Appleton, WI is very safe. It is a small city of 77,000, but is big into parties and the dominate religion is worship of the Green Bay Packers. In 2004, Appleton was honored for being in the top 10 most secure cities in the United States. It maintains an edcuational system that is rated top in the nation. The small town has 5 big high schools (3 public and 2 parochial and numerous colleges and institutions of higher learning.)
One of the interesting things about Appleton and many Wisconsin towns is the large number of bars in the area. It is in the top 10 of the nation for bars per capita.. Yes, Wisconsin has plenty of beer and other drinks, but Appletonians seem to be remarkably sober and responsible, in my opinion. And I've found people to be kind and understanding of those who don't drink. Visitors looking for a place to get a few drinks will have no trouble, with many popular choices.
Smoking is a different story here. Appleton has a strict no-smoking law that bans smoking in workplaces, including restaurants and bars. This new law is the bane of many bar and restaurant owners, who say that it drives business to surrounding towns that don't have the ban, though I think that early pain has declined - and non-smokers from other towns may be increasingly coming to Appleton (where we honestly have a surprisingly great mix of good restaurants). The smoking ordinance is a controversial law that passed by referendum in 2005. Personally, I don't smoke and appreciate the fresh air of Appleton, but I voted against the ban out of a philosophical concern for private property rights. If your dream is to puff away your life in a bar, Appleton might not be the ideal place for now - but there's always nearby Menasha or Neenah.
This gem of the Midwest really rocks! It's truly one of the best places to live in the world.