- The five-year view of crime trends in Waukesha indicates that simple assault, burglary, larceny-theft, and arson have decreased. However, we still see an influx of homicides and violent crime in the Milwaukee-Waukesha Metro area.
- The 2018 report from the Wisconsin DOJ recorded 7 homicides, 57 rapes, 56 robberies, 163 aggravated assaults, and 514 simple assaults.
- According to data from the Wisconsin DOJ, about 766 people graduated from law enforcement academies in the fiscal year 2020, compared to 954 graduating in 2012.
- Waukesha Sheriff’s department faces cuts as it is projected to be $250,000 over its $46.6 million budget this year.
Waukesha doesn’t make the list of the safest cities in Wisconsin; however, it doesn’t make the list of the most dangerous cities within the badger state either.
According to recent data from the FBI, the total crime rate is 991.4 per 100,000 people in Waukesha. Coming in -57.74% lower than the national rate of 2,346 per 100,000 individuals and -45.20% lower than the state average at 1,809 per 100,000.
Some areas of Wisconsin are prone to different forms of crime. Certain cities may have higher instances of property crime, while others are rising in violent crimes. The Wisconsin DOJ collates a provides annual crime data for all counties within the state. Let’s compare recent years.
Waukesha Crime Trends
The 2018 report from the Wisconsin DOJ recorded 7 homicides, 57 rapes, 56 robberies, 163 aggravated assaults, and 514 simple assaults. Property crimes for 2018 included 358 burglaries, 3,184 larceny thefts, 176 motor vehicle thefts, and 4 cases of arson. Compared to the report from 2014, 2018 saw a sharp increase in homicides (133.3%), rape (14%), robbery (36.6%), aggravated assault (7.9%), and motor vehicle theft (25%).
The five-year view of crime trends in Waukesha indicates that simple assault (22.5%), burglary (46.2%), larceny-theft (25.3%), and arson (20%) have dropped. However, we still see an influx of homicides and violent crime in the Milwaukee-Waukesha Metro area.
The 2019 crime rate in Waukesha is 86, according to CityData. This is 3.2x smaller than the United States average. It was higher than 34.8% in US cities. Crime rates fell by 22% compared to 2018 in Waukesha.
Most homicides in Milwaukee in 2020 were committed in impoverished neighborhoods that are predominantly black. Local officials have suggested the rising violence in this area is due to increased tension between the community and law enforcement. Some blame an increase in firearms, while others believe “systemic racism” is the cause of the growing violence.
The FBI released information regarding the Milwaukee/Waukesha metro area for 2020. In their review, the only metro areas with 250,000+ residents and at least one homicide in 2019 were reviewed.
|1-yr. Change in reported murders (%)||Total Murders – 2020||Murders per 100,000 people||Violent crimes per 100,000 people|
Waukesha Sex Offenders
According to OffenderRadar, there are currently 452 registered sex offenders in Waukesha County, WI. They also report a statewide total of 23,439 registered sex offenders.
The Waukesha Police Dept. was formed in 1869 and has grown to about 117 sworn officers and civilian support staff.
Wisconsin state has approximately 13,600 law enforcement officers in total, compared to 16,000 in 2012. According to data from the Wisconsin DOJ, about 766 people graduated from law enforcement academies in the fiscal year 2020. The number has been slowly but surely dropping off since 954 graduated in the fiscal year 2012.
While the decrease in graduations appears small, they are happening amid spikes in population. Wisconsin grew from 5.7 million to 5.9 million just in the last decade, according to the US Census; around a 4% total increase in population.
Police Chief of Dodgeville, a department with only 11 sworn officers today, said job openings that would have received 30-40 applications five years ago only bring in about a dozen applications now.
Staffing Cuts & Slower Response
On September 1, 2022, Waukesha County Sheriff’s Dept. received an unsettling email. Without making any changes, the department is projected to be $250,000 over its $46.6 million budget this year.
Staff cutbacks may help ease the blow, but that could come with consequences; slower response times for the community and residents who desperately need help. Layoffs will occur over the holidays if the department cannot make swift and practical changes.
To adjust to the current budget, they have had to avoid paying overtime by reducing the number of officers in one area at a time across all shifts. Sheriff Eric Severson explained how he is currently handling overtime.
He stated, “Tonight, I have two people on hospital guard. Normally, I would hire overtime to keep 10 people on the road, but tonight I am going to take two people off the road, put them on hospital guard, and we’re going to do everything we can to try to keep it as safe with eight (officers) as we would with 10.”
Department Inspector, James Gumm, mentioned that the department would have to remove about 12 positions to meet the budget if something didn’t change quickly. To quickly compare, the department has only eliminated 14 positions over the past ten years. Jame Gumm stated, “So if you look at the proportionality of that, you see where this thing is headed.”
He adds, “In the service area that the sheriff’s office covers, Waukesha County residents have enjoyed near immediate police response times. In terms of downsizing, constituents need to understand that they may begin to experience wait times for the same services.” He also commented that reducing overtime is temporary; however, Severson must introduce more sustainable solutions.
Severson says the department’s budget requires increases to operate normally, as inflation is causing gas, oil, cars, and ammunition prices to skyrocket. Severson is not surprised that they’ve struggled to stay within the set budget.
Over time, Sheriff Severson has realized that fewer people are applying to work in this field. Fewer officers translate to more overtime and more expenses than what it would cost to train and hire new officers. The department is caught between a rock and a hard place. The budget has already been increased, although it is not enough with all other circumstances at play.
So, what happens if the Waukesha Police Department has to remove 12 positions? What does this mean for the residents living in Waukesha? How will making cutbacks and terminating officers affect Waukesha’s crime rates? Only time will tell.