Special Report

How the Violent Crime Rate in Wisconsin Compares to Other States

Violent crime — a broad category of offenses that includes rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide — is on the rise in the United States. According to FBI data, there were a total of 1.3 million violent offenses reported in 2020, or 388 for every 100,000 people — a 5% increase from 2019.

The uptick was led by a spike in homicide. The number of murders surged by nearly 30%, from 16,669 in 2019 to 21,570 in 2020, the largest year-over-year increase on record. The spike in murders came during a year of national turmoil marked by coronavirus lockdowns, mass protests against police misconduct, and a sharp rise in gun sales. These are the states buying the most guns.

Despite the increase, the national violent crime rate remains well below the highs reported in the 1990s. Still, crime is ultimately a local phenomenon, and in some parts of the country, violence is much more common than in others.

There were 18,861 violent crimes reported in Wisconsin in 2020 — or 323 for every 100,000 people, the fourth lowest violent crime rate in the Midwest and 20th lowest nationwide.

Though violent crime is less common across Wisconsin than it is nationwide, there are parts of the state where this is not the case. The Milwaukee metropolitan area’s violent crime rate — at 678 incidents for every 100,000 residents — far exceeds the national rate.

All crime data used in this story is from the FBI and is for the year 2020.

 

Rank State Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 2020 Total violent crimes, 2020 Total homicides, 2020 1-yr. change in violent crime rate (%)
50 Maine 108.6 1,466 22 -5.7
49 New Hampshire 146.4 2,000 12 -4.0
48 Vermont 173.4 1,081 14 -14.3
47 Connecticut 181.6 6,459 140 -1.1
46 New Jersey 195.4 17,353 329 -5.6
45 Virginia 208.7 17,925 524 0.3
44 Rhode Island 230.8 2,440 32 4.4
43 Wyoming 234.2 1,364 18 7.8
42 Idaho 242.6 4,432 41 8.4
41 Hawaii 254.2 3,576 41 -11.0
40 Kentucky 259.1 11,600 323 19.3
39 Utah 260.7 8,471 102 10.6
38 Minnesota 277.5 15,698 190 17.4
37 Mississippi 291.2 8,638 315 4.8
36 Oregon 291.9 12,380 125 2.6
35 Washington 293.7 22,596 301 -0.1
34 Iowa 303.5 9,601 111 13.9
33 Ohio 308.8 36,104 820 5.3
32 Massachusetts 308.8 21,288 160 -5.7
31 Wisconsin 323.4 18,861 308 10.3
30 North Dakota 329.0 2,518 32 15.6
29 Nebraska 334.1 6,473 69 11.0
28 West Virginia 355.9 6,352 117 12.4
27 Indiana 357.7 24,161 505 -3.6
26 New York 363.8 70,339 808 1.4
25 Florida 383.6 83,368 1,290 1.4
24 Pennsylvania 389.5 49,793 1,009 27.1
23 Maryland 399.9 24,215 553 -12.0
22 Georgia 400.1 42,850 943 17.4
21 North Carolina 419.3 44,451 852 12.8
20 Colorado 423.1 24,570 294 11.1
19 Kansas 425.0 12,385 100 3.5
18 Illinois 425.9 53,612 1,151 4.7
17 Delaware 431.9 4,262 73 2.2
16 California 442.0 174,026 2,203 0.2
15 Texas 446.5 131,084 1,931 6.6
14 Alabama 453.6 22,322 471 -11.2
13 Oklahoma 458.6 18,255 296 6.2
12 Nevada 460.3 14,445 180 -6.8
11 Montana 469.8 5,077 54 16.0
10 Michigan 478.0 47,641 754 9.3
9 Arizona 484.8 35,980 513 6.5
8 South Dakota 501.4 4,476 40 25.7
7 South Carolina 530.7 27,691 549 3.8
6 Missouri 542.7 33,385 723 9.6
5 Louisiana 639.4 29,704 734 16.4
4 Arkansas 671.9 20,363 321 14.9
3 Tennessee 672.7 46,328 663 13.0
2 New Mexico 778.3 16,393 164 -6.5
1 Alaska 837.8 6,126 49 -3.4