2016 Safest Places in Wisconsin

Contents

by Susan Gulliford

by Susan Gulliford

The Badger State has 5.7 million residents interested in safety. The team at ValuePenguin analyzed the latest FBI Crime Report to determine the safest cities in Wisconsin. These 132 communities with at 5,000 residents had crime scores that ranged from 100 to an outlier of 6,059. The average crime score for Wisconsin was 1,150.

Small communities dominate the top five this year. The safest places also have middle-class median household incomes. Only one community was affluent (affluent defined as having a median household income 50% higher than the state’s median). The major takeaway is that safe, affordable communities are available to Badger State residents. You can review the full report here.

5 Safest Places in Wisconsin

These cities have an average final crime score of 201, which was 82% lower than their typical peer in the state. These five are the safest places in Wisconsin.

1. Oconomowoc Town

This community of 8,653 people earned the top rank in this study. It is approximately 37 minutes west of Milwaukee, and there are numerous lakes in this town. Oconomowoc Town is safe for people and their property. It tied for the lowest rate of violent crime, and Oconomowoc Town had the lowest rate of property crime. The police department offers safety tips on its website, house-checks for residents who are away, and boat patrols in spring and summer to keep people safe. The median household income was 33% higher than Wisconsin’s median and the poverty rate was lower than the state’s rate.

2. Freedom

With a population of 5,997, Freedom is the smallest community in the top five. It is approximately 18 miles southwest of Green Bay. The town formed the police department in 1998 to keep people and their property safe. Freedom tied with Oconomowoc Town for the lowest rate of violent crime, and it achieved the fourth-lowest rate of property crime in this study. This community had a median household income 44% higher than Wisconsin’s median and a much lower rate of poverty (4.2% for Freedom versus 13.2% for Wisconsin).

3. Mukwonago Town

Mukwonago Town is approximately 33 minutes from Milwaukee, in Waukesha County. The police department celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016, and it serves a community with the second-lowest rate of property crime for any Wisconsin city. Mukwonago town is an affluent community with a median household income 85% higher than Wisconsin’s median and a very high rate (97%) of owner-occupied homes.

4. Grand Rapids

Despite its small size (population of 7,587), this community has a full service police department that offers services such as home and business checks. The result is very little crime. Grand Rapids had only three violent crimes reported in 2014, and it had the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income in Grand Rapids was $73,208, which goes far in this community because the median home price was only $146,000.

5. Jackson

Jackson’s motto is "Small Town Living/World Class Technology." This village of approximately 6,700 residents located 31 miles north of Milwaukee offers safety to its residents. In addition to a low number of violent crimes, Jackson had the third-lowest rate of property crime. Unlike other communities in this study, the Jackson police department, established in 1912, has a long history of service to its community. The median household income is almost exactly the same as the state’s median ($53,212 for Jackson versus $52,738 for Wisconsin) and the per-capita income and home values are in line with state averages too.

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 the 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.

RankCityCrime Score
1Oconomowoc Town 100
2Freedom 145
3Mukwonago Town 237
4Grand Rapids 240
5Jackson 284
6Kronenwetter 287
7Hobart-Lawrence 320
8Mequon 336
9Cedarburg 367
10Elm Grove 374
11Sturtevant 396
12Richland Center 403
13Oregon 424
14Muskego 429
15Waunakee 443
16Hartland 465
17Port Washington 496
18Portage 509
19Mayville 515
20Twin Lakes 527
21Sheboygan Falls 531
22Altoona 540
23Delavan Town 559
24Cottage Grove 560
25Whitefish Bay 570
26Bloomfield 574
27Town of Menasha 576
28Fox Valley Metro 585
29Holmen 586
30Menomonee Falls 601
31Sturgeon Bay 614
32Grafton 620
33Waupun 626
34Ripon 631
35Fox Point 640
36Deforest 650
37Elkhorn 660
38Milton 679
39Plover 681
40Beloit Town 681
41North Fond du Lac 682
42Hales Corners 686
43Verona 686
44Geneva Town 698
45Evansville 699
46West Salem 715
47Plymouth 726
48Kaukauna 742
49McFarland 746
50Slinger 749
51Middleton 763
52Fort Atkinson 767
53Chippewa Falls 768
54Caledonia 783
55Hartford 784
56Pewaukee Village 799
57Reedsburg 809
58Marshfield 856
59Everest 859
60Burlington 902
61Rothschild 962
62River Falls 977
63Whitewater 977
64Onalaska 986
65Pleasant Prairie 1,002
66Mukwonago 1,015
67Two Rivers 1,018
68St. Francis 1,026
69Prairie du Chien 1,032
70Edgerton 1,035
71Franklin 1,036
72Shorewood 1,058
73Waukesha 1,067
74Neenah 1,068
75New Richmond 1,117
76Delafield 1,134
77Brookfield Township 1,149
78New London 1,165
79Stevens Point 1,167
80Fitchburg 1,181
81Sparta 1,199
82Watertown 1,201
83Beaver Dam 1,214
84Platteville 1,226
85Berlin 1,230
86Sun Prairie 1,247
87Monroe 1,255
88Menasha 1,269
89Baraboo 1,281
90Wausau 1,289
91Marinette 1,297
92Delavan 1,303
93Brookfield 1,315
94Rhinelander 1,343
95South Milwaukee 1,374
96Appleton 1,430
97Mount Pleasant 1,440
98Greenfield 1,442
99Tomah 1,466
100Oshkosh 1,476
101Oak Creek 1,489
102West Bend 1,506
103Menomonie 1,511
104Eau Claire 1,541
105Jefferson 1,544
106Lake Geneva 1,560
107Greendale 1,561
108Lake Hallie 1,580
109Hudson 1,654
110Manitowoc 1,666
111La Crosse 1,764
112Kenosha 1,778
113Wauwatosa 1,811
114Sheboygan 1,823
115Wisconsin Rapids 1,902
116Fond du Lac 1,906
117Grand Chute 1,928
118Brown Deer 2,037
119Janesville 2,049
120Green Bay 2,100
121Antigo 2,124
122Town of Madison 2,237
123Waupaca 2,248
124Beloit 2,268
125Madison 2,273
126Ashland 2,338
127Racine 2,484
128West Allis 2,825
129Glendale 3,015
130Superior 3,378
131Monona 3,672
132Milwaukee 6,059

Year-over-year Change

People want to live in a consistently safe community. Three communities — Oconomowoc Town, Freedom and Grand Rapids — were in the top five in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, Oconomowoc Town was the safest place both years.

The two new entrants to the top five made the top 10 list for safest small communities in 2015. Every community in this year’s top five has a population between 5,000 and 10,000. Last year, five safest places contained a mixture of small, mid-size and large communities.

There are several mid-size and large cities that have strong safety records. Hobart-Lawrence and Cedarburg were the number one and number two safest cities, respectively, in the mid-size category for 2015 and 2016. Also, Mequon and Muskego were the number one and number two safest large cities for both years.

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 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 5,000 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!

RankCityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KPropert Crime per 100KCrime Score
22Altoona 7,141 70 1,120 540
121Antigo 7,952 88 5,093 2,124
96Appleton 73,841 267 1,870 1,430
126Ashland 8,107 382 4,453 2,338
89Baraboo 12,112 74 2,840 1,281
83Beaver Dam 16,384 49 2,686 1,214
124Beloit 36,872 401 3,360 2,268
40Beloit Town 7,641 79 1,440 681
85Berlin 5,468 55 3,072 1,230
26Bloomfield 6,281 96 1,130 574
93Brookfield 38,019 53 2,662 1,315
77Brookfield Township 6,133 82 2,707 1,149
118Brown Deer 12,126 165 4,330 2,037
60Burlington 10,522 48 2,053 902
54Caledonia 24,746 166 1,119 783
9Cedarburg 11,493 - 905 367
53Chippewa Falls 13,733 204 1,041 768
24Cottage Grove 6,546 46 1,283 560
36Deforest 9,482 137 1,086 650
76Delafield 7,172 28 2,830 1,134
92Delavan 10,044 110 2,818 1,303
23Delavan Town 5,331 - 1,501 559
104Eau Claire 67,937 162 2,542 1,541
70Edgerton 5,535 108 2,331 1,035
37Elkhorn 9,936 70 1,369 660
10Elm Grove 5,953 17 924 374
45Evansville 5,148 39 1,729 699
59Everest 17,100 18 1,959 859
80Fitchburg 26,677 281 1,544 1,181
116Fond du Lac 42,953 328 2,801 1,906
52Fort Atkinson 12,506 104 1,455 767
35Fox Point 6,697 119 1,195 640
28Fox Valley Metro 20,650 121 872 585
71Franklin 36,519 44 2,095 1,036
2Freedom 5,997 - 384 145
44Geneva Town 5,043 40 1,725 698
129Glendale 12,929 224 6,435 3,015
32Grafton 11,536 87 1,179 620
117Grand Chute 22,156 90 4,076 1,928
4Grand Rapids 7,587 40 461 240
120Green Bay 104,979 495 2,200 2,100
107Greendale 14,413 62 3,504 1,561
98Greenfield 37,257 145 2,574 1,442
42Hales Corners 7,771 39 1,609 686
55Hartford 14,256 42 1,719 784
16Hartland 9,210 76 869 465
7Hobart-Lawrence 12,408 24 685 320
29Holmen 9,506 116 1,010 586
109Hudson 13,292 135 3,468 1,654
5Jackson 6,739 104 326 284
119Janesville 63,885 254 3,250 2,049
105Jefferson 7,987 213 3,105 1,544
48Kaukauna 15,786 139 1,210 742
112Kenosha 100,025 286 2,412 1,778
6Kronenwetter 7,416 40 580 287
111La Crosse 51,564 198 2,952 1,764
106Lake Geneva 7,726 91 3,650 1,560
108Lake Hallie 6,625 151 3,532 1,580
125Madison 245,788 344 2,839 2,273
110Manitowoc 33,250 223 2,794 1,666
91Marinette 10,926 82 2,883 1,297
58Marshfield 18,668 43 1,832 856
19Mayville 5,034 40 1,232 515
49McFarland 8,183 86 1,564 746
88Menasha 17,639 210 2,149 1,269
30Menomonee Falls 35,997 22 1,231 601
103Menomonie 16,123 254 2,574 1,511
8Mequon 23,389 34 633 336
51Middleton 18,647 64 1,528 763
38Milton 5,568 180 1,096 679
132Milwaukee 600,374 1,476 4,580 6,059
131Monona 7,789 180 8,717 3,672
87Monroe 10,835 166 2,446 1,255
97Mount Pleasant 26,231 57 3,031 1,440
66Mukwonago 7,527 40 2,458 1,015
3Mukwonago Town 8,090 74 309 237
14Muskego 24,654 28 864 429
74Neenah 25,992 146 1,835 1,068
78New London 7,255 303 1,806 1,165
75New Richmond 8,671 150 2,237 1,117
41North Fond du Lac 5,051 139 1,287 682
101Oak Creek 35,138 128 2,763 1,489
1Oconomowoc Town 8,653 - 254 100
64Onalaska 18,437 33 2,180 986
13Oregon 9,788 92 695 424
100Oshkosh 66,962 230 2,139 1,476
56Pewaukee Village 8,228 61 1,799 799
84Platteville 11,419 219 2,146 1,226
65Pleasant Prairie 20,281 104 1,913 1,002
39Plover 12,315 81 1,340 681
47Plymouth 8,380 60 1,611 726
17Port Washington 11,366 106 801 496
18Portage 10,147 168 601 509
69Prairie du Chien 5,757 174 2,050 1,032
127Racine 78,057 397 3,488 2,484
57Reedsburg 9,599 83 1,698 809
94Rhinelander 7,503 107 3,039 1,343
12Richland Center 5,055 20 1,009 403
34Ripon 7,768 129 1,107 631
62River Falls 15,250 85 1,993 977
61Rothschild 5,307 38 2,431 962
114Sheboygan 48,605 321 2,607 1,823
21Sheboygan Falls 7,769 51 1,158 531
72Shorewood 13,381 157 1,936 1,058
50Slinger 5,155 39 1,862 749
95South Milwaukee 21,258 249 2,178 1,374
81Sparta 9,673 279 1,892 1,199
68St. Francis 9,590 94 2,200 1,026
79Stevens Point 26,665 146 2,051 1,167
31Sturgeon Bay 9,084 33 1,420 614
11Sturtevant 6,995 14 972 396
86Sun Prairie 31,240 102 2,366 1,247
130Superior 26,777 284 6,494 3,378
99Tomah 9,376 256 2,666 1,466
122Town of Madison 6,571 807 2,633 2,237
27Town of Menasha 19,019 100 946 576
20Twin Lakes 6,110 49 1,195 527
67Two Rivers 11,485 174 1,811 1,018
43Verona 12,078 58 1,449 686
82Watertown 23,950 234 1,808 1,201
73Waukesha 71,093 127 1,694 1,067
15Waunakee 13,017 92 707 443
123Waupaca 6,020 415 4,286 2,248
33Waupun 11,326 132 1,015 626
90Wausau 39,359 216 1,941 1,289
113Wauwatosa 47,306 161 3,232 1,811
128West Allis 60,764 359 4,471 2,825
102West Bend 31,647 123 2,853 1,506
46West Salem 5,023 119 1,453 715
25Whitefish Bay 14,129 28 1,260 570
63Whitewater 14,820 121 1,856 977
115Wisconsin Rapids 17,959 67 4,204 1,902

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