Prefer to avoid being a victim of crime? Nod your head yes.
Want to see if you’re living in a shady town? Of course!
Check out our list of the safest places in Wisconsin and explore the data for OVER 140 towns embedded in the map down below.
Cheese and Badgers
Lead miners in the 19th century often took refuge in holes they dug, hence earning the nickname “badgers”. Most of the early European settlers migrated over from the northeast mining, farming, and developing real estate to support the growing population.
With cool summers and cold winters, some parts of Wisconsin averaging over 13 feet of snow.
Manufacturing and agriculture are major industries currently, with other large employers in service industries. After a long Democratic stent, the state swung conservative in 2010, giving Republicans control of the governorship and both houses.
How we ranked the cities
To come up with the safest cities in Wisconsin, we:
- started with reported crime data collected and published by the FBI for 2014 (the latest year available)
- filtered out tiny towns (under 5,000 people)
- looked at crime rates per 1,000 residents
- weighted violent crimes more than property crimes to establish a final, composite score
- ranked the towns based on that score
Of course, other factors go into the best places to live, but a low crime rate seems like a reasonable place to start!
That brings up another point, there is a delay in the data for it to get compiled, normalized, and released by the FBI. So, the 2014 data that we had available does lag reality by a bit. And unfortunately, not all localities report this data, so some nice places may have been left out.
If you think that’s the case, leave a comment below and tell us why your town deserves to be on the list.
#1 Freedom, the Safest City in Wisconsin
Freedom Wisconsin is found in the county of Outagamie southwest of Green Bay. James Andrew Jackson was the first non-native settler in Freedom. He arrived in 1830 and attended the first meeting in the county. People present at the meeting wanted to name the town Jackson, but he wanted it to be named Freedom. The reason he chose this name because he was African American and coming to this town provided him his freedom. Another interesting thing about this town is that the first winery in the county opened here in the year 2000, and it contains one of ten drive in theaters found within Wisconsin.
#2 Hobart-Lawrence, WI
Hobart is found within Brown County. This small village is part of the Green Bay Metropolitan Statistical Area and a small portion of it is partly unincorporated census-designated place (named Oneida).
Until 2002, the village of Hobart was known as the Town of Hobart. Hobart is known for its natural beauty and friendly atmosphere. It’s a village full of both family and small town American values.
It's OK to brag . . . just don't overdo it!
#3 Oconomowoc Town, WI
Oconomowoc is a town located in Waukesha County. The Potawatomi term for “waterfall” is responsible for the town’s name. Before the year 1700, the area was inhabited by these people, and it is rumored that Sauk Indian chief, Black Hawk, had a campsite here. Amable Vacu was the first white person recorded in the town, and others came after 1830.
Students are served by the Oconomowoc Area School District. La Belle Cemetery opened in 1851 and is found within Fowler Park. In 1864, burials were removed from the original site to where the cemetery is now found. The town has a long and complicated history of expansion and networking, but one thing that stays true is the community values are strong.
Don’t Stop Here!
Be sure to tinker with the map below to see all of the data on property and violent crimes for all 62 cities that we ranked to make our list.
#4 Mequon, WI
Mequon is a town found within the county of Ozaukee. The town was originally occupied by Native Americans. Potawatomi could be found west of the Milwaukee River and Menominee between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan. European trappers, explorers, and traders alike would travel the Milwaukee River through the middle of Mequon.
People think the town’s name came from the Native-American word “Emikwaan”, which means ladle. Between 1834 and 1836, the land was surveyed in order to create the town, but Mequon wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1957. The first Lutheran church founded in Wisconsin was built here in 1840.
Around half of the land found within the city limits is undeveloped or farmlands. Temperature fluctuates greatly between seasons, with the coldest average being 11 degrees and the hottest being 81 degrees. The town is one of natural beauty and contains numerous parks and recreation opportunities for its residents. The city was listed as 29 on the 100 best small cities in the U.S. in 2005 by CNN’s Money Magazine.
#5 Grand Rapids, WI
Grand Rapids is found in Wood County. Lake Wazeecha and the unincorporated community of Kelliner are both found in Grand Rapids. The town gets its name from a series of rapids found along the Wisconsin River and the northern part is three miles of what used to be known as the “Indian Strip. This area was sold by the Menominee Indians to the U.S in 1836 as part of the Treaty of the Cedars. In 1840, a crew from the government surveyed a section of the lands and produced the first description of the area as follows:
There is hardly any good land in this Township. A succession of Rapids & rocky chutes called the Grand Rapids have two Extensive lumbering Establishments thereon, owned by Bloomer Chambalain, Adams Strong Hill & others, now in operation – the Hydraulic Power is capable of being increased. Several large Pine Groves are found in this Township.
The first general description of the entire town came after a crew surveyed the entire town in 1851, and was as follows:
The character of the land varies very considerably in this Town but none of it can rank above thirdrate. The Southern Portion consists of pine barrens, the timber mostly gone & grown up in Blk Oak bushes. The timber is principally pine of the variety known as Pitch, Bastard or Blk Pine, of very little use either for fuel or lumber. The north part of the Town is principally Marsh very wet & entirely unfit for cultivation. Large portions of the marshes are covered with Cranberry vines which every alternate year produce large crops.
Although the land wasn’t any good, apparently the law enforcement has been.
#6 Muskego, WI
Muskego is located within Waukesha County, and is the fifth largest community within the county. Muskego is derived from “Mus-kee-Guaac”, a Potawatomi Indian name meaning sunfish. Potawatomi Indians originally inhabited the area, and the town contains three lakes within its limits.
Muskego was incorporated in 1964, after spending time as an agricultural area. After becoming a city, it included Tess Corners and Durham Hill (unincorporated communities). Now, it is a bedroom community for Milwaukee.
Muskego Beach Amusement Park, which closed in 1977, was once known for the world’s fastest roller coaster. The park closed because an eleven year old little boy fell out of a Ferris wheel in the park and died. Students attend school in the Muskego-Norway School District.
#7 Fox Point, WI
Fox Point is located within Milwaukee County along the North Shore of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. There is a small point that extends into Lake Michigan, which gives Fox Point its name. The town is also where the River Point Village Shopping Center is located.
Students are served by Fox Point – Bayside School District and the Maple Dale-Indian Hills School District, both of which go to Nicolet High School. The Chipstone Foundation headquarters are located within Fox Point, promoting knowledge of American material culture. There are plenty of recreation, park, and cultural opportunities as well.
#8 Lake Mills, WI
Lake Mills is located within Jefferson County and is partially within the Town of Lake Mills. Captain Joseph Keyes first settled the area and named it Lake Mills. He chose this name due to a saw mill and grist mill that operated using power from Rock Lake.
The town was chartered in 1836; the first building was built in 1837. Lake Mills is located on the east Shore of Rock Lake. The village of Lake Mills was incorporated in 1852 out of the town of Lake Mills; making two separate communities, the town of Lake mills and the Village of Lake Mills.
#9 Sturtevant, WI
Sturtevant is located within Racine County. Originally known as Parkersville, Western Union Junction and Corliss, the name Sturtevant was chosen in 1923 because the B.F. Sturtevant Company relocated here from Massachusetts.
The name Parkersville came after early settlers known as the Parker Family, and Coriliss referred to the Brown Corliss Engine Company found within Milwaukee. The Western Union Junction Railroad Museum and Sturtevant Amtrak Station provide points of interest and historical value for the town.
#10 Cedarburg, WI
Cedarburg is located within Ozaukee County north of Milwaukee and near Lake Michigan. There are numerous buildings in the town that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The combined individual sites and historic buildings total 216 buildings. Cedar Creek can be found running through the city.
Joseph Gardenier was the first person to settle hear and built a log shanty on Cedar Creek. In 1844, the town was named Cedarburg and development began. The town boasts small town living with numerous attractions such as an art museum, multiple wineries, and a performing arts center.
Hi, I’m Jody. I graduated with honors with a Masters of Science in Computer Engineering and have over 15 years of experience working as an engineer with electronics products. I’m a lifelong learner and tinkerer and enjoy automating things around the house so I can solve bigger problems than getting out of bed to check if the garage door is closed . . . like too little sleep!