These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa For 2019


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. Don’t freak out that we updated it 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.

The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Hawkeye State for 2019:

  1. Keokuk (Photos)
  2. Clinton (Photos)
  3. Davenport (Photos)
  4. Burlington (Photos)
  5. Des Moines (Photos)
  6. Ottumwa (Photos)
  7. Fort Dodge (Photos)
  8. Red Oak (Photos)
  9. Fort Madison (Photos)
  10. 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Des Moines, IA

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 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.

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.

Red Oak, IA

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

4
/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

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.

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

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.

Centerville, IA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/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.

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:

Detailed List Of 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
11 Sioux City 82,879 434 4,296
12 Grinnell 9,141 820 2,505
13 Newton 14,999 473 3,326
14 Storm Lake 10,790 658 2,613
15 Waterloo 67,855 502 2,839
16 Council Bluffs 62,549 239 5,942
17 Indianola 15,953 564 2,250
18 Windsor Heights 5,001 279 4,339
19 Muscatine 23,940 810 2,000
20 Cedar Rapids 131,878 280 3,754
21 Manchester 5,032 397 2,186
22 Washington 7,451 832 1,717
23 Clarinda 5,353 317 2,932
24 Oskaloosa 11,525 399 2,099
25 Pleasant Hill 9,910 242 3,420
26 Coralville 20,652 227 3,646
27 Dubuque 58,674 282 2,737
28 Maquoketa 5,954 251 2,955
29 Spirit Lake 5,124 390 2,049
30 Oelwein 5,999 316 2,150
31 Glenwood 5,315 319 2,088
32 Clear Lake 7,559 370 1,997
33 Perry 7,824 204 3,156
34 Atlantic 6,588 349 1,988
35 Iowa City 75,519 206 2,339
36 Boone 12,607 507 1,277
37 Mason City 27,327 157 3,051
38 Estherville 5,877 527 1,157
39 Fairfield 10,337 154 3,269
40 Sheldon 5,102 294 1,803
41 De Witt 5,218 344 1,571
42 Charles City 7,425 188 2,141
43 Mount Pleasant 8,349 155 2,527
44 Altoona 18,556 129 2,937
45 Vinton 5,125 390 1,014
46 Winterset 5,282 321 1,211
47 Cedar Falls 41,744 206 1,969
48 Creston 7,829 166 2,107
49 Ames 67,461 183 2,063
50 Anamosa 5,411 203 1,829
51 Independence 6,027 199 1,941
52 Urbandale 43,637 263 1,232
53 Ankeny 61,090 212 1,360
54 North Liberty 19,491 287 974
55 Spencer 11,125 134 2,067
56 Osceola 5,051 158 1,821
57 Marion 39,050 174 1,595
58 Webster City 7,708 194 1,271
59 Pella 10,240 185 1,318
60 Algona 5,509 272 490
61 Bettendorf 36,133 149 1,798
62 Le Mars 9,955 90 1,587
63 Denison 8,304 180 782
64 Waukee 20,359 152 1,169
65 Carroll 9,920 20 1,693
66 Clive 17,913 78 1,518
67 Johnston 21,816 146 1,109
68 Decorah 7,883 50 1,065
69 Eldridge 6,406 93 780
70 Orange City 6,199 129 516
71 Norwalk 10,874 82 827
72 Sioux Center 7,578 26 277

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