When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. Our team at ValuePenguin has analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities and towns in Wisconsin. These 140 ranged in a crime score from 105 to 4,846, with an average of 761. Narrowing it down to the five safest places to live, we found that four were within an hour’s drive to Lake Michigan, including Mequon, the most populated city on our list, with its nearly 24,000 residents.
Speaking of higher populations, Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, and Milwaukee, the state’s biggest city, ranked 133rd and 140th, respectively, according to our crime score metric, which adjusted for population size and was based on the amount of violent and property-related crimes per 100,000 people (more on our methodology below). For more insight, take a look at the report:
5 Safest Places in Wisconsin
These cities have an average crime score of 133, 83 percent lower than their typical peer in Wisconsin. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.
1. Oconomowoc Town, WI
With just two violent crimes, and 30 overall, this town tops our list. Governed by a five-person town board and protected by nine patrol officers working in three shifts around the clock, Oconomowoc Town actually shares its name with the city of Oconomowoc. Both take pride in their lakes, tree-lined streets and Native American history. The city of, which has almost double the town’s population with 15,926 residents, recorded a crime score of 439, ranking it 10th among Wisconsin’s midsize cities (see list below). It played an important part in movie history, hosting the 1939 premiere of “The Wizard of Oz.”
2. Freedom, WI
Situated as a midpoint between Green Bay and Appleton, Freedom has the lowest population on our list and is among a few members with zero violent crimes to report to the FBI in 2013. Then consider this: It didn’t have a police department from the time it was settled in 1830 to the time a police chief was hired in 1998. Bordered by six other small towns, Freedom has the kind of crime score that fits its name.
3. Hobart-Lawrence, WI
Hobart-Lawrence, which comprises the Village of Hobart and the Town of Lawrence, began sharing a police department not long after Hobart became a village in 2001. Like Freedom, which also lines the Fox River Valley, Hobart and Lawrence reported a combined zero violent crimes in 2013. Their collective crime score of 133 is 83 percent lower than that of a given Wisconsin city. Hobart has this edge over its friendly neighbor: a five-mile proximity to the Green Bay Packers’ legendary Lambeau Field.
4. Grand Rapids, WI
Located in the center of Wisconsin, the Town of Grand Rapids, comes in with the next-best crime score of 155. Like many places in the state, Grand Rapids enjoys being next to the water – in its case, Lake Wazeecha. The town actually gets its name from the turbulent sections of the Wisconsin River. How much of a small-town feel exists here? Residents can request that police watch their house while they’re away. Although, given the FBI’s latest crime report, this may not be as necessary.
5. Mequon, WI
With an identical crime score, Mequon is essentially “4A” in our study. The city, located just off Lake Michigan as well as a 20 minute-drive north of Milwaukee, is held back by its property-crime total: 146, the highest among our top five safest places. Mequon, which also has the highest population, ranks well above the state’s averages in median household income ($105,771 to $51,059) and median home value ($338,815 to 165,200), according to 2012 data. Mequon is also the home of Concordia University, a private, Lutheran college, and is one of Wisconsin’s best cities for spotting various bird species.
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 Wisconsin
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Wisconsin” 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.
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2013 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 3,000 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.
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!
|Final Crime Score|
|128||Fond du Lac||43,042||154||1,178||1,381|
|22||Fox Valley Metro||20,474||14||185||327|
|110||Prairie du Chien||5,829||15||187||1,039|
|136||Town of Madison||6,521||49||212||1,909|
|36||Town of Menasha||18,872||19||190||410|