Milwaukee is a beautiful Midwestern city with a lot to see. There are beaches along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, parks and festivals, big league professional sports and, of course, an ample supply of famed Wisconsin breweries.
Before they book their hotel rooms, however, potential visitors have an important question: is the city safe?
Crime is an issue in large Midwestern cities, and Milwaukee is not an exception. Although the crime rate in Milwaukee is higher than the national average, it is still a reasonably safe metropolis for visitors who take some basic precautions.
Crime in Milwaukee
Theft, including motor vehicle theft, is the main crime that a Milwaukee visitor needs to be aware of. There were just over 10,000 of each reported in 2021. Burglary and robbery were also high on the list with 2,830 and 2,808 reported, respectively. In addition, there were 7,515 aggravated assaults and 873 non-fatal shootings.
That being said, hordes of out-of-towners attend beachside festivals, take in Brewers baseball games, visit the cultural highlights and enjoy food and drinks in the city’s welcoming restaurants and bars while experiencing only good times and happy memories. With reasonable safety precautions, you also can visit Milwaukee with a low risk of being affected by big-city crime.
Avoiding Danger in Milwaukee
One of the keys to staying safe in Milwaukee, as in any city, is to avoid traveling alone. It is always safest to tour the city with friends and family. Criminals are less likely to attack a group as opposed ot an individual.
If you must walk by yourself, do so in high-traffic areas with plenty of others about. Stay out of back streets, and especially avoid alleys.
If you drive, keep your car doors locked, even in a moving vehicle.
Don’t Look Like a Target
Thieves look for people who are obviously from out of town as well as those who appear they might have something valuable to steal. It pays to fit in and not look like a tourist. Avoid overly dressy clothing, but blend in with more casual attire.
Leave jewelry at home or in your hotel safe. If you carry a purse, strap it sideways across your chest so that it can’t easily be snatched.
Travel light. When you go out, carry only the cash and cards you’ll need that day. Other valuables such as unnecessary cards or passports should be left in the hotel safe.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
As you walk, scan the sidewalk ahead for muggers and beggars. If you see one, pass by quickly without eye contact or conversation. If it’s easy to do so, consider crossing the street.
Pay attention to the overall appearance of the neighborhood. If there are lots of unsightly buildings, it might be time to backtrack to a nicer street.
Avoid Dangerous Areas
Beach areas are safe and pleasant during daylight hours, but at night they are hazardous areas for crimes such as assault and rape.
Some neighborhoods are dangerous even during daylight. Examples include Metcalfe Park, North Division and Franklin Heights. If you must travel to or through these areas, consider taking a cab. If you must drive through, keep your car doors locked.
Fun and Safe Things To Do in Milwaukee
Fortunately, the safest places in Milwaukee are also some of the most interesting to visit. These include American Family Field (home of the baseball Brewers), the Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Brewery Tours and the delightful Milwaukee River Walk. There’s also the Milwaukee Art Museum and the family-oriented Discovery World with the Reiman Aquarium.
If you plan ahead, you can enjoy a fun-filled and memorable Milwaukee trip with a minimal chance of being affected by crime.