Watertown ranks 12th safest city in Wisconsin

Although violent crime went up in Wisconsin’s largest cities in 2018, the state remains one of the safest in the Midwest, according to the National Council For Home Safety and Security.

Wisconsin’s 2018 violent crime rate of 2.95 per 1,000 people was considerably below the national average, with Watertown checking in with 1.95 violent crimes per 1,000 people.

Of the 79 cities listed, Watertown ranked 12th safest.

The crime rate per 1,000 people in Watertown was 11.26, with property crimes at 9.31. There were 2.29 law enforcement personnel per 1,000 people here. According to the data, Watertown has 23,628 residents and 54 law enforcement personnel. There were 46 violent crimes and 220 property crimes.

Finishing seventh, Oconomowoc, with 16,850 residents, had 7 violent crimes, 133 property crimes and staffs 30 law enforcement workers. There were 8.31 crimes per 1,000 people, .42 violent crimes per 1,000 people, 7.89 property crimes per 1,000 people and 1.78 law enforcement personnel per 1,000 residents.

Taking a look at Wisconsin’s five safest cities, Cedarburg, a community of 11,500 people is Wisconsin’s safest city, followed by the Fox Valley Metropolitan area, Muskego, Port Washington and Caledonia.

Cities closer to Watertown were Fort Atkinson and Beaver Dam, which were ranked at No. 31 and 30, respectively.

Representatives of the National Council for Home and Security explained the methodology used to develop its “Safest Cities in Wisconsin — 2020” study.

“To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics,” the organization stated. “We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities out of a total of 9,251.

There were two broad classifications of crimes — violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses, these being murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

The study’s creators computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes.

“We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per a 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized,” the study’s creators said. “Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy, meaning the total crimes balanced with the number of police employees. We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.”

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.

For the full listing visit the study's webpage.

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