Safest Cities in Iowa

When you think of a Midwestern U.S. state, you think of rolling plains, cornfields, open blue skies - essentially, Iowa. Iowa is mostly composed of small, rural communities with bigger cities here and there. The state’s name comes from the Ioway people, a Native American tribe that once inhabited the area. Both its east and west borders are completely formed by water, which makes it unique. Thanks to the seemingly endless rolling fields, over 25% of the state’s power comes from wind turbines, making them one of the more progressive states for renewable energy. Quaker Oats, the largest cereal company in the world, is headquartered in Iowa along with a few other unexpected treasures: the National Balloon Museum, the largest transcendental meditation sanctuary in the country, and Chows Gymnastics and Dance Institute in Des Moines, which is a mecca for Olympic gymnasts. Another unique place is the Grotto of Redemption, a collection of 9 religious shrines depicting the life of Jesus via rocks, minerals, and petrifications that are surprisingly large yet intricate.

1% of U.S. population
2.85 violent crime rate per 1,000 people
27% below average U.S. property crime rate

Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.

1.  ELDRIDGE

Eldridge is a small city of just over 6,000 people. Their primary industries have always been grain and livestock - consistent with most of the state. There were only 3 reported violent crimes and 15 property crimes. Their downtown is experiencing new housing developments and entertainment options such as a skate park, a recreation/fitness center, and an indoor trampoline park. Complete with highly rated schools, this town is one of the best places to live in the state.

6,288 Population
3 Violent Crimes
15 Property Crimes

2. HAMPTON

Hampton may initially seem like a pitstop on the way to your final destination.Lined with beautiful old brick facades, and small-town charm, Hampton is worth sticking around for a while. Their park is filled with flower trees and has plenty of room for familiy picnics and play. It hosts carnivals and a county fair that attracts quite a few big-name country music artists each year. Beeds Lake State Park is nearby and hosts water sports all summer long as well as hiking, camping, and biking. Progress Park offers a skate park, tennis courts, playgrounds, water slides, and much more. With all this activity, there’s no time for residents to get into trouble making it a very safe place to live. Fun fact: It was also home to the All-American Red Heads, one of the first professional women’s basketball teams in 1936.

4,314 Population
4 Violent Crimes
12 Property Crimes

3. WILTON

Wilton is a modest and quiet town. It’s also a very safe city - only 3 reported violent crimes and 8 property crimes. It has a library that also serves a community center and is home to Wilton Candy Kitchen - the oldest ice cream parlor in the world and quite the bragging point. There are 4 parks as well as an indoor swimming pool, playgrounds and various sports fields and courts. Despite its small size, it has its own school district which ranks 40th out of 320 schools in the state. Every year there’s a Christmas Lighting contest, a Founders Day parade, and the Eager Beaver 5k run. With tons of charm, this city is a wonderful place to live.

2,796 Population
3 Violent Crimes
8 Property Crimes

4. BLOOMFIELD

Bloomfield offers activities for all-ages, making it a family-friendly and community-driven. Its residents look forward to events like their annual Davis County Fair and a week-long country and old time music festival. Their courthouse is a stunningly beautiful piece of architecture and the rest of the town follows suit with original brick buildings dotted throughout town. Non-profit Bloomfield Main Street works hard to invest in and revitalize the community as well as preserve its old-world charm.

2,627 Population
4 Violent Crimes
9 Property Crimes

5. WAUKON

Located in the very northeastern corner of Iowa you’ll find the city of Waukon, who’s residents love their community along with their football team. Their downtown still looks like it did back in the 1800’s, with a rows of brick buildings lining each side of the street. You’ll find a lot of mom-and-pop businesses like the Empty Nest Winery, offering handcrafted, whole-berry wines that are fermented on site along with community events throughout the year. Pools, playgrounds, athletic fields, and even a lake are all a great draw for families. There’s a beautiful golf course on the east side of the city and you’re only a quick ride from some incredible views of river distributaries winding through ridges within the Mississippi River Valley.

3,766 Population
3 Violent Crimes
20 Property Crimes

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The Top 50 Safest Cities in Iowa, 2017

1. Eldridge

11. West Liberty

21. Cresco

31. Sergeant Bluff

41. Norwalk

2. Hampton

12. State Center

22. New Hampton

32. Tipton

42. Marion

3. Wilton

13. Buffalo

23. Pella

33. Camanche

43. Washington

4. Bloomfield

14. Vinton

24. Carroll

34. Shenandoah

44. Cedar Falls

5. Waukon

15. Story City

25. North Liberty

35. Ankeny

45. Winterset

6. Clarion

16. Hiawatha

26. Leon

36. Estherville

46. Osage

7. Garner

17. Dyersville

27. De Witt

37. Decorah

47. Monticello

8. Hawarden

18. Algona

28. Mount Vernon

38. Sheldon

48. Carlisle

9. Orange City

19. Johnston

29. Anamosa

39. Urbandale

49. Albia

10. Humboldt

20. Ogden

30. Bettendorf

40. Cherokee

50. Missouri Valley

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Iowa, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000.


The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.

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