How can a Michigan city that is known for its beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and sunsets also be known for its crime rate and depressive, deserted neighborhoods and buildings?

Benton Harbor lies in Berrien County, near the extraordinary shores of Lake Michigan. It began life in 1860 under the name 'Brunson Harbor', named after one of the city's founders, Sterne Brunson.

1) In 1866, the city's name was changed to 'Benton Harbor' after Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, who helped Michigan gain its statehood.
2) The House of David was founded in Benton Harbor.
3) Benton Harbor had its fair share of riots: in 1960, 1966, 1967, 1990, and 2003.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

But enough of the all-too-brief history lesson. The images of east side Benton Harbor seen in the gallery below are depressing to see, especially in comparison to the scenes and sites that can be found along Lake Michigan on the other side of town.

The crime rate is the big factor here: for every one thousand residents, over fifty of them are victims of crimes, giving Benton Harbor one of the highest rates of crime in the entire country. A person's chance of being on the receiving end of a property or violent crime is one in every sixteen. People who consider moving to Benton Harbor are encouraged to seek out something in the north end, where the lowest crime rate is reported.

The gallery shows deteriorating neighborhoods, abandoned & burned-out houses, shut down and deserted stores, and businesses that have been closed and boarded up. The videographer was actually freaked out to drive thru the neighborhoods – and that was early in the morning.

Abandoned Benton Harbor


Inside the Abandoned Homes of a Detroit Neighborhood

Abandoned Prestolite Factory, Bay City

Abandoned Farmhouse & Barn in Northern Michigan

More From 99.1 WFMK