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:
- Clinton (Photos)
- Keokuk (Photos)
- Davenport (Photos)
- Burlington (Photos)
- Des Moines (Photos)
- Fort Dodge (Photos)
- Waterloo (Photos)
- Ottumwa (Photos)
- Grinnell (Photos)
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.
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.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Iowa.
Population: 25,906Rank 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.
Population: 10,577Rank 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.
Population: 103,118Rank 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.
Population: 25,376Rank 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
Population: 211,501Rank 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
Population: 24,557Rank 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.
Population: 68,470Rank 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.
Population: 24,543Rank 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.
Population: 9,127Rank 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.
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:
- Sioux Center
- Orange City
For more Iowa reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Iowa
- These Are The 10 Sunniest Cities In Iowa
- 10 Small Towns In Iowa Where You’d Never Want To Live
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Iowa
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