Wisconsin is filled with happy cows, happy people, and super safe, happy places to live.
And here at HomeSnacks, we wanted to know just how safe is America's Dairyland? More importantly, where, exactly, are the safest cities in The Badger State? So, we consulted the numbers. We looked at important factors like property crimes and violent crimes per capita for every place with over 5,000 residents. In total, we analyzed 140 cities.
We discovered that Wisconsin's violent crime and property crime numbers are way below the national average. Probably why they're the 16th safest and the 13th best state in the country, right? But, folks, this doesn't come without a cost. Wisconsin does get a lot of snow and Wisconsin dairy farmers do expect you to eat a lot of cheese. So, if you don't like everything dairy, and/or snow, you might want to consider Alaska.
More importantly, however, we discovered that there are crazy safe, super cool places in Wisconsin for every budget. For instance, Wisconsin has safe college towns like Madison, hip, safe places like Appleton for professionals just starting out, and great, safe, family friendly places like Oconomowoc.
And don't get us started on how Wisconsin is always looking out for the safety of their residents. The Greenbay Packers make their fans wear a cheese cushion on their head for all of their games in case one should get hit by a flying football and they've created roads solely for the purpose of snowmobile travel.
Want to know more? Grab a basket of fried cheese curds, a chocolate shake, find a sunny spot on one of their 15,000 lakes, and read on.
It's not lost on us that some of Wisconsin's safest places are also some of their best places to live. Wisconsin has a lot to offer; not only in safety, but by way of great schools, jobs, amenities, and down-to-earth hospitality. Unfortunately, there can be only one number one safest place to live in Wisconsin for 2021 and that would be Oconomowoc Town.
Take a look at the list below to see the cities that gave Oconomowoc Town a run for their money. And if you don't see your favorite Wisconsin city in the top ten, head to the bottom of the page.
For more reading on safe places to live in and around Wisconsin, check out:
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 34 (eighth safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 194 (second safest)
More on Oconomowoc Town:
In southeast Wisconsin lays a gem of a town, Oconomowoc, the safest in Wisconsin.
Sure we could focus on the really low property crime rate and solid violent crime rates, instead we're gonna focus on the name.
Oconomowoc is in Waukesha County making it, and this is science, probably one of the hardest, longest names to say in America. I don't even know where to start -- Ocon-mo-woc? Help? Anyone?
I'm guessing it's probably in some way related to a Native American tribe that's from the area.
Rank Last Year: -
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 0 (safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 368 (ninth safest)
More on Waterford Town:
The Fox River runs through the heart of Waterford, Wisconsin, providing a gorgeous centerpiece to the town's numerous parks. But that supplies only part of the area's draw. Watertown also ranks as the number 2 safest locales in Wisconsin.
The town of 6,505 people suffered 24 property crimes during the year. That figure included 4 burglaries and 2 cars stolen. Those number produce a per-capita rate of 368/100k people. Meanwhile, Waterford saw 0 violent crimes during a year.
Waterford sits about 40 minutes outside of Milwaukee, the state's biggest city. The area's median income is $64613 and the unemployment rate is 3.32%. The median home price stands at $187550.
Muskego may not have been in the top ten in either property or violent crime in Wisconsin, but solid rankings in each gives the city the title of third safest in the state.
With a property crime rate three times lower than the national average, there's very little chance of someone robbing your day's catch after fishing at Muskego Lake. On top of that, Muskego had roughly twenty times less violent crime than the national average. It's not hard to see how the crime category helped land Muskego on our list of best places to raise a family in Wisconsin.
Muskego is located about 20 miles southwest of Milwaukee.
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 40 (12th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 297 (fifth safest)
More on Grand Rapids:
If you were thinking of Grand Rapids, MI you need to flip that M upside down for this list as Grand Rapids, WI is the fourth safest spot in Wisconsin.
You know you can trust your neighbors and friends as there were a total of 0 murders here. In fact, there were a total of 0 violent crimes here in the last reporting year which is pretty amazing for a city of this size.
Grand Rapids is located right in the middle of Wisconsin -- the heartland of the heartland if you will.
Found in the southern part of the state, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, acts as a suburb for the nearby capital of Madison. That prime location makes the town an excellent home base for commuters. It also doesn't hurt that the town of 7,203 people ranks the number 5 safest spot in Wisconsin.
Violent crime is almost nonexistent in Cottage Grove. There were just 3 such violations during the year. Property crime is rare as well, with that figure totaling 22. The overall crime rate sits at 347/100k people.
Cottage Grove has a median income of $99322. The unemployment rate sits at 3.84% and the median home price hovers at $277500.
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 51 (17th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 284 (fourth safest)
More on Hobart-Lawrence:
Hobart-Lawrence has a hyphenated name because it's kinda like a modern family -- it's a combination of Hobart and Lawrence that the FBI combines together for reporting purposes. And so there's really two cities that can claim the honor of 8th safest in Wisconsin.
While the violent crime rate is better than average, the cities really shine when it comes to property crime -- the fourth safest in the state.
Make sure to check out T.Bacon's BBQ in Hobart -- the best ranked place on Yelp. Or Lawrence University in Lawrence as that's the only thing that came up there in our quick Google search.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 39 (11th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 376 (tenth safest)
More on Geneva Town:
You might mistake yourself for being in Switzerland when you enter Geneva, but, no, you're only in Wisconsin.
Much like Geneva Switzerland, you can expect to be safe and cold.
Located in the very south of Wisconsin, it ranks as the tenth safest for property crime and 11th safest violent crime. It also managed to break the top ten for the second year in a row.
During World War II, Waupun, Wisconsin, served as a POW camp for captured German soldiers. Despite this militaristic footnote, life in the town of 11,315 people could hardly be more tranquil these days. Waupun sits at number 8 on the list of Wisconsin's safest population areas.
Located along highway 151, between Fond du Lac and the state capital of Madison, Waupun is centrally located among the population centers of the state. Still, Waupun retains its rural charm, sitting near the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge.
More than its location, though, Waupun makes its name on its safety record. The town had just 62 property crimes and 3 violent crimes during a year. That corresponds to a tiny overall crime rate of 574/100k people.
In terms of its economic situation, Waupun has a median income of $56587 and a median home price of $120600.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 61 (26th safest)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 61 (safest)
More on Mukwonago Town:
it seems like just yesterday that Mukwonago broke into the top ten safest places in Wisconsin and look at it now -- it sits at ninth statewide.
Sticking to the area of Wisconsin familiar to this list, the southeast part of the state seems to be the place to live to avoid crime. While violent crime in the city isn't as low as some of the others in the top ten, the city knocks it out of the park for property crime -- the safest in the state.
And if there is any crime in the city, then you'll know that Eric Szmanda, of CSI fame, will come home to help catch you.
Located about as far east as you can be in Wisconsin without ending up in Lake Michigan, Cedarburg ranked tenth for 2021.
Not only is Cedarburg safe, but it's also one of the best places to live in Wisconsin. Scoring an even 10 out of 10 in our snackability score, that places it in the top 5% of places in America.
The city is also extremely well educated as over 50% of the population has at least a BA.
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn't want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI's most recent report of crime (Published Sept 2020) in Wisconsin.Specifically, we analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used two criteria:
For example, there were a total of 20 crimes committed in Oconomowoc Town which had a reported population of 8,741. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.0023 which translates into a 1 in 437 chance of being the victim of a crime.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people reported to the FBI in 2019, the last reporting year. This left us with a total of 140 of the biggest cities in Wisconsin to rank.
We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 140 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.
Next, we averaged each places two criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score "The Safest Place In Wisconsin" with any ties going to the bigger city. You can download the data here.
The safest city in Wisconsin, based on our criteria, is Oconomowoc Town. The most dangerous city in Wisconsin? Beloit, where residents had a 1 in 29 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city's population.
Looking at the data, you can tell that Oconomowoc Town is as safe as they come, according to science and data.
But as most Wisconsin residents would agree, almost every place here has its safe and not safe parts. So just make sure you're informed ahead of time.
Here's a look at the most dangerous cities in Wisconsin according to the data:
|Rank||City||Population||Violent Crimes Per 100k||Property Crimes Per 100k|
|1||Oconomowoc Town, WI||8,741||34||194|
|2||Waterford Town, WI||6,505||0||368|
|4||Grand Rapids, WI||7,405||40||297|
|5||Cottage Grove, WI||7,203||41||305|
|7||Geneva Town, WI||5,045||39||376|
|9||Mukwonago Town, WI||8,167||61||61|
Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.
He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.
If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.
You can find out more about him on LinkedIn.
HomeSnacks is based in Durham, NC.
We aim to deliver bite-sized pieces of infotainment about where you live.
We use data, analytics, and a sense of humor to determine quality of life for places across the nation.