Typically, you only want to see your city on a list featuring the "best places to live."

For this one Wisconsin city, though, it's starting to become a yearly thing.

Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, were considered the first and second most dangerous places in the U.S. for 2024-2025; Milwaukee was listed as the 11th.

Milwaukee is the only city in Wisconsin on the top 25, and U.S. News and World Report says, "The metropolitan area's violent crime rate was higher than the national rate," and property crime was also higher than the national rate.


The crime index says Milwaukee has a higher crime rate than similarly sized metro areas like Austin, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Jacksonville, Florida.

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Why is there so much crime in Milwaukee? A recent story from Patch highlighted a few of the reasons:

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Diminished relationships between police and communities.
  • More guns on the street.
  • Young people have less access to mentors and positive engagement.

The pandemic is over, but the hangover has far-reaching effects on society, and Milwaukee seemingly was hit harder than other American cities.

There has also been an uptick in "stable housing," which can lead to desperation and violence.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says violent crime in the city hasn't gone unnoticed by police and safety officials, as evidenced by a three-step plan announced in 2023 that was to:

  • Focus on domestic violence.
  • Bring back the Summer Guardian initiative.
  • Add a hyperlocal crime plan.

Can Milwaukee shake the tag as one of America's most dangerous cities? Time will tell.

In case you're wondering, not one Illinois city made the list of the 25 most dangerous in America.

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Stacker used the Federal Highway Administration's 2020 Highway Statistics report to rank states by the fatalities per billion miles traveled. 

Gallery Credit: Katherine Gallagher

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