008  120  1,258  643
100 Davison Township 19,057  247  1,490  1,060
168 Dearborn 95,396  355  3,286  2,344
144 Dearborn Heights 56,366  374  2,143  1,730
41 Denton Township 5,404  93  1,166  573
193 Detroit 684,694  1,989  4,817  7,453
35 East Grand Rapids 11,306  27  1,212  534
108 East Lansing 48,555  278  1,438  1,195
178 Eastpointe 32,674  814  3,137  2,886
177 Emmett Township 11,642  498  4,905  2,805
28 Farmington 10,603  85  915  505
67 Farmington Hills  81,682  116  1,196  816
93 Fenton 11,533  139  1,934  1,011
137 Ferndale 20,346  251  2,703  1,597
98 Flat Rock 9,819  224  1,680  1,029
190 Flint 99,166  1,708  3,924  5,374
31 Flushing 8,158  86  1,005  527
17 Flushing Township 10,324  165  368  412
97 Forsyth Township 6,238  321  1,427  1,028
123 Fraser 14,632  219  2,324  1,332
1 Gaines Township 6,268  -    255  97
92 Garden City 27,035  215  1,409  1,005
143 Genesee Township 20,665  508  1,911  1,702
75 Grand Blanc 8,054  199  1,415  863
95 Grand Blanc Township 36,613  161  1,581  1,016
99 Grand Haven 11,020  145  1,969  1,031
8 Grand Ledge 7,779  39  424  225
160 Grandville 15,830  183  4,334  2,128
40 Green Oak Township 18,151  83  1,008  570
149 Greenville 8,449  331  3,361  1,840
6 Grosse Ile Township 10,150  10  404  178
77 Grosse Pointe 5,293  94  1,965  872
44 Grosse Pointe Farms 9,273  65  1,251  599
109 Grosse Pointe Park 11,281  115  2,518  1,207
59 Grosse Pointe Woods  15,807  139  1,208  741
12 Hamburg Township 21,676  46  447  274
78 Hampton Township 9,535  105  1,793  881
181 Hamtramck 22,036  1,030  3,013  3,098
189 Harper Woods 13,897  1,108  6,440  4,505
80 Hastings 7,296  219  1,467  905
139 Hazel Park 16,668  408  2,208  1,621
96 Hillsdale 8,188  232  1,685  1,023
159 Holland 33,588  426  2,992  2,125
90 Holly 6,218  273  1,544  1,001
42 Houghton 7,632  66  1,258  590
88 Howell 9,577  251  1,483  989
43 Huntington Woods 6,385  94  1,190  596
60 Huron Township  15,637  160  1,145  748
183 Inkster 24,745  1,229  3,092  3,517
105 Ionia 11,433  297  1,609  1,136
79 Ironwood 5,134  156  1,811  903
47 Ishpeming 6,547  61  1,375  618
184 Jackson 33,404  895  4,275  3,554
187 Kalamazoo 75,857  1,165  3,824  4,141
113 Kalamazoo Township 24,304  284  1,773  1,276
156 Kentwood 50,617  358  2,902  2,038
3 Kinross Township 7,756  52  155  140
186 Lansing 113,901  1,117  3,140  3,846
163 Lapeer 8,799  432  3,785  2,174
5 Lapeer Township 5,076  -    473  175
172 Lincoln Park 37,129  587  3,254  2,560
36 Lincoln Township 14,510  62  1,075  551
107 Livonia 94,833  127  1,869  1,182
133 Ludington 8,030  411  2,105  1,464
132 Madison Heights 30,358  227  2,322  1,448
53 Madison Township  8,558  58  1,519  689
101 Manistee 6,093  213  1,953  1,062
65 Marquette  21,524  135  1,231  767
81 Marshall 7,028  256  1,366  920
62 Marysville  9,790  123  1,410  758
48 Mason 8,271  85  1,257  625
158 Melvindale 10,428  690  2,503  2,115
138 Menominee 8,473  319  2,844  1,618
128 Meridian Township 41,133  199  2,251  1,407
68 Midland  42,256  118  1,292  817
104 Milan 5,917  203  2,197  1,135
11 Milford 16,470  24  553  274
82 Montrose Township 7,638  223  1,479  920
173 Mount Morris Township 20,820  562  3,842  2,630
112 Mount Pleasant 26,227  240  1,872  1,252
102 Mundy Township 14,723  136  2,106  1,104
185 Muskegon 36,964  825  4,772  3,687
191 Muskegon Heights 10,826  1,792  7,519  5,925
169 Muskegon Township 17,767  338  4,435  2,459
25 Napoleon Township 6,782  133  752  491
18 New Baltimore 12,244  57  825  431
157 Niles 11,389  562  2,915  2,094
71 Northfield Township  8,490  271  1,048  838
24 Northville 6,015  50  1,097  490
55 Northville Township  28,801  80  1,233  692
136 Norton Shores 24,005  175  2,879  1,567
74 Novi 58,654  80  1,454  846
130 Oak Park 29,971  334  1,848  1,425
131 Ontwa Township-Edwardsburg 6,519  537  1,626  1,439
129 Oscoda Township 6,858  292  2,537  1,421
154 Owosso 14,685  572  2,594  2,034
27 Petoskey 5,779  104  917  501
119 Pittsfield Township 36,722  226  1,977  1,315
22 Plymouth 8,912  101  785  470
45 Plymouth Township 26,973  74  1,094  616
174 Port Huron 29,145  762  2,892  2,652
147 Portage 47,819  161  3,131  1,766
2 Raisin Township 7,547  27  159  103
37 Richfield Township, Genesee County 8,429  131  902  559
85 Richmond 5,828  309  1,270  943
161 River Rouge 7,625  761  2,452  2,133
64 Riverview  12,205  98  1,483  767
23 Rochester 13,057  92  819  489
49 Rockford 6,016  116  1,230  641
153 Romulus 23,415  564  2,332  2,004
175 Roseville 47,618  447  3,910  2,666
57 Royal Oak  59,377  126  1,000  719
188 Saginaw 50,030  1,689  2,417  4,310
120 Saginaw Township 40,228  176  2,158  1,319
51 Saline 9,146  142  1,061  645
134 Sault Ste. Marie 14,084  334  2,244  1,485
58 Shelby Township  76,556  124  993  727
14 South Lyon 11,698  94  547  376
155 Southfield 73,321  314  2,932  2,037
152 Southgate 29,365  306  3,089  1,928
7 Spring Arbor Township 8,267  36  339  190
63 St. Clair  5,401  204  1,222  760
86 St. Clair Shores 60,157  185  1,270  960
29 St. Johns 7,983  50  1,127  518
125 St. Joseph 8,247  170  2,801  1,363
94 St. Joseph Township 9,919  171  1,855  1,015
54 St. Louis  7,395  189  1,028  691
103 Sterling Heights 131,604  169  1,539  1,134
151 Sturgis 10,913  449  2,923  1,906
46 Sumpter Township 9,332  107  1,125  617
69 Swartz Creek  5,607  161  1,552  822
170 Taylor 61,527  557  2,921  2,467
39 Tecumseh 8,407  107  1,023  570
4 Thetford Township 6,788  44  250  164
56 Thomas Township  11,718  111  1,314  715
167 Three Rivers 7,743  478  4,042  2,315
20 Tittabawassee Township 9,835  92  763  451
114 Traverse City 15,105  305  1,840  1,278
70 Trenton  18,404  201  1,141  830
83 Troy 83,279  60  1,632  921
126 Van Buren Township 28,269  258  2,069  1,381
115 Walker 24,443  127  2,410  1,280
26 Walled Lake 7,158  98  894  495
165 Warren 135,080  475  2,537  2,275
72 Waterford Township  73,308  115  1,269  840
162 Wayne 17,067  703  2,268  2,150
30 West Bloomfield Township 66,222  76  776  520
150 Westland 82,246  361  2,317  1,849
52 White Lake Township  30,940  65  1,212  660
91 Wixom 13,804  116  1,963  1,005
84 Woodhaven 12,583  103  1,883  942
118 Wyandotte 25,082  171  2,281  1,305
145 Wyoming 74,603  387  2,035  1,747
179 Ypsilanti 19,901  824  3,437  2,895
127 Zeeland 5,630  320  2,416  1,386

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