Safest Cities in Wisconsin – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Although violent crime went up in Wisconsin’s largest cities during 2018, the state remains one of the safest in the Midwest: Wisconsin’s 2018 violent crime rate of 2.95 per 1K was considerably below the national average. Let’s take a closer look at Wisconsin’s five safest cities. 

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

Cedarburg, a modestly sized community of 11.5K, is Wisconsin’s safest city.  The city, located around 20 miles north of Milwaukee, logged a mere 3 violent crimes in 2018, which adds up to a violent crime rate of 0.26 per 1K.

Next on the list is the Fox Valley Metropolitan area, which comprises a number of small communities based along the Fox River. With a violent crime rate of 0.73 per 1K, and a property crime rate of 3.73 per 1K, Fox Valley metro residents can be well assured of their safety.

Muskego isn’t far behind. The city of about 25K in Waukesha County was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi Indian tribe, and today boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the state.

Port Washington, located on Lake Michigan in Ozaukee County, is #4 on the list of Wisconsin’s safest cities. Port Washington’s violent crime rate of 1.61 per 1K, while impressive, is a bit higher than the other entries in the state’s top 5, however the city earns its spot through a low property crime rate, and a high rate of law enforcement personnel to residents. 

Completing the list of Wisconsin’s top five safest cities is Caledonia, a village of 25K located in Racine County, near the state’s border with Illinois.  Caledonia recorded just 172 total crimes in 2018, or about one crime every two days. 

Wisconsin’s Safest Cities

WICityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Cedarburg11,469 35426574.970.264.712.27
2Fox Valley Metro22,006 168228984.450.733.731.27
3Muskego25,118 9143471526.050.365.691.87
4Port Washington11,831 197325927.781.616.172.11
5Caledonia25,047 21151351726.870.846.031.40
6Hobart-Lawrence14,667 76911765.180.484.700.75
7Oconomowoc16,850 7133301408.310.427.891.78
8Waunakee14,000 2092211128.001.436.571.50
9Oregon10,549 497211019.570.389.201.99
10Mequon24,311 52414924610.120.219.912.02
11Monroe10,575 111273313813.051.0412.013.12
12Watertown23,628 462205426611.261.959.312.29
13Waupun11,260 1292171049.241.078.171.51
14Deforest10,557 9981910710.140.859.281.80
15De Pere25,199 38205402439.641.518.141.59
16Kaukauna16,172 25135271609.891.558.351.67
17New Berlin39,763 154328144711.240.3810.862.04
18Grafton11,662 71362814312.260.6011.662.40
19Waukesha72,672 9275015284211.591.2710.322.09
20Burlington11,039 151082112311.141.369.781.90
21Fox Crossing19,323 201893220910.821.049.781.66
22Menomonee Falls37,712 214086742911.380.5610.821.78
23Cudahy18,290 242213924513.401.3112.082.13
24Everest Metropolitan17,392 191983121712.481.0911.381.78
25Two Rivers11,077 361362917215.533.2512.282.62
26Hartford15,183 172043122114.561.1213.442.04
27Franklin36,251 135277354014.900.3614.542.01
28Chippewa Falls14,084 261752620114.271.8512.431.85
29Middleton19,970 522764832816.422.6013.822.40
30Beaver Dam16,394 252393726416.101.5214.582.26
31Fort Atkinson12,495 251692619415.532.0013.532.08
32Portage10,496 251562618117.242.3814.862.48
33Plover12,853 141752318914.701.0913.621.79
34Greendale14,181 122514026318.550.8517.702.82
35Marinette10,561 91822819118.090.8517.232.65
36Stevens Point26,233 403924843216.471.5214.941.83
37Verona13,490 192072522616.751.4115.341.85
38West Bend31,651 565287158418.451.7716.682.24
39Kenosha99,948 3381495207183318.343.3814.962.07
40Wausau38,682 1196268574519.263.0816.182.20
41Appleton74,931 1651151135131617.562.2015.361.80
42Marshfield18,309 123824839421.520.6620.862.62
43Stoughton13,149 222382926019.771.6718.102.21
44River Falls15,578 162592727517.651.0316.631.73
45Platteville12,642 312082523918.912.4516.451.98
46South Milwaukee20,972 353664140119.121.6717.451.95
47Oshkosh66,736 1151107118122218.311.7216.591.77
48Oak Creek36,643 467398278521.421.2620.172.24
49Menomonie16,450 283063333420.301.7018.602.01
50Sun Prairie33,390 276767270321.050.8120.252.16
51Sheboygan48,195 183826102100920.943.8017.142.12
52Germantown20,014 84224343021.480.4021.092.15
53Manitowoc32,557 716617473222.482.1820.302.27
54Green Bay105,281 4831798220228121.674.5917.082.09
55Brookfield38,065 288158284322.150.7421.412.15
56Pleasant Prairie20,911 363903742620.371.7218.651.77
57Mount Pleasant26,571 235695659222.280.8721.412.11
58Racine77,373 4351662229209727.105.6221.482.96
59Fitchburg30,151 865815966722.122.8519.271.96
60Menasha17,788 453673841223.162.5320.632.14
61Wauwatosa48,562 551249120130426.851.1325.722.47
62Ashwaubenon17,316 135285854131.240.7530.493.35
63Onalaska18,841 64153142122.340.3222.031.65
64Greenfield36,850 648987696226.111.7424.372.06
65Fond du Lac42,777 101101281111326.022.3623.661.89
66Baraboo12,178 243583338231.371.9729.402.71
67West Allis59,887 1951673157186831.193.2627.942.62
68Madison258,455 10436722595776530.044.0426.012.30
69Shorewood13,368 183742939229.321.3527.982.17
70Eau Claire68,923 1991688130188727.382.8924.491.89
71Hudson13,848 193832840229.031.3727.662.02
72Beloit36,746 17197979115031.304.6526.642.15
73Milwaukee595,619 84161769923052611543.8514.1329.723.87
74Janesville64,471 1671800114196730.512.5927.921.77
75Grand Chute22,865 526833973532.152.2729.871.71
76La Crosse51,901 1451924116206939.862.7937.072.24
77Superior26,054 76111466119045.672.9242.762.53
78Brown Deer11,963 515483359950.074.2645.812.76
79Glendale12,710 5396547101880.094.1775.923.70

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.