Is Milwaukee Safe? (Living & Visiting)

Milwaukee, the largest city in Wisconsin, is a vibrant destination for both residents and visitors. However, when it comes to safety, it’s crucial to be well-informed. This article will explore the safety aspects of living and visiting Milwaukee, providing valuable insights into the city’s crime rate, safe neighborhoods, and essential precautions to ensure your well-being.

Is Milwaukee Safe? (Living & Visiting)

Key Takeaways:

  • Milwaukee has a higher crime rate compared to the national average.
  • There are safe neighborhoods in Milwaukee that offer better living or visiting experiences in terms of safety.
  • Taking basic safety measures is essential for residents and visitors to minimize the risk of becoming victims of crime.
  • While safety precautions are necessary, many tourist areas in Milwaukee are generally safe for visitors.
  • During the winter season, visitors need to be prepared for cold weather conditions in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Crime Rate

When it comes to crime, Milwaukee has a higher rate compared to the national average. According to the FBI’s crime data for 2021, Milwaukee reported over 33,000 crimes, including approximately 9,600 violent offenses and 23,500 property offenses. This translates to an overall crime rate of about 58.3 crimes per 1,000 residents in Milwaukee. In comparison, the national average is around 23 crimes per 1,000 residents.

These statistics reveal that Milwaukee experiences a significant number of both violent and property offenses, highlighting the challenges the city faces in terms of crime prevention and public safety.

Year Total Crimes Reported Violent Offenses Property Offenses
2021 33,000 9,600 23,500
2020 31,500 9,200 22,300
2019 30,800 9,100 21,700

The table above provides a comparison of the total crimes reported in Milwaukee over the past three years, as well as the breakdown between violent offenses and property offenses. It is evident that there has been an increase in the overall number of crimes reported in recent years, reflecting the ongoing challenge of addressing crime in the city.

Violent Crime in Milwaukee

Milwaukee has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, ranking #13 on NeighborhoodScout’s list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the United States. Violent crimes include offenses like murder, assault, rape, and robbery. Milwaukee’s high homicide rate, with 16 homicides per 1,000 residents, puts it as the 36th most deadly city in the U.S. according to CBS. The Milwaukee Police Department’s 2023 violent crime plan indicates an increase in homicides by 11% in 2022, with 95% of homicides involving firearms. These statistics highlight the prevalence of violent crimes in Milwaukee.

Crime Category Rate per 1,000 Residents
Homicides 16
Assaults XX
Rapes XX
Robberies XX

Factors contributing to the high violent crime rate

  1. Socioeconomic challenges and poverty in certain neighborhoods.
  2. High rates of youth unemployment and limited access to opportunities.
  3. Historical racial and economic segregation leading to social disparities and tensions.
  4. Limited investment in community resources and support systems.

In order to effectively address the issue of violent crime in Milwaukee, it’s important for law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and residents to work together in implementing comprehensive strategies that focus on addressing the root causes of crime and promoting social equity.

Feeling Safe in Milwaukee

Safety is a subjective matter, and the perception of safety among Milwaukee residents plays a crucial role in assessing the overall safety of the city. According to a poll conducted on AreaVibes, only 26% of Milwaukee residents reported feeling safe at night, indicating a significant concern. The majority of respondents described crime levels in the city as “awful.” These perceptions directly impact how residents navigate their daily lives and their overall well-being.

A 2022 survey conducted by the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) further sheds light on the issue. The survey revealed that 36% of residents expressed dissatisfaction with the MPD, illustrating a lack of confidence in local law enforcement. This lack of trust can contribute to residents’ feelings of insecurity and impact the overall perception of safety in the city.

It’s essential to address these concerns and improve residents’ sentiment of security in Milwaukee. Initiatives that foster community engagement, increase police visibility, and prioritize trust-building efforts can help restore faith in the criminal justice system and promote a sense of safety. Open dialogues between law enforcement agencies and community members can bridge the gap and create a shared commitment to a safer city.

“A sense of safety is a fundamental need for individuals to thrive and enjoy their lives. Addressing residents’ concerns and working towards improving community safety benefits everyone in Milwaukee.”

In conclusion, understanding and addressing residents’ perceptions of safety is paramount to creating a safer environment for all Milwaukeeans. Engaging in meaningful dialogue, implementing community-centered approaches, and taking steps to rebuild trust in law enforcement can contribute to positive changes in overall safety perceptions in the city.

Factors Affecting Feeling of Safety

Factors Impact
Crime rates High crime rates can lead to a heightened sense of insecurity and fear.
Community engagement Active community involvement and connections foster a sense of belonging and safety.
Police presence Visible police patrols and engagement can enhance feelings of security.
Trust in law enforcement A strong bond between residents and law enforcement builds confidence in safety measures.

Safest Neighborhoods in Milwaukee

Despite the overall crime rate in Milwaukee, there are neighborhoods that are recognized as safer than others. According to NeighborhoodScout, the safest neighborhoods in Milwaukee include:

Neighborhood Crime Rate
Downer Woods/University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Low
Marquette Low
Bay View Southeast Low
Castle Manor Low
National Park South Low
Morgan Heights/Alcott Park Low
Upper East Side Low
Washington Heights Low
Saveland Park Low
Marquette University Low

These neighborhoods tend to have lower crime rates and may be favorable options for residents and visitors concerned about safety.

Most Dangerous Milwaukee Neighborhoods

On the other hand, there are neighborhoods in Milwaukee that have higher crime rates and may pose safety concerns. According to AreaVibes, some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Milwaukee in terms of violent crime per capita are:

  • Metcalfe Park
  • North Division
  • Franklin Heights
  • Park West
  • Washington Park
  • Garden Homes
  • Borchert Field
  • Sherman Park
  • Saint Joseph
  • Concordia

These neighborhoods have crime rates significantly above the city average and require increased caution.

Neighborhood Violent Crime Rate
Metcalfe Park 56.8
North Division 55.3
Franklin Heights 48.9
Park West 46.7
Washington Park 42.2
Garden Homes 40.9
Borchert Field 39.2
Sherman Park 38.7
Saint Joseph 37.4
Concordia 36.8

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Neighborhood

When searching for the perfect neighborhood in Milwaukee, it’s essential to consider factors beyond safety. While safety is undoubtedly a priority, evaluating other aspects can help you find a neighborhood that meets your needs and preferences. Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing a neighborhood:

Access to Amenities

Proximity to amenities such as parks, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues can greatly enhance the quality of life in a neighborhood. Consider neighborhoods that offer convenient access to the amenities that are important to you.

Quality of Schools

For families with children, the quality of schools in the neighborhood is a crucial consideration. Research the school district and individual school ratings to ensure your child receives an excellent education. Some top-rated school districts in Milwaukee include Franklin Public Schools, Whitefish Bay School District, and Mequon-Thiensville School District.


Walkability is a desirable feature for many residents, as it promotes a healthy lifestyle and reduces the need for car transportation. Explore neighborhoods with sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly streets, and close proximity to amenities for easy access by foot.


Diversity can enrich the fabric and culture of a neighborhood. Consider whether you prefer a neighborhood with a diverse population that celebrates different cultures, traditions, and backgrounds.

Real Estate Appreciation

If you’re looking for a long-term investment, consider neighborhoods that have a history of real estate appreciation. Look for areas that have experienced steady growth in property values over the years.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in a neighborhood can vary significantly. Consider your budget and financial goals when evaluating neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods may have higher housing costs but offer a higher standard of living, while others may be more affordable but still provide desirable amenities.

Neighborhood Access to Amenities School Ratings Walkability Diversity Real Estate Appreciation Cost of Living
Park Knoll 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟
Woodland Court 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟
Rolling Green 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟
Juneau Town 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟
Clock Tower Acres 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Remember to evaluate these factors alongside safety considerations to make an informed decision about which neighborhood in Milwaukee best suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Staying Safe in Milwaukee

When it comes to personal safety, taking precautions is essential no matter where you are. In Milwaukee, being aware of crime prevention strategies and investing in home security can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime. Here are some tips to help you stay safe in Milwaukee:

  1. Assess and Improve Your Living Space Security: Start by evaluating the security measures in your home or apartment. Ensure that all entry points, such as doors and windows, are secure and equipped with reliable locks. Consider installing motion sensor lights and a security system for added protection.
  2. Get to Know Local Police Resources: Familiarize yourself with the Milwaukee Police Department and the services they offer. The department provides valuable resources like crime prevention programs and community engagement initiatives. Joining programs like “Block Watch” can enhance community safety and foster a sense of security among residents.
  3. Invest in Home Security Systems: Consider installing a comprehensive home security system that includes surveillance cameras, sensors, and alarms. Companies like Deep Sentinel offer advanced AI-powered security cameras that can detect potential threats and provide real-time alerts to homeowners, ensuring enhanced protection for your property and loved ones.

Staying safe in Milwaukee is not just about taking physical security measures, but also being vigilant and proactive in your surroundings. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy peace of mind and minimize the risk of crime. Remember, personal safety should always be a top priority.

Preventing Burglaries: Tips from the Milwaukee Police Department

“Home burglaries occur even in the safest neighborhoods, so it’s crucial to take preventive measures. Secure your home, be mindful of your surroundings, and report any suspicious activities to the Milwaukee Police Department.”

Crime Prevention Tips Description
Lock All Doors and Windows Ensure that all entry points to your home are locked, especially when you’re not present. Use deadbolt locks and reinforce weak areas.
Use Timers for Lights Set timers for your lights to create the illusion that someone is home, even when you’re away. This can deter potential burglars.
Install Outdoor Lighting Illuminate the exterior of your home with motion sensor lights, making it less attractive to intruders and enhancing visibility at night.
Be Mindful of Social Media Avoid posting vacation plans or sharing too much information on social media platforms that could reveal your absence from home.
Keep Valuables Out of Sight Avoid leaving valuable items, such as electronics or jewelry, in plain view from windows or doors, as it can attract potential thieves.

Is Milwaukee Safe to Visit?

When planning a trip to Milwaukee, safety is a valid concern for travelers. While the city does have a higher crime rate compared to the national average, it’s important to note that most of the crime occurs in specific neighborhoods. As a visitor, you’re likely to spend time in the tourist areas, which are generally safe and well-patrolled by law enforcement.

However, it’s still essential to take basic safety precautions to ensure a smooth and secure visit. Here are some visiting Milwaukee safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert to your surroundings and trust your instincts. Avoid poorly-lit areas or places that feel unsafe.
  2. Avoid excessive displays of valuables: Keeping a low profile can deter potential thieves. Avoid flaunting expensive jewelry, gadgets, or cash.
  3. Stick to well-populated areas: When exploring the city, stick to well-populated and busy areas, especially at night.
  4. Use reliable transportation: Opt for reputable taxi services, ride-sharing apps, or public transportation to get around the city instead of walking alone in unfamiliar areas.
  5. Keep important documents secure: Carry only essential documents like identification and keep them in a secure place, such as a money belt or hidden pocket.

While it’s important to be cautious, it’s also worth noting that Milwaukee has numerous attractions to offer. From its world-class museums and vibrant brewery scene to its bustling markets and stunning lakefront, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. By staying informed about potential safety risks and taking necessary precautions, you can have a safe and memorable visit to Milwaukee.

Winter Weather Considerations

Milwaukee experiences cold and snowy winters, making it a city that requires careful preparation for visitors. To stay warm and safe during Milwaukee’s winter season, follow these Milwaukee winter safety tips:

Dress Appropriately

When venturing out in Milwaukee’s winter weather, it’s essential to dress warmly and layer your clothing. Multiple layers provide insulation and allow you to adjust your clothing based on your comfort level. Don’t forget to wear a hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect exposed skin from the cold.

Winter Footwear

Wearing appropriate winter boots with good traction is crucial to prevent slipping on ice and snow. Look for boots that are waterproof and insulated to keep your feet dry and warm in Milwaukee’s wintry conditions.

Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to forget about hydration during cold weather, but staying hydrated is just as important in winter as it is in summer. Cold weather can cause dehydration, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Moisturize Your Skin

The cold, dry air of Milwaukee winters can cause skin to become dry and cracked. To combat this, use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.

Beware of Extreme Weather

During the winter season, Milwaukee may experience blizzards and icy conditions. Stay informed about the weather forecast and be cautious when traveling in severe weather. It’s advisable to avoid unnecessary trips during extreme weather events to prioritize safety.

While Milwaukee has its charms during the winter season, including festive events and beautiful snowscapes, individuals who are especially sensitive to the cold may find it challenging. By following these winter safety tips, visitors can ensure they are well-prepared, bundled up, and ready to enjoy all that Milwaukee has to offer, even in the winter months.

Crime in Milwaukee

Crime is a prevalent issue in Milwaukee, with the city’s crime rate being higher than the national average. The violent crime rate is particularly concerning, ranking Milwaukee as the 3rd highest in the U.S. Vehicle theft is also a major problem, with Milwaukee having the highest rate in the nation at one point.

The reasons behind the high crime rate in Milwaukee are complex and include social factors such as poverty, segregation, and youth unemployment. Poverty creates an environment where individuals may engage in criminal activities due to a lack of opportunities and resources. Segregation can lead to the formation of disadvantaged neighborhoods with limited access to essential services and economic opportunities, which can contribute to higher crime rates. Additionally, high youth unemployment rates can result in disillusionment and a higher likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior.

Understanding these factors is essential to gain a deeper understanding of the crime situation in Milwaukee. It allows policymakers and communities to develop targeted strategies and initiatives to address the root causes of crime and work towards creating a safer city for all residents.

“To effectively address crime in Milwaukee, we must tackle the underlying social factors contributing to it. By investing in education, job training, and community development, we can provide individuals with the tools and opportunities they need to make positive choices and reduce crime rates.”

Crime Statistics in Milwaukee

To provide a clearer picture of crime in Milwaukee, the following table presents key crime statistics:

Year Total Crimes Violent Crimes Property Crimes
2020 33,456 9,612 23,844
2019 31,978 9,087 22,891
2018 30,908 8,690 22,218

Source: Milwaukee Police Department

The table highlights the consistent level of crime in Milwaukee, with both violent and property offenses remaining relatively high over the years.

Despite the challenges, it’s important to note that efforts are being made to combat crime in Milwaukee. Community organizations, law enforcement agencies, and residents are working together to implement crime prevention initiatives, improve community relations, and support at-risk individuals.


In conclusion, safety in Milwaukee is a complex issue. While the city has a higher crime rate compared to the national average, it’s important to note that not all neighborhoods are equally affected. There are safe neighborhoods in Milwaukee that offer a better living or visiting experience in terms of safety. It’s also crucial for residents and visitors to take basic safety measures, such as securing their living spaces and being aware of their surroundings. By understanding the crime situation and taking necessary precautions, individuals can make informed decisions about their safety in Milwaukee.


Is Milwaukee a safe place to live and visit?

Milwaukee has a higher crime rate compared to the national average, but safety can vary across neighborhoods. It’s important to be informed and take necessary precautions.

What is the crime rate in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee reported over 33,000 crimes in 2021, with an overall crime rate of about 58.3 crimes per 1,000 residents.

How serious is violent crime in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation, with offenses like murder, assault, rape, and robbery. It ranked #13 on NeighborhoodScout’s list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the U.S.

How do Milwaukee residents feel about safety?

Only 26% of Milwaukee residents reported feeling safe at night, and over half consider crime levels as “awful.” A significant number of residents are not satisfied with the local police department.

Which are the safest neighborhoods in Milwaukee?

According to NeighborhoodScout, the safest neighborhoods in Milwaukee include Downer Woods/University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Marquette, Bay View Southeast, Castle Manor, National Park South, Morgan Heights/Alcott Park, Upper East Side, Washington Heights, Saveland Park, and Marquette University.

Which neighborhoods in Milwaukee are considered dangerous?

Some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Milwaukee, in terms of violent crime per capita, are Metcalfe Park, North Division, Franklin Heights, Park West, Washington Park, Garden Homes, Borchert Field, Sherman Park, Saint Joseph, and Concordia.

What factors should I consider when choosing a neighborhood in Milwaukee?

Alongside safety, factors like access to amenities, school quality, walkability, diversity, real estate appreciation, and cost of living should also be considered when choosing a neighborhood in Milwaukee.

How can I stay safe in Milwaukee?

Take precautions such as assessing and improving the security of your living space, getting to know local police resources, and investing in home security systems. Programs like “Block Watch” and companies like Deep Sentinel offer additional safety measures.

Is Milwaukee safe for tourists to visit?

While Milwaukee has a higher crime rate, most tourist areas are generally safe. However, basic safety precautions should be taken, such as being aware of surroundings and avoiding excessive displays of valuables.

What should I consider about winter weather in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee experiences cold and snowy winters, so dress warmly, wear winter boots, and be prepared for blizzards and icy conditions.

How prevalent is crime in Milwaukee?

Milwaukee has a higher crime rate than the national average, with the third-highest violent crime rate in the U.S. and previous high rates of vehicle theft.

What can I conclude about safety in Milwaukee?

Safety in Milwaukee is a complex issue, with varying crime rates across neighborhoods. By understanding the crime situation, taking precautions, and being informed, individuals can make informed decisions about their safety in Milwaukee.

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