Iowa’s 20 Safest Cities of 2022

Safest Cities Iowa Badge

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the eighth annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Iowa for 2022

See if your city made the full list.

Iowa’s crime rates remain lower than national and regional averages for the third year in a row. Violent crime increased in The Hawkeye State year over year while property crime decreased. Iowans are generally less concerned about crime than other Americans, which makes sense with its lower crime rates overall.

In this report

2022 Iowa crime rates

Violent crime and property crime rates in The Hawkeye State are lower than the national average and the lowest in the West North Central region. Violent crime increased in Iowa year over year while property crime decreased.

Bar chart of violent and property crime rates per 1,000 people where the national average is 4.0 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 19.6 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Image: SafeWise

Level of concern and experience with crime in Iowa

Iowans are among those most likely to believe that crime is decreasing (13%), topped only by Georgians and Virginians at 15%. Our State of Safety survey aligns with this sentiment—Iowans reported a decrease in crime experiences.

Iowans are most concerned about package theft (38%) and property crime (34%) but at levels lower than the national averages (45% and 42%, respectively).

28% of Iowa residents report being concerned about violent crime, which is the fourth-lowest percentage in the US. 28% also feel concerned about gun violence, which is the sixth-lowest percentage in the nation.

64% of Iowans feel safe in their state, which is nine percentage points higher than the national sentiment and the tenth-highest percentage nationwide.

Pictogram showing the percentage of state residents that are concerned about their safety on a daily basis, as well as which type of crime they are concerned about the most, and which crimes they have experienced within the past 12 months. Crimes include violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise. Past 12 months=12 months prior to survey.

Crime concerns in Iowa

We asked Iowa residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Iowans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

Bar chart showing percentages of how concerned state residents are about crime compared to the national averages for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.

Violent crime in Iowa: Fear vs. reality

Violent crime in The Hawkeye State increased by 6% year over year, but only 28% of Iowa residents reported feeling concerned about violent crime on our latest State of Safety survey.

A lower-than-average percentage of Iowans reported having experienced violent crime in the 12 months prior to the survey: 7%. That also represents a decrease compared to the previous survey’s results.

  • Iowa’s violent crime rate of 3.0 is the ninth-lowest in the nation.
  • Iowa is 1 of 17 states where more rapes were reported than robberies.
  • 22 people were injured and 1 was killed in 5 mass shooting events in Iowa during the 2022 reporting year.
  • The number of mass shooting events in Iowa increased by 25% year over year (from 4 to 5).
  • 26% of Iowans use some form of personal protection (US 34%).
  • Of the Iowans who use personal protection, most preferred pepper spray (14%).
  • 38% of Iowa residents say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic, lower than the national average of 44%.
Line graph of violent and property crime rates over the past three years in the state compared to national crime rates per 1,000 residents for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in Iowa: Fear vs. reality

Property crime has decreased by 8% in Iowa year over year. This aligns with data from our latest State of Safety survey. 16% of Iowans claimed to have personally experienced property crime in the 12 months prior to the survey, which is six percentage points lower than the previous year’s survey results and two percentage points lower than the national average.

Package theft is the most concerning crime among Iowa residents, but they worry about it at the seventh-lowest percentage in the nation at 38%. According to our survey, 16% of Iowans claim to have experienced package theft in the last 12 months (US 20%).

  • Burglary accounts for 22% of all property crime in Iowa, which is above the national average of 16% and the second-highest percentage in the nation.
  • 48% of Iowans use some form of property protection, which is 12 percentage points lower than the national average.
  • Firearms represent the top home protection method among Iowans (22%).
  • 32% of Iowa residents say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).

A closer look at the safest cities in Iowa

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • 53 Iowa cities met the criteria for ranking this year, and 7 cities made it to the top 20 for the first time.
  • Sioux Center tops the list for the second year in a row.
  • Denison rose 7 spots to land in sixth place this year. Clive took the largest nose dive, falling 11 positions and landing at 14.
  • 8 cities experienced a decrease in violent crime year over year and 7 cities saw a decrease in property crime. Only Decorah, Denison, Johnston, Carroll, and North Liberty saw declines in both categories.
  • The most populous city on this year’s list—Ankeny—accounts for 22% of all violent crime and 17% of all property crime among Iowa’s 20 safest cities.
  • Sioux Center and Decorah reported 0 burglaries, and 55% of this year’s safest cities reported 10 or fewer motor vehicle thefts.
  • The top 4 cities reported a combined total of 12 violent crimes this reporting year.
Map of state with markers and labels highlighting the cities with the lowest crime rates.

Image: SafeWise

The 20 safest cities in Iowa

VC=Violent crime
PC=Property crime

#1
Sioux Center
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,669
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $74,313
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.4, 0.4, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.2, 2.7, N/A
Ashbury, Iowa
#2
Asbury
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    5,909
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $100,871
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.7, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    3.4, N/A, N/A
Decorah, Iowa
#3
Decorah
(
+5
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,516
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $62,336
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.3, 1.2, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    5.6, 9.8, N/A
Eldridge, Iowa
#4
Eldridge
(
-2
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,991
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,961
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.4, 0.3, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    5.1, 6.0, N/A
Orange City, Iowa
#5
Orange City
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,195
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $72,857
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.1, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    6.8, N/A, N/A
Denison, Iowa
#6
Denison
(
+7
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,234
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $54,190
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.2, 2.3, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    6.7, 6.9, N/A
Waukee, Iowa
#7
Waukee
(
-2
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    25,590
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $94,580
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.9, 0.6, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    9.3, 7.6, N/A
Johnston, Iowa
#8
Johnston
(
+3
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    23,252
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $96,948
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.8, 1.3, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    9.9, 12.0, N/A
Urbandale, Iowa
#9
Urbandale
(
-3
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    44,959
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $90,858
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.0, 0.6, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    10.2, 10.2, N/A
Carroll, Iowa
#10
Carroll
(
+4
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    9,800
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $47,534
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.8, 0.9, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    11.7, 17.9, N/A
Ankeny, Iowa
#11
Ankeny
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    70,301
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $86,486
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.7, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    11.5, N/A, N/A
Bettendorf, Iowa
#12
Bettendorf
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    36,926
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $82,153
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.0, 1.2, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    15.5, 12.8, N/A
North Liberty, Iowa
#13
North Liberty
(
+6
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    20,294
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $83,949
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    3.0, 3.5, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    5.9, 6.0, N/A
Clive, Iowa
#14
Clive
(
-11
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    17,447
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $104,839
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.0, 0.4, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    16.4, 7.0, N/A
#15
Pleasant Hill
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    10,158
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $78,818
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    0.7, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    19.5, N/A, N/A
West Des Moines, Iowa
#16
West Des Moines
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    69,252
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $76,368
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    1.3, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    16.5, N/A, N/A
Charles CIty, Iowa
#17
Charles City
(
-10
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,269
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $41,060
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.8, 1.1, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    10.3, 9.7, N/A
Independence City, Iowa
#18
Independence
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,141
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $54,097
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.0, 3.6, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    14.8, 13.1, N/A
Fairfield, Iowa
#19
Fairfield
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    10,538
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $40,920
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.0, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    14.8, N/A, N/A
Perrysburg, Ohio
#20
Perry
(
+2
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,669
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $44,146
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    2.2, 2.7, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2022, 2021, 2020
    14.0, 12.3, N/A

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Get a home security system

Learn more about your home security options—and find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems.

Find security and safety resources in your area

Didn't find your city in the top 20?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2020.

2022 Rank
City
Population
2022 VC per 1,000Icon Tooltip  Dark
2022 PC per 1,000Icon Tooltip  Dark
2021 Rank
21Ames67,1091.817.720
22Atlantic6,4652.315.334
23Iowa City75,9642.017.621
24Le Mars10,1102.913.924
25Mount Pleasant8,6703.113.716
26Muscatine23,6162.617.117
27Waverly10,2344.69.4N/A
28Oskaloosa11,5053.316.833
29Grinnell9,1043.018.931
30Maquoketa5,9662.721.0N/A
31Storm Lake10,2823.915.328
32Oelwein5,8463.816.3N/A
33Altoona19,8042.821.8N/A
34Newton15,1764.116.3N/A
35Dubuque57,9044.020.118
36Creston7,7013.224.029
37Marshalltown26,5644.817.735
38Indianola16,1545.417.242
39Cedar Rapids134,3303.231.732
40Clear Lake7,5263.928.730
41Washington7,2276.121.440
42Hiawatha7,4656.420.426
43Mason City26,8114.331.944
44Fort Madison10,2396.323.141
45Waterloo67,2006.225.637
46Keokuk10,0916.724.5N/A
47Burlington24,6224.935.0N/A
48Sioux City82,6285.832.543
49Fort Dodge23,7557.634.839
50Des Moines215,2907.039.047
51Davenport101,8067.439.346
52Ottumwa24,2939.539.145
53Council Bluffs62,1449.247.948
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Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Crime Data Explorer, Accessed March 8, 2022.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed January 24, 2022.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 24, 2022.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 8, 2022.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 8, 2022.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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