10 Most Dangerous Cities In Wisconsin


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Badger State for 2019.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our fifth time ranking the most dangerous places to live in Wisconsin and is updated for 2019.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Wisconsin?

We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.

No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Wisconsin — and anyone looking to move to Wisconsin — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.

Here are the 10 most dangerous cities in Wisconsin for 2019:

  1. Ashland (Photos)
  2. Milwaukee (Photos)
  3. Brown Deer (Photos)
  4. Beloit (Photos)
  5. West Allis (Photos)
  6. Shawano (Photos)
  7. La Crosse (Photos)
  8. Madison (Photos)
  9. Antigo (Photos)
  10. Rice Lake (Photos)

So what is the most dangerous city in Wisconsin? After analyzing 141 cities in Wisconsin, Ashland takes the top spot as the most dangerous city in Wisconsin based on the most recent FBI data.

For a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on.

Or learn more about the safest places in Wisconsin.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Wisconsin

Most Dangerous Cities In Wisconsin Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019

Ashland, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,915
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 429 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,535 (5th most dangerous)
More on Ashland:  Data | Photos

Ashland ranks as the 1st most dangerous city in Wisconsin. It ranks 5th for violent crime and 5th for property crime (both per capita).

Being a port city on Lake Superior, Ashland will get a fair amount of crime as a result of people passing through.

Overall, you had about a 1 in 20.1 chance of being the victim of crime in 2017.

Review Of Ashland by HomeSnacks User

I’ve lived in the greater Chequamegon Bay area for over 13 years. I lived in Ashland 5 of those years as a college student. Northland College is a really sweet little liberal arts school and I loved and value my experience there. My experience as a resident of Ashland is another story. In the 5 years I lived there, my home and vehicle were broken into on separate occasions, my car was egged in the dead of winter during extreme cold, making it impossible to get the egg off in a timely manner. I witnessed or was privy to numerous acts of bigotry and violence, including an attack on a friend on his way home late one night that left him lying half conscious in the street and resulting in multiple surgeries to repair his orbital bone and save his eye. The last thing he remembers hearing was something about how he was just a”dirty hippy”. No one was charged. I worked in the school district and experienced an active shooter lock down due to a domestic dispute between a teacher and her estranged husband. I could go on. This little city on the beautiful shore of Lake Superior is being strangled by drug and poverty issues and racial tensions. This is exacerbated by residents who are resistant to change and who in many case refuse to support their greater community and schools. I chose to move outside the Ashland area, despite the lower cost of living offered there.

The lake shore path is lovely. Great Co-op, coffee house and bakery. Artesian well for fresh water. Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center is definitely worth a stop if you are passing through.

Milwaukee, WI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 595,168
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,597 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,792 (11th most dangerous)
More on Milwaukee:  Data | Photos

Milwaukee ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in Wisconsin. And while that’s probably not a major surprise to that many people (big cities are naturally more crime prone for a variety of reasons), it’s how the data plays out.

So that makes this just as good a time as any to say that even though Milwaukee ranks as having the highest violent crime rate in the state, it’s really not all that “dangerous”. You see, your chance of being a victim of a violent crime is only about 1 in 62 and those odds go down further the more common sense you use.

So while there might be some more violent parts of town, overall, the quality of life can be quite high in one of the most dangerous cities in Wisconsin.

Review Of Milwaukee by HomeSnacks User

The police here are a joke not enough officers in this city crime is out of hand in Milwaukee people drive crazy,run red lights, stop signs its a joke if you have a car better have full coverage on it. People are robbing people everywhere here. Its crazy if you call the police it might take 4 hrs to see tjem if they come at all.

The good things are out weighed by the bad here its so unlawful here the government needs to take a look at upgrading the law here and the roads here in Milwaukee are the worst in the country holes everywhere you need 4×4 to drive here

Brown Deer, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 12,015
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 341 (11th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,277 (7th most dangerous)
More on Brown Deer:  Data | Photos

Brown Deer has more problems — namely crime. It’s the 3rd most dangerous city in Wisconsin.

Statistically, 1 in 293 people in Brown Deer was the victim of a rape, attack or outright killed in 2017. That’s a really large number.

And that’s just residents who actually reported a crime. Chances are it was even higher than that.

Beloit, WI

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 36,724
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 424 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,033 (17th most dangerous)
More on Beloit:  Data | Photos

In this case, Beloit finished as the 4th most dangerous place in the Badger State.

Violent crime is the bigger issue as the city ranks 6th overall for violent crime, but 17th for property crime.

West Allis, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 60,043
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 341 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,404 (14th most dangerous)
More on West Allis:  Data | Photos

West Allis, a big suburb of Milwaukee, ranks as the 5th most dangerous city in Wisconsin according to the FBI data.

The city ranks as having the 14th highest property crime rank and 10th highest violent crime rank in the Badger State.

It’s quite possible that being the host of the Wisconsin State Fair Park can impact the rate of crime in the city — it’ll increase the amount of crime while keeping the population that actually lives there constant.

Shawano, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,014
Rank Last Year: 31 (Up 25)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 266 (23rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,069 (4th most dangerous)
More on Shawano:  Data | Photos

Shawano isn’t the worst in state in terms of either violent or property crime statistics, but bad rankings in each earn it the title of the 6th most dangerous city in the Badger State.

The good news is that instances of property crime dropped between 2015-17, but the bad news is that violent crime rose in the same time period.

That left Shawano residents with a 1 in 375 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, making the city the 23rd most violent place in Wisconsin.

La Crosse, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 52,234
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 268 (22nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,148 (8th most dangerous)
More on La Crosse:  Data | Photos

La Crosse ranks as the 7th most dangerous city in Wisconsin. It ranks 22nd for violent crime and 8th for property crime (both per capita).

Overall, you had about a 1 in 22.6 chance of being the victim of crime in 2017.

Madison, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 255,850
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 374 (9th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,662 (24th most dangerous)
More on Madison:  Data | Photos

While you might think of college sports when you Madison, all those extra students will increase the rate of crime.

Madison has the 9th highest violent crime rate in Wisconsin and the 24th highest property crime rate.

Review Of Madison by HomeSnacks User

I’m not sure how the crime is because I’m not in Madison enough to know. The schools seem to be decent which I only know because I have cousins that live there. There is lots to do in Madison so that’s why I like going there from time to time. The also offer free things to do like go to the zoo which is really nice.

My favorite places to go are the disc golf courses that are around and in the Madison area. My husband and I really enjoy going disc golfing and there is multiple places to choose from which is really nice.

Antigo, WI

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,807
Rank Last Year: 36 (Up 27)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 230 (35th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,353 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Antigo:  Data | Photos

Antigo is the 35th most violent city, with residents facing a 1 in 433 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.

Progress has been made in recent years, however, reflected by a 12% drop in violent crime, and an 11% drop in property crime between 2015-17.

Review Of Antigo by HomeSnacks User

I live in Antigo. We should be ranked much higher than 9th worst.

Rice Lake, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,406
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 380 (8th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,545 (29th most dangerous)
More on Rice Lake:  Data | Photos

Though there has been a modest drop in violent crimes, the alarming increase in property crime from 2015-17indicates that Rice Lake isn’t satisfied with being at the bottom of this list.

Rice Lake residents had a 1 in 262 chance of a violent crime, while having a 1 in 39.3 chance of a property crime, 8th and 29th in the state, respectively.

Review Of Rice Lake by HomeSnacks User

Well, I think we have a WI hater here. Sounds like you think we only live in the summer here. I am over 60 and there is so much to do here in the winter also including awesome snowsports and ICE FISHING which is one of the best sports ever! If you do not know the peace and friendliness of our great state, you need to visit here.

I have lived in Rice Lake all my life and love this city and northwest WI. Perhaps your crime data is because we have an awesome police force here and they stay on top of it. Many residents don’t even lock their doors here and have never been robbed! Imagine that! This is a beautiful area to live and I do agree that our wages could be higher, but this city Rice Lake is lucky enough to be the beginning edge of G*d’s country which many people from other states love to come to visit and eventually move here.

How Is Your Town In ?

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Wisconsin for 2019?

Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.

For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.

So what criteria did we use? Have a look:

  • Violent Crimes Per Capita
  • Property Crimes Per Capita

In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 141 cities in Wisconsin.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 141 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Wisconsin — Ashland.

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Wisconsin.

Locking It All Up In Wisconsin

The latest FBI crime data shows that Ashland ranks as the most dangerous city in Wisconsin for 2019.

We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Ashland and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.

If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Wisconsin:

  1. Cedarburg (Pop. 11,529)
  2. Grand Rapids (Pop. 7,392)
  3. Freedom (Pop. 6,132)

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Wisconsin?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Ashland 7,915 429 4,535
2 Milwaukee 595,168 1,597 3,792
3 Brown Deer 12,015 341 4,277
4 Beloit 36,724 424 3,033
5 West Allis 60,043 341 3,404
6 Shawano 9,014 266 5,069
7 La Crosse 52,234 268 4,148
8 Madison 255,850 374 2,662
9 Antigo 7,807 230 6,353
10 Rice Lake 8,406 380 2,545

About Chris Kolmar

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 or his website.