Crime in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's crime rate

There were 107,862 crimes reported in Wisconsin in 2018, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Wisconsin's crime rate is 1,855 crimes per 100,000 residents.

How does Wisconsin compare?

Crime is less common in Wisconsin than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,580 per 100,000 people is 39% higher. Of the 50 states, 40 have a higher crime rate than Wisconsin.

Crime rates nationwide range from 1,422 per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 4,276 per 100,000 in New Mexico, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates, respectively.

Here are the crime rates for all 50 states.

What types of crimes are being committed?

The FBI's crime rate includes seven crime categories: three property crimes -- larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, and four violent crimes -- aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

Property crime

The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2018. This share was roughly the same in Wisconsin, with property crimes accounting for 84% of all crimes reported in the state.

There were 90,686 property crimes reported in Wisconsin in 2018, or 1,560 per 100,000 residents. This is far lower than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the tenth lowest rate of the 50 states.

Larceny

Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,217,055 reported incidents nationwide in 2018 accounted for 72% of all property crime. Wisconsin's rate of 1,169 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,595 per 100,000 and is the ninth lowest among states.

Burglary

An estimated 14,099 break-ins were reported in Wisconsin in 2018, or 243 per 100,000 state residents -- the 10th lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,230,149 break-ins nationwide, or 376 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle theft

Across the U.S., there were 748,841 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2018, a rate of 229 per 100,000 people. Wisconsin's rate of 149 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 14th lowest rate compared to all states.

Violent crime

Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In Wisconsin, violent crimes account for 16% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.

While Wisconsin has the 10th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 21st lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 295 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 381 per 100,000. There were 17,176 violent crimes reported to Wisconsin law enforcement agencies in 2018.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 807,410 aggravated assaults in 2018, accounting for 65% of violent crimes across the country. In Wisconsin, 11,263 aggravated assaults were reported in 2018. Wisconsin's rate of aggravated assault of 194 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 247 per 100,000 and is the 21st lowest of all states.

Robbery

Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 3,489 robberies reported in Wisconsin in 2018, or 60 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 86 robberies per 100,000 people, and the 21st lowest robbery rate among states.

Rape

There were 2,248 reported rapes in 2018 in Wisconsin. The state's rate of rape of 38.7 per 100,000 residents is slightly lower than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Wisconsin has the 17th lowest rate of rape.

Murder

In 2018, there were 176 murders reported to law enforcement in Wisconsin. The state’s murder rate of 3.0 per 100,000 residents is lower than the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Wisconsin's murder rate is the 18th lowest in the country.

Where are these crimes being committed?

Because crime is influenced by local circumstances, crime levels vary considerably within each state. Often a state’s dense urban areas will have higher crime rates than its rural areas. Even in a state with an exceptionally low crime rate, there is often at least one area where crime rates exceed the nation.

City with the highest crime rate in Wisconsin

The city with the highest total crime rate in Wisconsin is Glendale, with a crime rate of 8,009 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.

While the city may have the highest total crime rate in the state, the rate is driven by property crime. Therefore, Glendale is likely less dangerous than other cities in the state where more violent crimes are committed.

The most dangerous city in the state is Milwaukee. This city has the highest violent crime rate in Wisconsin, at 1,413 per 100,000 residents, more than four times the statewide rate.

Crime over time

National historical trend

The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This nearly 60-year span, can be divided into three periods. Crime skyrocketed between 1960 and 1980, with the crime rate more than tripling in just 20 years from 1,887 crimes per 100,000 Americans to 5,950 crimes per 100,000 Americans.

Crime remained high in the 1980s and reached its second highest peak in 1991. Since that year, crime has fallen steadily nationwide, reaching its current rate of 2,580 per 100,000, a 56% decline in 27 years.

Wisconsin's historical trend

In 1960, Wisconsin's crime rate was 1,146 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1980 at 4,799 per 100,000, an increase of 319%.

Crime changes 2013-2018

Over the five years since 2013, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 16.8%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 43.6%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 19.0% between 2013 and 2018.

With a decrease of 24.9%, Wisconsin's crime rate has fallen faster than the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 47 states over this time period, but in most of them, it declined slower than in Wisconsin.

How Wisconsin has compared to other states historically

Since 1960, Wisconsin has always had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. Over these 59 years, the state has been among the 10 states with the lowest crime rates in seven of them, but never among the states with the highest crime rates.

All cities in Wisconsin

Here are all Wisconsin cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2018 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.

Click here to see a list of all city crime pages.

Click here to see a list of all state crime pages.