2015 Safest Places in Wisconsin Study

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.”

Factor

Value

Population

8,565

Crime Score

105

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.

Factor

Value

Population

5,963

Crime Score

117

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.

Factor

Value
Population11,587

Crime Score

133

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.

Factor

Value

Population

7,634

Crime Score

155

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.

Factor

Value

Population

23,264

Crime Score

155

Population Breakdown

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:

Safest Place in Wisconsin

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.

Full List of Places in Wisconsin

Methodology

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!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent crimeProperty crimeFinal Crime Score

40

Altoona7,018885430

126

Antigo7,988104191,243

104

Appleton73,1411761,304961

132

Ashland8,097324291,730

120

Ashwaubenon17,145147461,077

119

Baraboo12,047254101,076

91

Beaver Dam16,3268575835

130

Beloit36,8171291,1951,460

73

Beloit Town7,66512159677

56

Berlin5,5193135549

16

Bloomfield6,319271268

89

Brookfield37,996301,086817

101

Brookfield Township6,12613187939

97

Brown Deer12,11415384875

82

Burlington10,50217243758

29

Caledonia24,68112306369

13

Cedarburg11,4461130247

62

Chippewa Falls13,67626147576

74

Columbus5,0174148679

59

Cottage Grove6,4781195571

100

Cudahy18,36239454934

17

De Pere24,3147283312

38

Deforest9,3491378414

50

Delafield7,1492175520

90

Delavan10,09212309827

25

Delavan Town5,335188339

103

Eau Claire67,3091231,570961

70

Edgerton5,5154147621

43

Elkhorn10,0849141440

14

Elm Grove5,942171254

41

Evansville5,094483434

64

Everest17,09314342580

93

Fitchburg26,12261444841

128

Fond du Lac43,0421541,1781,381

47

Fort Atkinson12,49312174462

8

Fox Point6,744165210

22

Fox Valley Metro20,47414185327

2

Freedom5,963037117

28

Geneva Town5,045282368

55

Germantown19,79613386547

137

Glendale12,947359271,972

18

Grafton11,5191168313

105

Grand Chute21,61623790999

4

Grand Rapids7,634243155

131

Green Bay105,1075002,6741,714

112

Greendale14,417146061,056

114

Greenfield37,171511,2721,064

60

Hales Corners7,76210138572

51

Hartford14,24810270524

26

Hartland9,1966109351

3

Hobart-Lawrence11,587076133

49

Holmen9,39511131486

92

Hudson13,12312428840

10

Jackson6,773534224

127

Janesville63,6031661,9431,298

117

Jefferson7,979222411,074

45

Kaukauna15,76619169454

125

Kenosha100,4182742,4621,228

11

Kronenwetter7,353360229

122

La Crosse51,7411071,5481,144

96

Lake Geneva7,7315299866

88

Lake Hallie6,5617214806

6

Lake Mills5,808327176

133

Madison242,5238847,7291,743

115

Manitowoc33,288758941,065

76

Marinette10,8348324738

61

Marshfield18,90012400574

21

Mayville5,076180325

33

McFarland8,1165115386

94

Menasha17,56531423847

23

Menomonee Falls35,85914395331

95

Menomonie16,25024441852

5

Mequon23,2642146155

106

Merrill9,427292171,008

48

Middleton18,3848340479

65

Milton5,551991580

140

Milwaukee600,8058,19427,0134,846

139

Monona7,763216642,138

78

Monroe10,78517245745

27

Mount Horeb7,359590355

81

Mount Pleasant26,17914765751

37

Mukwonago7,4525113410

12

Mukwonago Town8,065829244

9

Muskego24,4896190220

80

Neenah25,85041505747

67

New London7,2267166612

87

New Richmond8,48015208795

98

Oak Creek35,046461,017927

42

Oconomowoc15,92612225439

1

Oconomowoc Town8,565228105

63

Onalaska18,4088429580

46

Oregon9,6661587457

108

Oshkosh66,8481551,4211,017

58

Pewaukee Village8,21710144558

71

Platteville11,3105304625

52

Pleasant Prairie20,12121306529

69

Plover12,28115237619

54

Plymouth8,3826173532

15

Port Washington11,4040147261

99

Portage10,1684657927

110

Prairie du Chien5,829151871,039

134

Racine78,1412973,0101,779

72

Reedsburg9,49718159673

121

Rhinelander7,612232311,117

24

Richland Center5,097274334

34

Ripon7,711884394

85

River Falls15,22729306778

53

Rothschild5,2633123530

113

Shawano9,157193181,057

123

Sheboygan48,7911321,2411,168

32

Sheboygan Falls7,7612134381

107

Shorewood13,206303771,009

30

Slinger5,127193370

86

South Milwaukee21,26341399782

111

Sparta9,623322161,044

57

St. Francis9,59710175549

83

Stevens Point26,76441563771

44

Stoughton13,0314249451

68

Sturgeon Bay9,09415149618

7

Sturtevant6,975256204

84

Sun Prairie30,72930788773

138

Superior26,737921,6222,028

118

Tomah9,355242901,075

136

Town of Madison6,521492121,909

36

Town of Menasha18,87219190410

19

Twin Lakes6,039193320

66

Two Rivers11,49919173607

39

Verona11,4086181419

124

Watertown23,995944721,203

75

Waukesha70,988901,327731

31

Waunakee12,82910142372

129

Waupaca6,036291831,390

35

Waupun11,27910132399

109

Wausau39,176859701,017

116

Wauwatosa47,273591,6321,070

135

West Allis60,8301962,8511,814

77

West Bend31,66618876738

20

Whitefish Bay14,1453193322

79

Whitewater14,54131242745

102

Wisconsin Rapids18,17010712940

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