If you’re seeking a more affordable cost of living and more room, Iowa is an excellent place to reside. It’s famous for its abundant farmland, fairs, and relaxed way of life. However, if safety is a priority, you should steer clear of some of the state’s most dangerous cities. Take a look at the following list of the ten most dangerous cities in Iowa to learn more.
10 Most Dangerous Cities in Iowa
- Des Moines
- Council Bluffs
- Sioux City
- Fort Madison
- Fort Dodge
Ottumwa, situated along the Des Moines River, is the most dangerous city in Iowa. Not only does it have the highest crime rates in the state, but it is also the county seat of Wapello County. Despite having a population of only 25,529, Ottumwa’s violent crime rate is a staggering 124% above the national average. The city has an alarming rate of murders, robberies, and assaults. Additionally, drug trafficking is prevalent in the area, which contributes significantly to the local property crime.
Davenport, situated along the renowned Mississippi River, is one of Iowa’s biggest cities and also one of the most perilous ones. With a population of 101,724, Davenport’s total crime rate surpasses the national average by 81%. Property crime is the most prevalent type of offense, including burglary and personal or property theft. In 2022, 10 murders and 98 robberies were documented in the city. Poverty is rampant in many areas of Davenport, and the region also has to face the challenge of drug addiction.
3. Des Moines
With a population of over 214,100 residents, Des Moines is the capital of Iowa and the most populous city in the state. However, the city’s total crime rate is 62% higher than the national average, making it one of the worst cities in Iowa to live in if crime is a concern. Des Moines has high rates of both violent and property crime, with assaults, thefts, vehicle thefts, and burglaries posing a significant problem. In 2022 alone, the city recorded two murders and 165 robberies. Moreover, poverty and drug addiction are major issues that Des Moines struggles with, both within the city and its surrounding areas.
4. Council Bluffs
Located just outside Omaha, Nebraska, Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County has gained a reputation as a dangerous city with a population of 62,800. The city’s total crime rate is 61% above the national average, with property crime being the most common. While violent crime is below the national average, burglary, theft, and vehicle theft are the most prevalent types of crimes. In 2022, there were no reported murders, but 28 cases of robbery were recorded.
Located in Des Moines County, Burlington is known for its famous winding Snake Alley Street and is also one of the most dangerous cities in Iowa. Despite a population decline from the 2000 census, the city’s total crime rate is 57% above the national average. Although violent crime is prevalent in Burlington, the majority of crimes reported are related to theft and burglary.
Keokuk, situated at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri along the Mississippi River, is among the Iowa’s most dangerous cities. With a population of about 9,900, the city has a total crime rate that surpasses the national average by 56%. Property crime, with over 281 cases reported in 2022, is a significant concern in Keokuk. Additionally, there have been 87 instances of violent crime reported in the same year.
7. Sioux City
Sioux City, the fourth largest city in Iowa, is situated along the Missouri River and has a population of 85,797. Unfortunately, the city’s total crime rate is 54% higher than the national average, making it one of the most violent cities in Iowa. The most frequent crimes committed in Sioux City are assaults, robberies, and thefts. Additionally, Sioux City has been facing economic struggles, with a population that has been stagnant or declining for several decades.
8. Fort Madison
Fort Madison, a city located along the Mississippi River and serving as the county seat of Lee County, is considered one of the most perilous cities in Iowa. Despite its population of 10,270, the city’s total crime rate is 46% above the national average. Fort Madison has a disproportionately high rate of violent crime, with 71 incidents recorded in 2022, including two murders. Additionally, burglaries, thefts, and vehicle thefts are common occurrences in the city.
With a population of 67,314, Waterloo holds the title of Iowa’s eighth largest city and serves as the county seat of Black Hawk County. Unfortunately, its total crime rate is 33% higher than the national average, making it one of the worst cities to reside in across Iowa. Violent crime is a significant issue in Waterloo, with over 350 incidents, including five murders, reported in 2022 alone. Moreover, property crime is also a major concern, with more than 1,100 cases of theft recorded in the same year.
10. Fort Dodge
Fort Dodge, a major manufacturing center and the seat of Webster County, is unfortunately known for its high crime rates, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Iowa. With a population of 24,871, the city has a total crime rate that exceeds the national average by 28%. Property crime, including personal theft and burglaries, is a frequent occurrence in Fort Dodge. Additionally, crimes such as robbery and assault are also common. However, it is worth noting that there were no recorded murders in Fort Dodge in 2022.