20 Cities in Wisconsin with the Most Improved Crime Rate

November 17, 2014

5. Twin Lakes, WI

Twin Lakes is another small town to make our listing and is located on the southern end of the state on the border to Illinois. This small town made sizeable strides in reducing its crime rate by more than 40%. The dedicated police department that serves Twin Lakes has created a variety of community programs to increase visibility and decrease crime. Encouraging anonymous tipping and sharing important information about crime are two of the most important strategies that have paid off for the Twin Lakes Police Department when it comes to reducing crime and making the town a better place to live.

2007 Crime Rate: 30.47
2012 Crime Rate: 17.23
43.45% Decrease In Crime

6. Kaukauna, WI

On the mid eastern side of the state, Kaukauna is a medium sized town that is included in the Appleton Metropolitan area.  It had an impressive drop in property crime from 2007 to 2012. The Kaukauna Police Department’s commitment to partnering with the community has led to this drop. By working together through reporting, education, vacation house checks and more, the town has collaboratively changed it for the better. The Kaukauna PD is on duty 24/7 and collaborates with neighboring police forces for backup. Regular communication with town residents has also helped to make Kaukauna a more peaceful community.

2007 Crime Rate: 35.98
2012 Crime Rate: 21.86
39.26% Decrease In Crime

7. Appleton, WI

Appleton is centrally located on the east side of the state and is the biggest city to make this listing. Over the period studied, the city’s police force made major progress in lowering the high incidences of property crime. A vigilant police force that combines a variety of programs, it has specialized officers to ensure effective handling of different types of crime. As of 2012, the city of Appleton employs 18.1 police officers per 10,000 residents, just slightly more than the national average of 17. A commitment to going above and beyond and being deeply involved in the community has helped the city’s police department bring about a higher quality of living in Appleton.

2007 Crime Rate: 35.98
2012 Crime Rate: 21.86
39.26% Decrease In Crime

8. Fitchburg, WI

Fitchburg is a medium-sized Madison suburb in the south part of the state.  In the time period compared, both violent and property crime rates dropped there. Community involvement with a cutting edge police force is the reason behind this improvement. An interactive website makes it easy to tip off the police, arrange for vacation property watch and learn what is happening in Fitchburg. K9 and bicycle patrols join traditional patrols to help prevent crime in every part of this community.

2007 Crime Rate: 34.57
2012 Crime Rate: 21.10
38.96% Decrease In Crime

9. Menomonee Falls, WI

Menomonee Falls, located in the southeast portion of the state, is still considered a village but has a population larger than many of the “cities” in the state. From 2007 to 2012, it saw a tidy drop in both violent and property crime rates. A more than 37% reduction in crime is impressive and is largely due to the implementation of strategic programming such as neighborhood watch and efforts to promote crime awareness. The dedicated police force in Menomonee Falls has made life in this picturesque town much safer.

2007 Crime Rate: 18.90
2012 Crime Rate: 11.79
37.61% Decrease In Crime

10. Waunakee, WI

Waunakee is another Madison suburb to make this listing. Growing at a fast rate, this community was included in the listing of “Top 100 Best Places to Live” according to CNN Money. Any city that grows 100% in 20 years is bound to have some growing pains and Waunakee did, with crime rates that, while not outrageously high, were too high for the comfort of many residents in the area. The Waunakee Police Department took the situation into control and during the period of 2007 to 2012, both violent and property crime rates dropped more than 35%. The K-9 Unit, community connections and other programs help to reduce crime. Regular newsletters keep residents up to date on what is happening in their town.

2007 Crime Rate: 14.96
2012 Crime Rate: 9.49
36.56% Decrease In Crime

11. Sheboygan, WI

Sheboygan is known for being the Bratwurst capital of the world. Located on the edge of Lake Michigan on the mouth of the Sheboygan River, it is about midway between Green Bay and Milwaukee. One of the larger communities on our list, this city saw a sharp decrease in property crime during the time period analyzed. During this same period, the city’s police department underwent some major changes such as moving to a new headquarters in 2008 and instituting the program Volunteers in Police Services in 2009. These efforts and others such as an increase in crime prevention awareness and real-time alerts have been amongst the instrumental contributions in the war on crime in Sheboygan.

2007 Crime Rate: 53.05
2012 Crime Rate: 34.25
35.45% Decrease In Crime

12. Greendale, WI

Situated in Milwaukee County in the southeast, Greendale is a med-sized town that was originally set up as a cooperative community to help stimulate the economy after the Great Depression. Alarmingly high rates of crime precipitated increased efforts in crime prevention from 2007 to 2012. As a result violent and property crime rates dropped a combined total of 35%. Its efforts for continuous improvement are paying off as its community policing strategy is making residents and business owners feel safer in Greendale.

2007 Crime Rate: 58.21
2012 Crime Rate: 37.66
35.31% Decrease In Crime

13. Oconomowoc Town, WI

Oconomowoc Town is in the southeast part of the state and has a dizzying mix of other communities that are partially or entirely within its borders.  The town has had a lofty decrease in both violent and property crimes, to a practically minimal level. The town’s dedicated police force is at the heart of this improvement. In addition to traditional patrols, it also has a boat patrol to ensure the areas in and around the many lakes in town remain safe. Residents are encouraged to report crime and to alert the department of vacation plans, so their homes can be monitored in their absence. Such efforts help to keep the crime rate rock bottom.

2007 Crime Rate: 6.71
2012 Crime Rate: 4.38
34.74% Decrease In Crime

14. Rothschild, WI

Rothschild is a very small city in the heart of Wisconsin, just outside of Wausau. While its violent crime rate is not overly high, the property crime rate was disturbing for a municipality of not even 5500 people. With a little concentrated effort, both violent and property crime rates dropped significantly over the period of 2007 to 2012. Increased education and alerts of the types of crimes that are going on in the community were largely the reason behind this reduction. In small communities, residents tend to look out for one another, and when they know what to look for, they do so even more effectively. The Rothschild Police Department has brought in a variety of community services to help facilitate such communication for a safer tomorrow.

2007 Crime Rate: 32.11
2012 Crime Rate: 21.14
34.15% Decrease In Crime

15. Ripon, WI

Ripon is in the central lower-half part of the state, conveniently near several metropolitan areas, which is a mixed blessing to the residents. It is nice to be near bigger centers but at the same time, proximity brings a spillover of crime to even small municipalities. Ripon was facing elevated crime rates in 2007, but by 2012 both violent and property crime rates dropped, with violent crime experiencing a considerably sharp decline much to the satisfaction of the crime prevention team at the Ripon Police Department. In addition to its dedication, working with the county sheriff helps to ensure the community has adequate protection no matter the circumstances.

2007 Crime Rate: 25.94
2012 Crime Rate: 17.22
33.63% Decrease In Crime

16. Brown Deer, WI

Brown Deer is a suburb of Milwaukee that in 2013 made the top 20 of CNN Money’s list of Best Places to Live based on home affordability. Its decrease in crime from 2007 to 2012 likely helped the community earn this distinction. In fact, both violent and property crime rates dropped by almost one-third during this time period. With far more than the national average when it comes to the ratio of police officers to residents, Brown Deer takes keeping the community safe seriously. The Police Department there encourages anonymous tipping, citizen involvement, feedback and community involvement, which are defining forces in keeping Brown Deer a safe and pleasant place to life and work.

2007 Crime Rate: 42.32
2012 Crime Rate: 28.53
32.59% Decrease In Crime

17. Lake Mills, WI

Lake Mills is a small town in southeast Wisconsin bordering Rock Lake. The community has a progressive police force that works hard to ensure that even a small community like this one has protection that rivals that of a big city. Community services and crime prevention efforts have been critical to reducing the violent and property crime rates that in 2007 were too high for a town the size of Lake Mills. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a police force that is proactive and vigilant.

2007 Crime Rate: 11.85
2012 Crime Rate: 8.01
32.41% Decrease In Crime

18. Reedsburg, WI

Reedsburg is located beside the Baraboo River in the southwestern part of the state. With a higher than average ratio of police officers to residents, Reedsburg is committed to keeping its citizens safe. Round the clock patrols and dispatch means that the community is always being monitored. It is this attention to detail that is at the root of the diminished property crime rates that were noted when we compared 2007 and 2012 statistics for the area. Great communication with residents and citizen involvement in a variety of innovative programs shows the police commitment to maintaining a safer Reedsburg for all to enjoy.

2007 Crime Rate: 20.51
2012 Crime Rate: 14.02
31.63% Decrease In Crime

19. DeForest, WI

DeForest is just outside of Madison and is conveniently located for those who want to live in a small town but be close to the amenities of a big city. However, DeForest also likely gets much of its crime from there too. Yet, the property crime rate in DeForest lowered significantly during the span of time studied. The efforts of a very dedicated police force are the reason. Extensive ongoing training of its officers, an increase in patrolmen, education and community involvement by the DeForest PD have led to a much safer community and a better standard of living than before.

2007 Crime Rate: 19.67
2012 Crime Rate: 13.50
31.35% Decrease In Crime

20. De Pere, WI

De Pere is a medium sized suburb on the outskirts of Green Bay. This historic city lies on the Fox River as it enters Lake Michigan. The city’s police force is on par with the national ratio of patrol officers to citizens. It encourages residents to become involved in crime prevention and reporting. A team policing approach is taken by the Police Department in De Pere. That ensures that officers responsible for an area of the city know it well. This strategy has paid off as there has been an overall crime rate drop of more than 30%, with the sharpest decline in property crime. This has greatly improved life in De Pere for residents and business owners.

2007 Crime Rate: 18.35
2012 Crime Rate: 12.64
31.09% Decrease In Crime

A few other cities that just missed our list include Hagerstown, Frederick, Cambridge and Baltimore, all of which have experienced drops in crime rates.

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20 Most Improved Cities in Wisconsin

Disclaimer: To improve the accuracy and usefulness of our list, we chose to exclude small communities with populations below 5,000 in our rankings.
Our rankings are determined by national crime statistics published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our rankings are only as accurate as the local population and crime statistics officially released by the FBI.

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