Madison is the No. 10 safest place to live in the U.S., according to the 2020-21 U.S. News and World Report ranking.
The ranking was based on each metro area’s crime rates per 100,000 people, determined by FBI crime reports. Though Madison’s crime had increased between 2016 and 2018, the city’s crime rate in 2018 was around two-thirds of the country’s level, according to NBC15.
U.S. News and World Report also said Madison had a lower than average violent and property crime rate in 2018, giving it an index score of 7.9 out 10. Green Bay, Wisconsin — which was ranked as the No. 1 safest place to live in the U.S. — had a 2018 crime index of 8.5.
UW-Madison Police Department Director of Communications Marc Lovicott said UWPD is proud of Madison’s high safety ranking but notes that the ranking is based only upon crime rates.
“Crime statistics only tell part of the story,” Lovicott said. “We take pride in our transparency and we work hard to share information and resources that promote the safety and well-being of our community. We also continue our work advancing our Racial Equity Initiative — so all members of our community not only are safe, but feel safe as well.”
Though the University of Wisconsin campus is just a subset of the Madison area, university-collected student opinions concur with the campus’s safety ratings — based on factors aside from crime rate — with Madison’s recent rankings. Four out of five students reported feeling “very or extremely safe” on campus in a UW campus climate survey.
Jared Lenzendorf, a UW student who has lived in Dane County for the majority of his life, said he has always felt Madison was safe and appreciates seeing Madison ranked so high. He noted it was nice to know that Madison takes safety seriously.
UW student Lauren Hartig said campus safety was a great consideration in her choosing UW.
“I feel that the close proximity of everything on campus makes me feel more safe,” Hartig said. “The safety is definitely one of the many reasons that I enjoy spending time on campus.”
In addition to the University of Wisconsin Police Department, WiscAlerts, SAFEwalk, Badger Watch and other services are in place with the intention to protect students on and around campus.
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Hartig and UW student Abhi Puri both stated while they have never personally had the need to rely too much on the safety resources, they agree it provides a level of comfort knowing resources are there to keep students safe.
“I definitely can attest to [feeling safe on campus],” Hartig said. “During the day, I’ve never felt at danger while walking to class or the gym. Learning the high ranking makes me feel even more comfortable here.”
UPDATE: this article was updated Jan. 27 at 9:40 p.m. to reflect a statement from UWPD Director of Communications Marc Lovicott on behalf of the department.