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The 13 Worst Neighborhoods in Detroit

Chaldean Town

As the largest city in the state of Michigan and the Wayne County government seat, Detroit occupies a unique place in the local consciousness. Detroit is also known to many as the largest city that is situated on the border between Canada and the United States. It is also the biggest city located on the U.S.–Canada border. According to World Population Review, Detroit’s current population is 615,633 and ranks as the 29th most populated city in the United States, per Wikipedia.

With a population of 3,528,000, Detroit’s metropolitan area remains the second largest in the Midwest, after Chicago, according to Macrotrends. Detroit has a population density of over 4.1 million and first came to national prominence during the late 1800s. The Industrial Revolution was a boon to the city, allowing its economy to thrive during the 1900s.

The Motor City got its name when Henry Ford established the Ford assembly line in 1914. From there, it was not long before Detroit became the world’s automobile capital. During World War I, these advances made the city an attractive location for African American immigrants, creating a true melting pot that exists to this day. Thanks to the city’s diverse ethnic background, Detroit has become a key contributor to the architectural, music and arts industries.

The Auto Industry’s Decline

No discussion of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit would be complete without a closer examination of the auto industry’s decline. As auto plants began to close, merge with others or depart from the city altogether, discussions about the worst part of Detroit and the most dangerous neighborhoods in Detroit intensified.

With citizens losing jobs at an alarming clip and civil riots creating further damages, the worst areas of Detroit continued to deteriorate. The city’s conditions have improved (according to the Associated Press) since $20 billion in unpaid bills led to a 2013 bankruptcy filing but there is still much that needs to be done. The rise in unemployment has led to a corresponding rise in poverty and crime.

Much like any other city, there are some areas that are more affected by these conditions than others. To learn more about the 13 worst neighborhoods in Detroit, please be sure to read on.

Our Methodology

This list has been cross-referenced with Property Club NYC, so readers know that they are receiving the best possible information. We pride ourselves on taking every possible step in this regard. There is no aspect of our lists that are left to chance, so you know that accuracy will always take precedence. Our criteria for putting together this list is as follows:

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Accuracy is everything when it comes to a list of this nature and this is something that we take with the utmost level of seriousness. It is our first priority and we will never stop working tirelessly to ensure your access to the necessary information.

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13. Poletown East

Poletown East is widely considered to be one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit, according to Property Club NYC. It is a smaller neighborhood but that does not make Poletown East any less dangerous.

This Detroit neighborhood has a tiny population, with only 517 residents. However, the local crime rate there is sky high, with a rate that is currently 307% higher than the average in the state of Michigan.

Per 100,000 people, Poletown East has an average of 7,488 crimes. If you reside in Poletown East, you have a 1 in 14 chance of being victimized by local criminals.

Of course, these issues are only exacerbated by the poverty rates, which have risen to an extremely high level as well. This neighborhood’s residents are currently trying to survive on an average income of just $16,286.

12. Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is another neighborhood with a smaller population that is in the throes of a major crime wave. The crime rate in Fitzgerald has now risen to 11,235 per 100,000 people. This is a staggering number for a neighborhood that has a population of 5,100.

The frequency at which crime takes place in Fitzgerald has left the neighborhood with a crime rate that sits at 516% higher than the average in the state of Michigan, according to Property Club NYC.

Owing to these adverse circumstances, Fitzgerald residents now have a staggering 1 in 9 chance of becoming a crime victim. That’s not to say that efforts are not currently being made. There are local efforts that are closely focused on revitalization but the desired effects have yet to take place. Crime is a persistent issue and urban decay is difficult to ignore.

Efforts have been made recently to revitalize parts of the neighborhood, but urban decay and crime remain persistent. There is no shortage of common inner city issues that are exacerbating the problems in Fitzgerald, such as substandard schools, poverty and rampant unemployment.

11. Riverdale

Riverdale is one of the most dangerous and depressing neighborhoods in Detroit. It has a population of 2,427. With a low socioeconomic index and a high crime rate, Riverdale is not a place for the faint-hearted.

The low socioeconomic index comes from an unemployment rate of 5.6% compared to the national unemployment average of 6%, a median household income of $29,691 compared to a national average of $64,994, and education levels that are very low with only 26% of its population having a high school diploma.

According to AreaVibes, Riverdale has an income rate and median household income rates of 45% and 49% below the national average and an unemployment rate of 165% above the national average.

There is a lot of gang presence and activity in Riverdale due to the neighborhood’s proximity to major highways. Making the neighborhood a crime hotspot and having a high homicide rate compared to other Detroit neighborhoods.

10. Greensbriar

Greensbriar is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous places in Detroit. It has a population of 2,451, with many of its residents being African American. According to Weichert, its median household income is around $31,313.

The neighborhood’s education levels are deficient, with only 39% of its population having graduated from High school and only 3% having a graduate degree. The unemployment rate in Greensbriar is 13.5%.

The neighborhood has an unemployment rate of 189% above the national average and a household income rate of 43% below the national average.

The combination of these toxic elements of high unemployment and poverty rates, together with an overall low education status, makes Greensbriar a dangerous place to live.

With its crime rate of 178% higher than the Detroit average, this neighborhood is overrun by gangs, drugs, and illegal activities. Because of its high crime rate, people moved out of Greensbriar, and its housing market collapsed. The collapse left a lot of abandoned and dilapidated buildings, which are perfect breeding grounds for criminal activities for many of the gangs and drug dealers in the area.

9. Forest Park

Forest Park in Detroit, Michigan, is home to Detroit’s branch of the National Federal Reserve. It has a population of 1100 people and a median household income of around $14,900, 73% below the national household income in the United States.

Although one of the most sparsely populated, it is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. Its unemployment rate is 16%, 245% above the national average.

You would think that with the National Federal Reserve just around the corner, Forest Park would be among the safest neighborhoods in Detroit, but you are wrong.

The crime rate here is 246% above the national average, with violent and property crimes being 750% and 148% above the national average. Although it has a high crime rate, the neighborhood also boasts a vibrant nightlife, but you have to be careful.

8. Brightmoor

Brightmoor is a neighborhood in Detroit that occupies a 4 square mile radius which is roughly 10 kilometers. The area has a population of around 9,900 residents and a median household income of $24, 947 which is over 50% below the national household income average.

According to a Harvard University study, the population of Brightmoor has decreased by 64% since 1970, from 26,040 residents to 9,372. Its unemployment rate has risen to 13.1%, 181% above the national unemployment average.

The crime rate in Brightmoor far exceeds the national average by 343%. A continuously weakening job market, low education levels, and low-income rates make gang and criminal activities thrive here.

The rising crime rate has seen people move out of Brightmoor, and the property values in the area have declined. High unemployment, low income, and low education are always fuels to the high crime rate, and Brightmoor has all three conditions.

7. Franklin Park

Franklin Park is a neighborhood located on the Eastside of Detroit and is bounded by Lafayette Ave., Vernor Hwy., Fort St., and River St. It has a population of around 11,000 people.

The neighborhood median household income is $29,300, which is 47% below the national average. Its education status is low, with only 36% of its population having graduated high school and only 8% with a bachelor’s degree.

Many Franklin Park residents are unemployed, with the neighborhood’s unemployment rate at 13.7%. Franklin Park’s unemployment rate is a staggering 195% more than the national average.

The low education levels, high poverty, and low income turned this neighborhood into a crime-ridden area and made it into one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit.

Its proximity to the Detroit river significantly contributes to this neighborhood’s high crime rates. With a crime rate of 406% above the national average, this area is ridden with gangs and drug trafficking.

Which then makes the area a robbery and homicide hotspot. As crime continued to rise, many people moved out of the neighborhood, and property rates plummeted. Leaving many abandoned properties became perfect grounds for gang activity and drugs.

6. Van Steuban

Van Steuban is a Detroit neighborhood that has quickly garnered a reputation as one of the worst places to live. It neighbors the Lasalle College Park and Pulaski neighborhoods and has a population of around 3,500.

The area has an average household income of about $34,000 which is 38% below the national average. Its educational levels are also low, with only 36% of its population having completed their high school education and only 4% having graduated college with a bachelor’s degree.

According to the Statistical Atlas, Van Steuban’s overall unemployment rate is 15.6% which is 236% more than the national average. Van Steuban’s crime rate is 443% above the national average, with violent and property crimes being 1,359% and 263% above the national average.

Like the other neighborhoods on this list, Van Steuban has a lot of gang activity, homicide, shootings, and rape cases, making the neighborhood unsafe. The main street in the neighborhood is Van Steuban Street, a busy street with lots of traffic and has seen its fair share of accidents.

5. Warrendale

Warrendale is a neighborhood located in the western part of Detroit, Michigan. It has a population of about 17,500, making it among Detroit’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

With a median household income of $27,970 and a national average of 49% below the national average, much of its population is poor. The area’s unemployment rate of 14% also contributes to its low-income median, with over 200% more unemployment rates than the national average.

Warrendale is one of the worst Detroit neighborhoods, with numerous reports of break-ins, assaults, and robberies. It is an unsafe area to live or even walk alone at night because the chances of you getting robbed, murdered, or raped are over 400% of the national average.

According to Bridge Michigan, the Detroit housing crisis has not spared Warrendale. Since 2012, over 46% of houses in Warrendale have gone into tax foreclosures.

4. Fiskhorn

Fiskhorn in Detroit has among the worst crime statistics in Detroit neighborhoods. It’s not the first choice for anyone moving to Detroit, and you will not find any rich or elite people living there.

The Fiskhorn area has a population of around 3,800 and neighbors Grandale and Oakman Grove. Its median household income is around $23,000, 59% below the national housing income average. 38% of people living in Fiskhorn have graduated from high school, and only 5% have a bachelor’s degree.

The area has an unemployment rate of 10%, which is 120% more than the U.S. national average. Fiskhorn has a crime rate of 431% above the national average.

For violent crimes like murder, assault, rape, and robbery, the neighborhood one-ups the national average by a whopping 1,527%, while property crimes like burglary and theft go over the national average by 214%. There is a sizable amount of gang activity here, like shootings and robberies. Due to the high crime rate, Fiskhorn residents must be constantly alert.

3. Petosky Otsego

Ranking among the top areas that are least appealing to live in Detroit. The Petosky Otsego area in Detroit is a smaller neighborhood in the city with a population of 7,200 people.

It is also among the poorest neighborhoods in the city, with a median household income of around $18,800 which is 66% below the national household income average.

The unemployment rate here is 14%, 220% above the national unemployment average. Petosky also has one of the worst schooling systems in the city, with low student turnout and its average test scores falling 36% below the national average.

It is no secret that crime in this area is high. The recipe for a high crime rate here is pretty good, with low income, high unemployment rates, and bad education background for its residents.

Petoskys average crime rate is 469% higher than the national average. According to Smart Explora, the high poverty levels and high crime rates due to an overwhelming gang presence have left the neighborhood with a reputation of being one of the most violent places in Detroit.

2. Belmont

When the worst part of Detroit is being discussed, Belmont will always rank at or near the top of the list. It is one of the worst neighborhoods in Detroit for a number of different reasons. In Belmont, the high murder and shooting rates contribute heavily to its reputation.

The crime rate in the neighborhood has now climbed to 14,048 for every 100,000 people.If this number seems high, that’s because it is currently 664% higher than the national average. As a result of these conditions, residents struggle to remain protected.

Those who reside there have a 1 in 8 chance of being victimized by local criminals. The neighborhood is also a well-known gang hotbed within the city of Detroit, with an exceptional amount of regular activity.

Assaults, robberies and drug dealing are commonplace in Belmont, which has also caused the median home price in the neighborhood to dramatically decline. The median home price is now $29,300, according to Property Club NYC.

1. Chaldean Town

Chaldean Town in Detroit was once a very vibrant immigrant town that got its name from the Chaldean Catholic immigrants from Iraq and Turkey. The boom in immigrants was due to Detroit’s booming industrial economy, with automobile factories everywhere in the early 1900s.

The immigrants settled in Chaldean town and made it a popular neighborhood with many ethnic restaurants serving middle eastern food. But then the crack epidemic hit, and the once vibrant town started to deteriorate.

Now, Chaldean town only has a population of about 1200 people and a median household income of $16,200, 71% below the national average. According to Roadsnacks, the neighborhood’s unemployment rate is 24%, 429% higher than the national average.

Despite its beautiful Catholic background, Chaldean town has been among the worst places hit by unemployment, the housing crisis, high crime rates, and low education levels. Recent years have seen people move out of this neighborhood in droves due to its worsening conditions.

In Summation

While it may seem as if Detroit is currently struggling mightily, there are positive signs to report. In 2023, Detroit’s homicide rate went down significantly. According to Detroit.gov, the city recorded its lowest homicide rate in 57 years. This is not the only good news that the city’s residents received.

Detroit.gov also reports that the city has experienced a 16% reduction rate when it comes to nonfatal shootings and a 34% reduction in carjackings. Despite the presence of high crime and unemployment rates in the worst neighborhoods in Detroit, the whole city is not under siege.

There are plenty of quality suburban neighborhoods for visitors to enjoy but those who plan on moving should be cautious. If you are considering any of the neighborhoods listed above, think twice, as these are some of the most dangerous areas of Detroit.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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