10 Most Dangerous Cities in Wisconsin 2024: Navigating Danger

Wisconsin Dangers

Once upon a time, the only peril you’d encounter in the land of Wisconsin was the wrath of a Cheesehead, their spirits crushed by a Green Bay Packers defeat. Alas, dear friends, those simpler times have faded into the rearview mirror.

Indeed, Wisconsin now has bigger fish to fry, or should we say, larger whitefish to sizzle. The state, known for its dairy delights, now harbors some rather menacing cities within its borders.

If you’re curious about these shadowy corners of the state, we invite you to peruse the list compiled by the vigilant folks at RoadSnacks, detailing the most treacherous territories in Wisconsin for the year 2024.

How did we unravel this mystery, you ask? We turned to the cold, hard facts. We delved into the data of 137 cities, scrutinizing the FBI’s most recent crime report, which detailed violent and property crime statistics for every locale with a population exceeding 5,000.

Our investigation revealed that while Wisconsin’s overall crime rates hover above the national average, the figures in the state’s most dangerous spots leave much to be desired.

If you surmised that the epicenters of crime in Wisconsin are its bustling metropolises, you’d be spot on. Cities like Milwaukee and Madison are bearing the brunt of this crime wave.

However, the title of ‘most dangerous place in Wisconsin’ goes to a town that doesn’t even boast a population of 10,000.

While Wisconsin may not feature in the top ten list of America’s most dangerous states, there’s no denying that its most perilous places require some serious attention.

Perhaps an increase in law enforcement presence? Or maybe the installation of security cameras? Could drug rehabilitation programs be the answer?

We can’t say for certain. But one thing we can assert with confidence is that you should familiarize yourself with the list of Wisconsin’s most dangerous places before making any life-altering decisions.

10 Riskest Places

City Population Violent Crimes Per 100k Property Crimes Per 100k
Beloit 36,921 484 2,895
Brown Deer 11,808 398 3,760
Milwaukee 589,105 1,596 2,728
Rice Lake 8,526 480 2,463
La Crosse 51,211 255 4,366
West Allis 59,778 319 2,868
Madison 262,736 320 2,778
Eau Claire 69,086 276 2,789
Grand Chute 23,579 224 3,469
Hudson 14,255 266 2,307


1. Beloit

If safety is your top priority in Wisconsin, you might want to give Beloit a wide berth. Nestled an hour south of Madison, Beloit has the dubious distinction of being one of the few places on this list to feature in the top ten for both violent and property crime statewide.

Beloit’s farmer’s market might be a feast for your senses, but it’s also a hotbed for pickpockets, with 878 larceny cases reported in 2020.

And if you find yourself in Beloit, you’d do well to double-check your locks, given the 74 car thefts and 117 burglaries that year.

But it’s not just theft that puts Beloit on the map — it also had the second highest murder rate in Wisconsin, and residents had a 1 in 206 chance of being violently assaulted over the year.

  • Population: 36,921
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 484
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,895

2. Brown Deer

Brown Deer

The runner-up on our list of danger zones in the Dairyland is Brown Deer, a quaint village a mere 20-minute drive north of Milwaukee. With its high crime rate, Brown Deer is far from being one of Milwaukee’s idyllic suburbs.

Before you head out for a picnic in one of Brown Deer’s parks, you might want to secure your belongings, considering the village had the fifth highest property crime rate in Wisconsin.

And car thefts? They’re a bi-weekly occurrence here, quite a feat for a place with a population of just 11,808.

  • Population: 11,808
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 398 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,760 

3. Milwaukee

Milwaukee Wisconsin

Milwaukee, renowned for its exceptional beer and as a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts, knows how to party.

Regrettably, Wisconsin’s largest city also holds the title for being the most violent. In 2020, residents had a 1 in 62 chance of falling victim to a murder, rape, robbery, or assault. This includes the highest murder rate statewide.

While property crime isn’t as rampant in Milwaukee, the city still suffered the second-highest burglary rate in Wisconsin, averaging about ten a day.

Despite this, Milwaukeeans can still relish a high quality of life if they stick to the safer neighborhoods in Brew City.

  • Population: 589,105
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,596 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,728 

4. Rice Lake

Rice Lake, a small city of 8,526 residents from Barron County, makes its debut on our list. We recommend having a buddy accompany you on your strolls along the Cedar Side Walking Trail, just to be safe.

Despite its small size, Rice Lake has a big problem — the city averaged one rape case per month in 2020, earning it the third highest rate of rape cases in Wisconsin.

Moreover, residents had a 1 in 40 chance of falling victim to a property crime over the year.

  • Population: 8,526
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 480 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,463

5. La Crosse

La Crosse

La Crosse, perched on the banks of the Mississippi River and opposite Minnesota, has long been a crucial trade hub.

As one of the region’s primary cities, La Crosse grapples with the crime rates you’d expect from a high population density. This includes highinstances of larceny and car theft.

  • If you want to read more articles on Wisconsin check here.

However, life in La Crosse isn’t all gloom and doom. The city boasts numerous riverside parks, a variety of museums, and several universities.

  • Population: 51,211
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 255 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,366 

6. West Allis

West Allis

West Allis didn’t earn its spot on our list of Milwaukee’s less desirable suburbs without reason — its high rates of both violent and property crime secured its place.

In 2020, the city reported 237 burglaries and 175 car thefts. However, violent crime is the more pressing concern here.

On average, two people were assaulted, and one person was robbed each week in West Allis. This gives you all the more reason to avoid late-night strolls alone at Greenfield Park.

  • Population: 59,778
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 319 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,868

7. Madison

Next up on our list of Wisconsin’s less safe places is its capital and second-largest city, Madison.

While Madison might be synonymous with college sports for many, it’s also associated with high crime rates.

While Madison had the lowest property crime rate on this list, it did have the third highest burglary rate in Wisconsin, with 648 cars stolen in 2020.

Overall, violent crime is the more significant issue in Madison, ranking as the 15th highest statewide. This means residents had a 1 in 312 chance of being violently attacked over the year.

  • Population: 262,736
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 320 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,778 

8. Eau Claire

Eau Claire

Eau Claire, named after the French phrase for “clear waters,” refers to the Eau Claire River, which, according to legend, provided a stark contrast to the murkier Chippewa River.

The waters around this town in northwest Wisconsin might be clear, but the ethics of some of its residents are rather murky.

Given its relatively high crime rate, Eau Claire ranks as the eighth most dangerous spot in Wisconsin, largely due to a high burglary rate.

  • Population: 69,086
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 276 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,789 

9. Grand Chute

Grand Chute, WI

Located just north of the trendy, safe city of Appleton, Grand Chute ranks as the ninth most dangerous place to live in Wisconsin.

In 2020, Grand Chute averaged just over one violent crime per week, which isn’t too bad for a city of 23,579. However, there were about two property crimes committed each day, enough to give the town the seventh highest property crime rate statewide.

Luckily, there’s a butterfly garden and a nature preserve within a ten-minute drive from Grand Chute, perfect for soothing your nerves about the high crime rate.

  • Population: 23,579
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 224 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,469 

10. Hudson

Hudson serves as an extended suburb of Minneapolis, which is a half-hour drive over the border in Minnesota.

The town has seen a population boom in recent decades, thanks to its appeal as a tourist destination and its proximity to one of the Midwest’s biggest cities.

From just over 6,000 residents in 1990, the population has more than doubled, rising to its current level of 14,255.

This growth has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it has invigorated the local economy. On the other hand, it has attracted a criminal element. In Hudson, this translates to 329 property crimes in a year.

  • Population: 14,255
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 266 
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,307 

Most Horrific Crime In Wisconsin

One of the most horrific crimes in Wisconsin’s history is undoubtedly the gruesome acts committed by Jeffrey Dahmer, also known as the “Milwaukee Cannibal.”

Dahmer’s crimes, which took place between 1978 and 1991, shocked the nation and left an indelible mark on Wisconsin’s history.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer and sex offender who committed the murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys. His later murders also involved necrophilia and cannibalism.

Dahmer’s victims were often lured to his home under the pretense of money or sex, where they were then drugged, strangled, and dismembered.

His crimes were characterized by a chilling level of meticulousness and depravity, with Dahmer often preserving his victims’ body parts.

Dahmer’s reign of terror came to an end in 1991 when one of his intended victims managed to escape and flagged down two police officers. The officers investigated the man’s claims, leading to Dahmer’s arrest.

The subsequent search of his apartment revealed photographs of his dismembered victims, leading to his confession.

Dahmer was convicted and sentenced to 16 life terms in prison, but was murdered by a fellow inmate in 1994.

The horrific nature of Dahmer’s crimes has made them some of the most notorious in not only Wisconsin’s history but also the entire United States.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Wisconsin

One: Keep Friends and Family Updated

Whether you’re visiting a safe or a Wisconsin city with higher-than-average crime rates, keeping your family and friends in the loop is important.

This means providing them with an itinerary for your visit, where you’re staying, and how you’re getting to different places.

Also, you’ll want to check in daily to let them know you’re safe and discuss the various activities, sights, and events you’ve seen during the trip.

The check-in could be a phone call, text message, or simply posting photos on social media.

Two: Pack for the Weather

Wisconsin winters are cold and snowy; summers can become hot depending on the month.

The year-round hiking and outdoor activities are excellent, so it’s important to look at the forecast before your visit and pack for the weather.

If camping in the forest, it’s important to bring some heavy clothes, even in the summer, since temperatures tend to drop quickly overnight.

Three: Don’t Pass Sensitive Information on Public Wi-Fi

Many cities and towns in Wisconsin have public Wi-Fi, either offered through the state or at coffee shops and restaurants.

While using the Wi-Fi for general browsing and other light activities is safe, never use it for important transactions involving transferring sensitive data across unencrypted networks.

Hackers are waiting to steal important information from unsuspecting visitors or residents, so be careful.

Four: Don’t Draw Attention

Don’t flash expensive jewelry, money, electronics, or other valuable items in crowded tourist areas or during festivals and other community events.

Pickpockets and other criminals could follow you to less populated areas then you will be the victim of a crime.

Also, you want to blend with the local population as best as possible, so wear inconspicuous clothing to avoid attention from nefarious characters.

Five: Be Aware of your Environment

Since places like Milwaukee have a high poverty rate, the neighborhoods quickly flip from safe to dangerous.

Therefore, it’s always important to be aware of your current surroundings, and if you end up in an area that looks or feels unsafe, turn around and walk back the way you came.

There are plenty of touristy areas in Milwaukee, so there’s no need to venture into unsafe parts of town or stick to crowded areas.


What is the safest city in Wisconsin?

Some of the safest cities in Wisconsin include Elm Grove, Hartland, and Muskego.

How can I protect my belongings from theft?

Avoid flashing expensive items in public, use hotel safes for valuables, and always lock your vehicle. If you’re in a city with a high property crime rate, consider using anti-theft bags and wallets.

What should I do if I become a victim of crime in Wisconsin?

Immediately report the incident to the local police. If you’re a tourist, also inform your embassy or consulate. Seek medical attention if needed.

How can I avoid car theft?

Always lock your car, even if you’re leaving it for a short time. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and park in well-lit, busy areas whenever possible.

Are there any areas in Madison I should avoid?

While Madison is generally safe, crime rates can vary by neighborhood. It’s always a good idea to research your destination and stay in well-populated areas.

What precautions should I take when using public Wi-Fi in Wisconsin?

Avoid conducting sensitive transactions, such as online banking or shopping, on public Wi-Fi. Use a VPN if possible to encrypt your data.

How can I stay safe while hiking or camping? 

Always let someone know your plans and when you expect to return. Pack appropriate gear for the weather and terrain, and carry a map, compass, and first aid kit.

Is Wisconsin a dangerous state to live in?

While some cities in Wisconsin have high crime rates, many other areas are quite safe. Like any state, the level of danger can vary greatly depending on the specific location.

Final Words

In conclusion, while Wisconsin is known for its dairy delights and the Green Bay Packers, it’s also home to some cities with higher-than-average crime rates.

However, it’s important to remember that crime is not distributed evenly across the state, and many areas in Wisconsin are quite safe.

Whether you’re planning a visit or considering a move to the Badger State, it’s crucial to research your destination and take appropriate safety precautions.

Despite the challenges, Wisconsin remains a state of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and friendly communities. With awareness and vigilance, you can enjoy all that Wisconsin has to offer while staying safe.

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