10 Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Hawkeye State for 2019.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our fifth time ranking the most dangerous places to live in Iowa and is updated for 2019.

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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.

So what is the most dangerous city in Iowa? After analyzing 72 cities in Iowa, Keokuk takes the top spot as the most dangerous city in Iowa based on the most recent FBI data.

For 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.

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Iowa

Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Iowa For 2019

Keokuk, IA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 10,376
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 867 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,322 (1st most dangerous)
More on Keokuk:  Data | Photos

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, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 25,532
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,155 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,915 (6th most dangerous)
More on Clinton:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of Clinton by HomeSnacks User

I have lived in Clinton pretty much my whole life

Davenport, IA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 103,063
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 727 (8th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,093 (5th most dangerous)
More on Davenport:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of Davenport by HomeSnacks User

The crime rate has been on the increase. I’ve noticed more and more terrible drivers; running red lights, texting while driving, etc.

Terrible drivers, rude employees, employees that sit on their phones rather than helping out customers.

Burlington, IA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 25,227
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 927 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,904 (11th most dangerous)
More on Burlington:  Data | Photos

Coming in 4th place for most dangerous places in Iowa is Burlington.

Here residents face a 1 in 107 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, and a 1 in 25.6 shot for property crime.

Property crime has been pretty consistent lately, while violent crime is on an upward trend, meaning it may overtake some of the other cities in a few years if the situation continues.

Des Moines, IA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 217,277
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 670 (9th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,413 (8th most dangerous)
More on Des Moines:  Data | Photos

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, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 24,397
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 586 (13th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,303 (4th most dangerous)
More on Ottumwa:  Data | Photos

Ottumwa is not the refuge that you might be expecting — it ranks as the 6th most dangerous city in Iowa.

It has the 13th highest overall violent crime rate.

On the plus side, property crime ranks 4th in the state, meaning it’s not even in the top 10% of cities in Iowa.

Put differently, property crime isn’t a problem to the same extent violent crime is in the city.

Review Of Ottumwa by HomeSnacks User

Crime is on rise 4 shooting…. Home invasion. Robbery. Housing prices is all time high rent over 800 hundred dollars a month. Up to 1500$ a month. Businesses and landlords are discriminating against people get disability check. Won’t help people I lost respect for ottumwa

Nothing stand out half business shutting down

Fort Dodge, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 24,331
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 620 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,418 (7th most dangerous)
More on Fort Dodge:  Data | Photos

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.

Review Of Fort Dodge by HomeSnacks User

I am from Fort Dodge. I can absolutely assure you this town is NOT redneck. It is full of thug wannabes, criminals, and it’s terrible. Maybe do more research before you make such disgusting claims. This is an insult to actual Iowa rednecks.

Red Oak, IA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,437
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 735 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,494 (14th most dangerous)
More on Red Oak:  Data | Photos

Red Oak is safer than the city above it, but it’s still the 8th most dangerous city in Iowa.

There’s a 1 in 14th chance of being the victim of theft or arson — pretty darn high — and those numbers have remained consistently high in recent years.

Fort Madison, IA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,525
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 627 (11th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,334 (16th most dangerous)
More on Fort Madison:  Data | Photos

Coming in 9th is Fort Madison, a city of over 10,525.

With residents facing a 1 in 159 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017, Fort Madison ranked 11th for that criteria.

Property crime now ranks 16th in Iowa.

Centerville, IA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,316
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 357 (25th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,436 (3rd most dangerous)
More on Centerville:  Data | Photos

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.

How Is Your Town In ?

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.

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:

  1. Orange City (Pop. 6,199)
  2. Norwalk (Pop. 10,874)
  3. Sioux Center (Pop. 7,578)

For more Iowa reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Keokuk 10,376 867 6,322
2 Clinton 25,532 1,155 4,915
3 Davenport 103,063 727 5,093
4 Burlington 25,227 927 3,904
5 Des Moines 217,277 670 4,413
6 Ottumwa 24,397 586 5,303
7 Fort Dodge 24,331 620 4,418
8 Red Oak 5,437 735 3,494
9 Fort Madison 10,525 627 3,334
10 Centerville 5,316 357 5,436

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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