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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Homicide and aggravated assault in Wisconsin rose between 2018—the year before Gov. Tony Evers took office—and 2021, although the rates of rape and robbery in the state did not. Between 2019 and 2021, homicides rose by 70% — reaching 315 in 2021.

Increasing violent crime in Wisconsin—especially in homicides and aggravated assault—mirrored nationwide trends.

Homicides in Milwaukee have been especially high, with the numbers for 2020 and 2021 breaking records for the city. Law enforcement experts have linked these levels to some possible factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, more people carrying firearms and increased tensions between the police and communities.

The rates of homicide in Milwaukee continued to increase in the first half of 2022, rising to 110 as of June 30, while those of other violent crimes decreased, according to the Milwaukee Police Department.


Wisconsin Department of Justice: Statewide offense trends over time

PBS Wisconsin: Total number of police in Wisconsin, already at historic lows, continues to drop in 2022

Los Angeles Times: On the front lines of the US homicide epidemic: Milwaukee faces historic violence

Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin had 315 homicides last year. That’s a 70 percent increase from 2019.

Council on Criminal Justice: Update: Pandemic, social unrest, and crime in US cities

CBS58: Milwaukee Police Department releases 2022 mid-year crime review

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Jacob Alabab-Moser / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.