Full disclosure, I was born, raised and lived in Detroit for 25 years.
Understand that DOWNTOWN Detroit is a relatively small area and is the most frequented by police. Vehicle crimes such as carjackings and break ins are commonplace everywhere in Detroit, it doesn't matter if you're in a deck or parked under a street light. If you are Downtown, in Greektown, in Midtown or in Corktown you are relatively safe so long as you aren't wandering. The largest concentration of homeless and vagrants is Downtown, so be prepared for that situation. Go outside of these designated areas, into a neighborhoods, and all bets are off.
Go to crimemapping.com and select Detroit, you will see that plenty of car thefts, assaults, burglaries and all the sort are taking place everywhere in Detroit especially in the relatively safe areas like downtown.
all the people saying detroit is not safe are ignorant. ive lived downtown for a few years now, ive never once had a single problem and my girlfriend who is just barely over 5 foot and 100 lbs walks alone all the time no issues she works at a returaunt downtownn coming home with cash on hand never been robbed raped or harassed....detroit is a fun city stop being scared
I've lived in Hamtramck(a city within the city of Detroit) for most of my life as well as coming back to visit since I went to school. I've been going to concerts downtown all of my adolescence as well as other great events that the city hosts and taking advantage of the restaurant resurgence in many neighborhoods.
During the day, the Riverwalk area is great and family friendly as well as Belle Isle. Both of those are must-sees, especially during the day in the summer. There is gorgeous architecture throughout the city. There are a lot of restaurants from Slow's BBQ to Sinbad's by the wate that offer delicious eats if you're going to be heading down to the city.
Keep an eye out for street festivals hosted by the city or universities, those have higher levels of security because their purpose is to bring people in from the suburbs(anything at Campus Martius or Dally in the Alley for example). Those are great ways to enjoy the city if you aren't comfortable driving around looking for something to do even during the day.
Now I'll come to the nightlife.
Although yes, there are great businesses taking root. Do not let your guard down and think that you can just walk around those areas where you see a fancy restaurant downtown. Within a block there's probably a building shell and someone stealing a car. I had a 1996 Oldsmobile stolen last November from a well-lit intersection and my car was locked despite the 99% camp out happening across the street from where I was parked.
My suggestion is to not be lulled into a false sense of security no matter where you are in the city. Lock your doors when you park your car, the guy who said real Detroiters don't is an absolute idiot-he has just been lucky so far. I don't think you should let this hinder you but this site isn't for people who know where the neighborhoods full of burnt out buildings are.
I suggest you stay close to areas like Fox Theater and Ford Field, places where there are larger groups of people-although not completely safe-are less likely to be dangerous. The area where Wayne State and Center for Creative Studies are is very safe generally because it has a combination of university police and city police, still there is safety in groups with any walking around downtown at night. You can tell where the city cares to protect based on whether or not the street lights are working-there are a lot of places where street lights aren't working.
When parking downtown, be aware and ask questions. Lots owned by Illitch ventures, although expensive, do maintain safety during events and they are generally wearing neon vests to point themselves out. Homeless people will stand at the borders of lots where people are parking and ask for money pretending they're working there. Assess the situation as you come to it.
Going up Woodward, I would suggest people be wary of Highland Park, another city situated within the city of Detroit. It has a negligable police force, but it is not a good place to have your car break down. As cool as the old houses in the Boston Edison district are, I wouldn't suggest sight-seeing in that area much as well because of the amount of crime that occurs.
Detroit is in the middle of a revival...a revolution. Go downtown for a sporting event or concert and you will see. Don't be afraid to explore, you will be surprised at what you find. Just be smart, street smart. If you like electronic music Detroit is the place to be. Fantastic DJ's come thru on the reg and you will see every walk of life enjoying the city. Detroit..come and explore but stay away from the neighborhoods if you don't know them or someone who lives there. You can explore but be mindful of your surroundings and stay in your car if you don't have protection.
dont listen to people like DTOWNKITTY that does not know what they are talking about..
Dont lock your doors or roll your windows up.. act like a detroiter..
you think we drive around with locked doors and the windows up?
YOu cant escape a bullet if someone wants your car there gonna get it.
this IS detroit.
Detroit resembles most third world countries. I KNOW I have been to a few.
Detroiters are born with a special survival trait in there blood. We have street smarts and common knowledge that is unheard of and will get you by anywhere you go.
Get lost in our city. Once again dont let people like dtownkitty scare you. Im sure thats a suburban *** trying to scare people.
Stay away from downtown.. Downtown is full of tourist drivers and suburbanites.. get out of downtown ASAP when you can.. people drive like crap.
Go up gratiot and take it up to houston whittier or east grand.
go explorering.. youll be amazed at what you find.
check out the sw side too. its very sad over there. DESOLET and lonely not a sound for miles.
like I said get lost and have fun.. Detroiters are friendly. I understand most people not from detroit dont really know what to look for when you can see somthing bad comming your way.. we have it in our blood.
but just be smart. and friendly like I said. Dont ask a group of people in a lonely area for directions..
THERE ARE NO TRAVEL WARNINGS FOR DETROIT THIS ISNT THE 80's or 90's
most of our notorious projects are gone ..
crime has gone down..
what you see is the shell of an industrial capitol. FORDS, GM, and CHRYSLER raped this city for everything it had and left a hollowed out shell of unemployed cold people.
We have loads of snow, bumpy roads, good dope, sexy hookers, and there aint no PARTY LIKE A DETROIT PARTY..
SO HIT IT UP
I grew up in Detroit,back in the 60s and 70s,it was a great city,with very few bad neighborhoods. If you do not have to absolutely go to Detroit,you would be wise to stay away. Regardless of any positive reviews you read about Detroit,it is mere wishful thinking.Most of the city looks like a war zone and I have seen war zones.With the city about 87% black,if you are white, you are not welcome there and they are not afraid to let you know it. I will not go into the city without a handgun,this is what a once beautiful city has been reduced to. If you should find yourself having to travel through Detroit,stay on the freeways and do not get off until you are well out of the city.
Detroit is an interesting place as far as reviews go. You will usually find one of two extremes. The reviewer will either bash the place outright, usually without real experience in the City or tell you its the land of milk and honey out of a good hearted but misguided desire to "bring the City back." I have lived and worked in Detroit almost my life. I will offer my honest advice: Detroit is a very dangerous city. Period. That said, keep in mind that most large urban cities in America are just as dangerous. If you don't know the City and are not confortable in large urban areas, keep to the most populated downtown areas exclusively and don't wear expensive jewelry or flashy clothes. Don't wander around, especially after dark. The residential areas are usually the most dangerous areas with gas stations being among the most dangerous places of all. If you are from out of town, by all means get your gas in the suburbs if at all possible. Otherwise, enjoy the sites. We have some fantastic restraunts, fun casinos, and a world class art museum!
I grew up visiting Detroit with family and attended Wayne State University dead center of the city. Never had issues. When living in Windsor Canada for 8 years drove through the city via the tunnel and again, never an issue. Walk and drive and park to go to restaurants and entertainment facilities, and once again no issues. As with anywhere be careful where you are but overall, don't stay in your suburban hotel. Get out and see the city. It's always best if you have someone who is a detroiter so they can give you stories and facts. If you are alone it's tough because we are not a taxi friendly place. There's also no mass transit. That's the only issue because most people don't stay in the city center.
if you are new or a visitor, stay in well lit areas after dark, like downtown, or major roads, like michigan ave, woodward ave, warren ave, etc, and never let your car get blocked in,. there are many things to see in the D, but i try to go in numbers, because your less likey to be a target that way,. most folks no when there out of there element,. PS. this aint disney land but people gotta live here!!!
Be careful when driving in Michigan, in general, because our expressway speed limits are 70, and not 65, we do not receive federal road funding, as a result, some of our roads are among the very worst in this country, potholes you could sleep in, bumps, cracks, you name it. Drivers are aggressive, and driving can be dangerous in some parts of the city. A friend of mine who is also from the area and her 2 girlfriends were carjacked on a side street between 6 mile and 9 mile, ( I don't remember exactly where she told me she was..) pistol whipped, and robbed. If you're driving somewhere not on the freeway or in any part of town that looks uncomfortable, roll up your windows all the way, or maybe just leave a crack in them, especially at railroad tracks, stop lights, etc.
We have a lot of homeless people who beg for a living. Most are drug addicts or alcoholics, or simply people with mental problems. Don't give them money, just ignore them, they sometimes get aggressive if you happen upon a drunk one or something. Carry pepper spray with you if you're concerned about it. They tend to hang out outside of clubs and bars, places where they have concerts, etc., and beg from people not from the area.
Also, avoid wearing gang colors in some parts of town, don't flash your headlights at people, give the finger, etc., it can only incite violence, you're better off ignoring rude people. White tourists often face heckling and harassment from some black "gangster" types in shadier parts of town.
Obviously, be aware of your surroundings, don't buy drugs, and watch out for any kind of shady activity and you'll be fine.
http://www.drivemi.org/potholes/index1.php - pothole pictures
I've lived in the suburbs of Detroit all my life (22 years). Reading some of these ridiculous, ignorant comments made me laugh. Downtown Detroit is safe and I've NEVER had a problem or felt unsafe. There are scores of homeless people and they're generally easy going and just ask for money (just say "I ain't got nothin'" and keep it moving). As for the areas outside of Downtown - don't wander and you'll be fine. If you don't have a reason to drive down Warren Ave. at 2am, than don't. I've worked off of 8 mile and livernois (ferndale/detroit) and I've never had an issue. Just like any poverty stricken warzone, don't go where you belong. And to the people that said, "driving two blocks can be a difference between a nice neighborhood and a dangerous ghetto," this is not really true. It's a gradual shift, you can tell when you're entering a seedy area, and if you don't have any business being there, turn around. if not, well that would be like signing up for the army and then being upset when they send you to iraq, now wouldn't it? now I know some will argue that out of towners can get lost, but in all seriousness, you'll most likely be traveling by car and you can change your surroundings very quickly with the mashing of the gas pedal.
Even though Detroit has been in a mess for a LONG time, especially since the riots of '67,
my Art teacher told me that most of Detroit is being revitalized, because of decaying building being demolished, old factories being converted into museums or restaurants. Which is really good, but if I go there, I'll have to be in a safe part of the city. I also heard that downtown Detroit is getting safer. Check out these links.
According to the crime stats, you are twice as likely to get killed, robbed or raped in Detroit as in an average American city.
To see the exact data, look under the CRIME heading on the folowing website:
1770 people are registered in the Detroit area as sex offenders. That sounds like a lot but when you consider that that is from a population of about 4 million people then the odds are a thousand-to-one or less that you'd ever meet one of the SOs.
The facts about each offender are given at the website below.
Detroit is definitely not a city you just want to free-roam in. Check with the motel staff to see which areas that tourists should avoid. Remember to lock car doors and use the latch-chain when you are in the motel room at night. Keep valuables in a locked place out of sight. Don't go out alone at night nor into unfamiliar neighborhoods.
We have visited Detroit without any problems over the years. And you will probably be visiting in a suburb that has no problems too. But you can use common sense to help protect yourself from becoming a target.
Be smart: be safe.
I like to compare Detroit to Belize City in Central America. There are some very cool parts (for a typical tourist most of these are downtown) there are interesting parts, and there are parts that I would only advise residents to enter into. I am a community worker who has lived in the city for 11 years and is not originally from Michigan. I am not black or white and that has given me an edge on hearing things that either group doesn't want the other to hear. I have found working in this capacity (field work, stats, maps, geography, community groups) that unlike any other large city in the US, Detroit is the most segregated- that cannot be disputed, and the entire city (with the exception of a handful of neighborhoods) is impoverished- there is no one "bad" part of town.
It would be wise for any one visiting the city to look up some maps, keep a cell phone with you, and dress down (do not flaunt jewelry or sports teams or college get up). Unfortunately, to the community, these are all indicators of "suburban AKA: privileged" people, and in the city it is just a fact that if you are white, privileged or not, or a woman you are a target. Like it or not, that is the reality.
If you walk by yourself walk like you have a destination, as if you are tough. Get a hoody and use it. If you feel threatened, walk in the street and act like a crazy person if you have to, look into people cars like you want to break in, talk to yourself out loud. If you are traveling with a group, walk staggered and not bunched up, so that if someone did mean harm by approaching you they couldn't sneak up on you. Memorize the main streets and stick to them. Woodward downtown is where most of the activity is. NEVER wear earphones or walk with your i pod, you want all of your senses to be 100%.
I have walked the streets downtown, deep east and west - yes, I've have a project going on in the Brighmoor neighborhood right now- all times of night and day and never once had a problem.
Yes, we have the homeless. Detroit's homeless consist primarily of addicts, war vets, and those that are not mentally competent and the system has let down. (As well as some that make a decent living off of begging!) You will even see some downtown and they are pretty harmless (People tend to be very tolerant of their presence here, maybe more so because of the cold). But it is never a good idea to hand out money when traveling. Better to donate to a good charity. So if someone approaches you to "buy" a little veterans flag or "donate" don't feel uncomfortable. Simply give a sure , "no thanks" or just walk on by and they will leave you alone. But PLEASE do not be rude! I met a homeless man recently that was the victim of a horrible hit and run. Why? Because some people are rotten! So don't be an arse! It's not fun sleeping under an overpass in -10 F!