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
Population 11,587
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:

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.

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 City Population Violent
crime
Property
crime
Final Crime Score
40 Altoona 7,018 8 85  430
126 Antigo 7,988 10 419  1,243
104 Appleton 73,141 176 1,304  961
132 Ashland 8,097 32 429  1,730
120 Ashwaubenon 17,145 14 746  1,077
119 Baraboo 12,047 25 410  1,076
91 Beaver Dam 16,326 8 575  835
130 Beloit 36,817 129 1,195  1,460
73 Beloit Town 7,665 12 159  677
56 Berlin 5,519 3 135  549
16 Bloomfield 6,319 2 71  268
89 Brookfield 37,996 30 1,086  817
101 Brookfield Township 6,126 13 187  939
97 Brown Deer 12,114 15 384  875
82 Burlington 10,502 17 243  758
29 Caledonia 24,681 12 306  369
13 Cedarburg 11,446 1 130  247
62 Chippewa Falls 13,676 26 147  576
74 Columbus 5,017 4 148  679
59 Cottage Grove 6,478 11 95  571
100 Cudahy 18,362 39 454  934
17 De Pere 24,314 7 283  312
38 Deforest 9,349 13 78  414
50 Delafield 7,149 2 175  520
90 Delavan 10,092 12 309  827
25 Delavan Town 5,335 1 88  339
103 Eau Claire 67,309 123 1,570  961
70 Edgerton 5,515 4 147  621
43 Elkhorn 10,084 9 141  440
14 Elm Grove 5,942 1 71  254
41 Evansville 5,094 4 83  434
64 Everest 17,093 14 342  580
93 Fitchburg 26,122 61 444  841
128 Fond du Lac 43,042 154 1,178  1,381
47 Fort Atkinson 12,493 12 174  462
8 Fox Point 6,744 1 65  210
22 Fox Valley Metro 20,474 14 185  327
2 Freedom 5,963 0 37  117
28 Geneva Town 5,045 2 82  368
55 Germantown 19,796 13 386  547
137 Glendale 12,947 35 927  1,972
18 Grafton 11,519 1 168  313
105 Grand Chute 21,616 23 790  999
4 Grand Rapids 7,634 2 43  155
131 Green Bay 105,107 500 2,674  1,714
112 Greendale 14,417 14 606  1,056
114 Greenfield 37,171 51 1,272  1,064
60 Hales Corners 7,762 10 138  572
51 Hartford 14,248 10 270  524
26 Hartland 9,196 6 109  351
3 Hobart-Lawrence 11,587 0 76  133
49 Holmen 9,395 11 131  486
92 Hudson 13,123 12 428  840
10 Jackson 6,773 5 34  224
127 Janesville 63,603 166 1,943  1,298
117 Jefferson 7,979 22 241  1,074
45 Kaukauna 15,766 19 169  454
125 Kenosha 100,418 274 2,462  1,228
11 Kronenwetter 7,353 3 60  229
122 La Crosse 51,741 107 1,548  1,144
96 Lake Geneva 7,731 5 299  866
88 Lake Hallie 6,561 7 214  806
6 Lake Mills 5,808 3 27  176
133 Madison 242,523 884 7,729  1,743
115 Manitowoc 33,288 75 894  1,065
76 Marinette 10,834 8 324  738
61 Marshfield 18,900 12 400  574
21 Mayville 5,076 1 80  325
33 McFarland 8,116 5 115  386
94 Menasha 17,565 31 423  847
23 Menomonee Falls 35,859 14 395  331
95 Menomonie 16,250 24 441  852
5 Mequon 23,264 2 146  155
106 Merrill 9,427 29 217  1,008
48 Middleton 18,384 8 340  479
65 Milton 5,551 9 91  580
140 Milwaukee 600,805 8,194 27,013  4,846
139 Monona 7,763 21 664  2,138
78 Monroe 10,785 17 245  745
27 Mount Horeb 7,359 5 90  355
81 Mount Pleasant 26,179 14 765  751
37 Mukwonago 7,452 5 113  410
12 Mukwonago Town 8,065 8 29  244
9 Muskego 24,489 6 190  220
80 Neenah 25,850 41 505  747
67 New London 7,226 7 166  612
87 New Richmond 8,480 15 208  795
98 Oak Creek 35,046 46 1,017  927
42 Oconomowoc 15,926 12 225  439
1 Oconomowoc Town 8,565 2 28  105
63 Onalaska 18,408 8 429  580
46 Oregon 9,666 15 87  457
108 Oshkosh 66,848 155 1,421  1,017
58 Pewaukee Village 8,217 10 144  558
71 Platteville 11,310 5 304  625
52 Pleasant Prairie 20,121 21 306  529
69 Plover 12,281 15 237  619
54 Plymouth 8,382 6 173  532
15 Port Washington 11,404 0 147  261
99 Portage 10,168 46 57  927
110 Prairie du Chien 5,829 15 187  1,039
134 Racine 78,141 297 3,010  1,779
72 Reedsburg 9,497 18 159  673
121 Rhinelander 7,612 23 231  1,117
24 Richland Center 5,097 2 74  334
34 Ripon 7,711 8 84  394
85 River Falls 15,227 29 306  778
53 Rothschild 5,263 3 123  530
113 Shawano 9,157 19 318  1,057
123 Sheboygan 48,791 132 1,241  1,168
32 Sheboygan Falls 7,761 2 134  381
107 Shorewood 13,206 30 377  1,009
30 Slinger 5,127 1 93  370
86 South Milwaukee 21,263 41 399  782
111 Sparta 9,623 32 216  1,044
57 St. Francis 9,597 10 175  549
83 Stevens Point 26,764 41 563  771
44 Stoughton 13,031 4 249  451
68 Sturgeon Bay 9,094 15 149  618
7 Sturtevant 6,975 2 56  204
84 Sun Prairie 30,729 30 788  773
138 Superior 26,737 92 1,622  2,028
118 Tomah 9,355 24 290  1,075
136 Town of Madison 6,521 49 212  1,909
36 Town of Menasha 18,872 19 190  410
19 Twin Lakes 6,039 1 93  320
66 Two Rivers 11,499 19 173  607
39 Verona 11,408 6 181  419
124 Watertown 23,995 94 472  1,203
75 Waukesha 70,988 90 1,327  731
31 Waunakee 12,829 10 142  372
129 Waupaca 6,036 29 183  1,390
35 Waupun 11,279 10 132  399
109 Wausau 39,176 85 970  1,017
116 Wauwatosa 47,273 59 1,632  1,070
135 West Allis 60,830 196 2,851  1,814
77 West Bend 31,666 18 876  738
20 Whitefish Bay 14,145 3 193  322
79 Whitewater 14,541 31 242  745
102 Wisconsin Rapids 18,170 10 712  940

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