The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report.
Wisconsin’s 20 Safest Cities of 2021
Here are the 10 safest cities in Wisconsin for 2021
1. Waterford Town
3. Oconomowoc Town
6. Grand Rapids
7. Cottage Grove
8. Geneva Town
10. Whitefish Bay
See if your city made the full list.
Wisconsinites don’t spend a lot of time worrying about crime and safety. The Badger State boasts lower crime rates than the national average, and its safest cities enjoy some of the lowest reported crime numbers in the country.
2021 Wisconsin crime rates
Wisconsin’s violent crime rate is 22% below the national rate of 3.7 incidents per 1,000 people. The Badger State is tied with Ohio for the lowest violent crime rate in the region and also claims the lowest regional property crime rate.
The property crime rate in Wisconsin is 30% lower than the national rate—14.7 incidents per 1,000 people, compared to 21.1 nationwide. Both violent and property crime have been on the decline for the last three years.
Level of concern and experience with crime in Wisconsin
Wisconsin matches the national average when it comes to daily concern about crime and safety, but when it comes to specific crime issues, Wisconsin is less concerned about every issue except gun violence.
Even though Wisconsin is on par with the national level of daily concern (47%), year over year the state saw a jump of 15%—from 41% to 47%. And fewer Wisconsin respondents say they feel safe in their state (48% compared to 55% nationwide). Surprisingly, this climb in concern coincides with lower crime rates and fewer reports of personal experiences with crime.
Violent crime experiences are four percentage points ahead of the national average, but four points behind what the state reported last year. There was a 10-point dip in property crime experiences this year, putting Wisconsin just under the national reporting average of 18%.
Crime concerns in Wisconsin
We asked Wisconsin residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Wisconsinites are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2021 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in Wisconsin: Fear vs. reality
Violent crime decreased for the third consecutive year, and only 35% of Wisconsin survey respondents say they’re worried about falling victim to a violent crime.
- Wisconsin’s violent crime rate has fallen 9% since 2019.
- Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime in America and in Wisconsin, making up 68% of all reported violent crimes in the US, the state, and its safest cities.
- Murder is more prevalent in Wisconsin’s safest cities than in the rest of the state. Homicide made up 4% of all violent crime in the safest cities, but just 1% of all violent crime statewide.
- Robbery is the least-common violent crime among the safest cities, with only 1 reported.
- 39% of survey respondents worry most about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%).
- Wisconsin had 10 mass shooting incidents in 2020—7 more than the previous year.
- Officer-involved shootings decreased year over year, from 34 to 32.
- 37% worry about police violence daily (US 40%) and 58% have confidence in law enforcement (US 56%).
- 22% use a personal safety device like a stun gun or pepper spray (US 34%).
- 48% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Property crime in Wisconsin: Fear vs. reality
Property crime in Wisconsin has been on the decline for the past three years. And even though property crime is the most-concerning crime issue, Wisconsinites’s level of concern is one percentage point lower than the national average of 42%.
- Since 2019, the property crime rate has dropped 19%.
- Wisconsin’s property crime rate is 30% below the national average of 21.1.
- Burglaries are less common in Wisconsin, making up 15% of all property crime compared to 16% nationwide. In the safest cities that percentage drops to 9%.
- Larceny-theft is the most prevalent property crime in Wisconsin, making up 77% of all property crime compared to 73% nationwide.
- 19% reported a package theft in the past 12 months, just 1 percentage point behind the national average of 20%.
- 50% of survey respondents use some form of property protection (US 62%) with security cams leading the way at 24%.
- 28% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
A closer look at the safest cities in Wisconsin
For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
- 162 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Waterford Town is the new safest city in Wisconsin, topping the list with 0 reported violent crimes, and just 24 reported property crimes.
- No city reported more than 10 total violent crimes. Hobart-Lawrence had the most with only 8.
- 4 cities reported just 1 violent crime: Edgerton, Campbell Township, Berlin, and Saukville.
- The violent crime rate among the safest cities is a mere 0.3 incidents per 1,000 people—90% below the statewide rate of 2.9.
- Mukwonago Town reported the lowest number of property crimes with only 5 incidents.
- Whitefish Bay reported the most property crimes (145) but had the fourth-highest property crime rate per capita.
- The average property crime rate among the safest cities is 6.4 incidents per 1,000—56% below the statewide rate of 14.7.
How we determined the safest cities
Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Didn't find your city in the top 20?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.
NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2019.
VC per 1,000
PC per 1,000
|37||Town of East Troy||4.06K||1.0||2.2|
|52||Prairie du Chien||5.64K||0.7||14.5|
|56||Fox Valley Metro||22.19K||1.1||3.9|
|70||North Fond du Lac||5.10K||1.4||5.7|
|130||Town of Madison||6.93K||2.3||20.6|
|143||Fond du Lac||42.95K||3.1||18.6|
Find the safest cities in each state
Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.
Related articles on SafeWise
FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.
Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.
Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.
For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.