Looked at as a whole — from the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers across the state to Lake Michigan, from Lake Superior and the Menominee River down to the Illinois line — Wisconsin appears safer than it was five years ago.
Overall crime (so-called Group A crimes, which include assault, robbery, rape, homicide, theft, arson and human trafficking) was down 11% from 2017 to 2021. There was a notable 17% decrease in property crime in the state over that period, while violent crime remained essentially unchanged, down a little under 1%.
But Wisconsin’s crime trends in essence reveal two different states: the city of Milwaukee (and other select urban areas) and the “Rest of Wisconsin.” While most of the state is relatively safe in comparison to five years ago, troubling trends in Milwaukee — one of the primary economic engines of the Badger State and home to 10% of its citizens — are undermining the health and safety of the state in general.
This analysis gives a picture of the state as a whole but also parses the data to gain more local and time-specific views for a variety of crimes. In doing so, it will enable both state and local officials to make the decisions necessary to ensure everyone in every part of Wisconsin is safe and in a position to prosper.