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 for 2019:
- Keokuk (Photos)
- Clinton (Photos)
- Davenport (Photos)
- Burlington (Photos)
- Des Moines (Photos)
- Ottumwa (Photos)
- Fort Dodge (Photos)
- Red Oak (Photos)
- Fort Madison (Photos)
- Centerville (Photos)
After analyzing 72 cities in Iowa, why did Keokuk 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.
For more Iowa reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Iowa
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Iowa
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Iowa
How we determined the most dangerous cities in Iowa for 2019?
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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
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 72 cities in Iowa.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 72 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 — Keokuk.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Iowa.
Located on the southeastern edge of the state, Keokuk ranks 1st overall.
In 2017, residents faced a 1 in 115 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Keokuk’s violent crimes have risen 8% in recent years, meaning it’s on track to overtake the role of most dangerous city in Iowa in the not too distant future.
Clinton is the easternmost city in Iowa, and is on the western shore of the Mississippi.
The city has seen dramatic changes in both its violent and property crime statistics in recent years.
While property crime fell by 24% between 2015-17, violent crime rose by 32%, with residents facing a 1 in 86 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.
Both property crime and violent crime fell in Davenport between 2015-17, but both bounced back up in 2017 relative to the one year previous.
Residents still faced a 1 in 137 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.
If you live in Burlington, you already know which parts of town to avoid. But did you know you have a 1 in 107 chance of being raped, attacked or outright killed every year? Those are the stats.
Plus, 1 in 25.6 people has their lives screwed up due to a property crime of some sort. Odds are if you’ve lived in Burlington for a long time, you’ve been robbed at least one time in your life.
If you pass through Burlington, lock your doors. And don’t talk to strangers.
Iowa’s capital and most populous city, Des Moines, ranks as the 5th most dangerous city in the state.
The super high 1 in 22.7 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 1,456 in 2017.
Ottumwa Iowa has seen crime within its city limits head downwards over the last few years, but it’s still a relatively dangerous place.
Chances are if you live in Ottumwa, someone you know was the victim of a break-in or theft in recent years, as nearly 1 in 17.0 residents had a run in with a criminal last year.
Located along the Des Moines River in north-central Iowa, Fort Dodge is safer than the city above it, but it’s still the 7th most dangerous city in Iowa.
There’s a 1 in 7th chance of being the victim of theft or arson — pretty darn high — and those numbers have remained consistently high in recent years.
It seems that the Red Oak is a hub of crime.
Though residents of Red Oak had a 1 in 135 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, that’s not too bad relative to other cities of its size.
Property crime now stands as the 14th worst in Iowa.
Located in eastern Iowa, Fort Madison is one of the smaller cities to appear on this list.
Fort Madison has achieved some impressive improvements in its crime rate in recent years, with violent crime falling by 34% from 2015-17, and property crime falling by about half as much.
Still, folks living in Fort Madison had a 1 in 30.0 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017, which is pretty unacceptable.
Located in southern Iowa, Centerville has moderately bad statistics for both violent and property crime.
The smallest city to make this list has seen a 32% drop in property crime between 2015-17, a difference of a 1 in 22 chance down to a 1 in 18.4 chance; still pretty high, but progress is good.
Unfortunately, Centerville’s violent crime statistics have remained stagnant over the same time period.
Locking It All Up In Iowa
The latest FBI crime data shows that Keokuk ranks as the most dangerous city in Iowa for 2019.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Keokuk and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Iowa:
- Orange City (Pop. 6,199)
- Norwalk (Pop. 10,874)
- Sioux Center (Pop. 7,578)
For more Iowa reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Iowa For 2018
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Iowa
- 10 Safest Places In Iowa
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Iowa
Detailed List Of The Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa