These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa For 2018


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Hawkeye State for 2018.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Iowa?

We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.

No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Iowa — and anyone looking to move to Iowa — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.

The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Hawkeye State:

  1. Clinton (Photos)
  2. Keokuk (Photos)
  3. Davenport (Photos)
  4. Burlington (Photos)
  5. Des Moines (Photos)
  6. Fort Dodge (Photos)
  7. Waterloo (Photos)
  8. Ottumwa (Photos)
  9. Grinnell (Photos)
  10. Clarinda

Why did Clinton take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or learn more about the safest places in Iowa.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

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How we determined the most dangerous cities in Iowa for 2018?

Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.

For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2017 in October 2018.

So what criteria did we use? Have a look:

  • Violent Crimes Per Capita
  • Property Crimes Per Capita

In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 67 cities in Iowa.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 67 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Iowa — Clinton. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Iowa.

Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa Graph

Click To Enlarge

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Iowa.

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1. Clinton

Clinton, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,906
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 883
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,477
Clinton is the easternmost city in Iowa, and is on the western shore of the Mississippi. It clumbed up 2 spots from last year to take the dubious disctinction of being the most dangerous city in Iowa for 2018.

The city has seen dramatic changes in both its violent and property crime statistics in recent years.

While property crime fell by 24% between 2014-16, violent crime rose by 32%, with residents facing a 1 in 113 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.

2. Keokuk

Keokuk, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,577
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 718
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,067
Located on the southeastern edge of the state, Keokuk ranks 2nd overall, down 1 from last years top ranking.

In 2016, residents faced a 1 in 139 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

Keokuk’s violent crimes have risen 8% in recent years, meaning it’s still a contender to be the most dangerous city in Iowa in the not too distant future.

3. Davenport

Davenport, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 103,118
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 727
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,849
Both property crime and violent crime fell in Davenport between 2014-16, but both bounced back up in 2016 relative to the one year previous.

Residents still faced a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.

4. Burlington

Burlington, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,376
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 815
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,043
Burlington is the 4th most violent of the most dangerous cities in Iowa, but it’s 9th in terms of property crime.

That is partially due to a hike in property crime from 2014-16, which left residents with a 1 in 24.7 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2016.

Violent crime also went up during this period, so Burlington’s trend means it might stay in the top 10 for a few years.

5. Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 211,501
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 707
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,199
Iowa’s capital and most populous city, Des Moines, ranks as the 5th most dangerous city in the state.

The super high 1 in 23.8 chance of being the victim of a property crime earns Des Moines its high danger level.

There has been modest progress in reducing both categories of crime, but violent crime still totaled 1,497 in 2016.

6. Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,557
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 586
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,986
Located along the Des Moines River in north-central Iowa, Fort Dodge is safer than the city above it, but it’s still the 6th most dangerous city in Iowa.

There’s a 1 in 10th chance of being the victim of theft or arson — pretty darn high — and those numbers have remained consistently high in recent years.

7. Waterloo

Waterloo, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 68,470
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 740
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,096
Located in Black Hawk County, Waterloo hasn’t experienced much of a change in its crime statistics recently.

Its relatively poor violent crime statistics went up between 2014-16, while property crime fell by a very small amount to 2,120 occurrences.

8. Ottumwa

Ottumwa, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,543
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 411
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,375
Ottumwa is the most populous city in Wapello County.

Ottumwa experienced a massive rise in violent crime between 2014-16.

Property crime statistics, meanwhile, remained stagnant, with residents facing a 1 in 22.9 chance of being the victim of theft or arson each year — the 6th highest rate in the state.

9. Grinnell

Grinnell, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,127
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 13)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 832
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,947
For a relatively small town, Grinnell has had an extensive amount of industrialization over the past 100 years.

This level of industrialization may contribute to the higher occurrences of crime within the city, good for a 1 in 33.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

10. Clarinda

Clarinda, Iowa

Source: Wikipedia | CC

Population: 5,386
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 18)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 519
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,397
Clarinda is the 10th most violent city in the state, mostly due to the violent crime rate in 2016 which caused it to jump up 18 spots in the rankings.

From 2014-16, violent crime in Clarinda went up, leaving residents with a 1 in 192 shot of being a victim of violence in 2016.

Locking It All Up In Iowa

The latest FBI crime data shows that Clinton ranks as the most dangerous city in Iowa for 2018.

However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Clinton’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.

If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Iowa:

  1. Sioux Center
  2. Eldridge
  3. Orange City

For more Iowa reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Iowa

City Rank Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
Clinton 1 3 25,906 883 4,477
Keokuk 2 1 10,577 718 5,067
Davenport 3 4 103,118 727 4,849
Burlington 4 9 25,376 815 4,043
Des Moines 5 5 211,501 707 4,199
Fort Dodge 6 2 24,557 586 3,986
Waterloo 7 6 68,470 740 3,096
Ottumwa 8 14 24,543 411 4,375
Grinnell 9 22 9,127 832 2,947
Clarinda 10 28 5,386 519 3,397
Sioux City 11 10 82,819 440 3,920
Fort Madison 12 10,654 497 3,360
Marshalltown 13 8 27,628 589 2,942
Centerville 14 7 5,343 318 4,697
Red Oak 15 26 5,424 387 3,171
Storm Lake 16 17 10,959 529 2,919
Council Bluffs 17 13 62,642 239 6,165
Indianola 18 15 15,601 596 2,243
Muscatine 19 12 24,010 658 2,211
Dubuque 20 20 59,026 355 3,103
Spirit Lake 21 5,049 376 3,010
Newton 22 18 15,102 357 3,052
Oskaloosa 23 19 11,626 421 2,597
Cedar Rapids 24 16 131,181 295 3,826
Perry 25 21 8,160 404 2,389
Coralville 26 30 20,957 276 3,158
Clear Lake 27 24 7,555 344 2,501
Waverly 28 27 10,104 1,128 1,167
Maquoketa 29 11 5,961 301 2,734
Glenwood 30 32 5,250 552 1,561
Mason City 31 33 27,230 135 4,120
Fairfield 32 37 9,982 170 3,235
Washington 33 41 7,437 578 1,183
Estherville 34 49 5,947 353 1,765
Altoona 35 35 17,503 177 2,988
Creston 36 40 7,860 330 2,035
West Des Moines 37 36 65,631 227 2,305
Iowa City 38 31 75,527 260 2,053
Oelwein 39 29 6,104 360 1,539
Hiawatha 40 68 7,235 234 2,252
Boone 41 38 12,702 377 1,330
Charles City 42 39 7,417 283 1,928
Webster City 43 34 7,768 308 1,622
Winterset 44 51 5,170 251 1,605
Le Mars 45 57 9,750 102 2,287
Manchester 46 23 5,051 98 2,276
Marion 47 52 37,845 187 1,595
North Liberty 48 50 16,458 315 735
Ames 49 43 66,333 161 1,623
Cedar Falls 50 55 41,651 158 1,699
Sheldon 51 46 5,067 256 1,045
Algona 52 58 5,453 311 715
Ankeny 53 53 59,236 216 1,276
Anamosa 54 64 5,454 183 1,338
Carroll 55 65 9,940 60 2,092
Spencer 56 45 11,211 80 2,051
Urbandale 57 54 45,012 148 1,555
Iowa Falls 58 42 5,186 38 2,043
De Witt 59 60 5,226 133 1,569
Norwalk 60 59 10,371 154 838
Vinton 61 62 5,128 175 351
Decorah 62 61 7,864 139 966
Johnston 63 66 21,635 120 1,044
Pella 64 67 10,368 96 1,012
Orange City 65 69 6,225 32 771
Eldridge 66 70 6,348 94 220
Sioux Center 67 7,544 26 145

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