Iowa’s Safest Cities of 2024

HomeIowa’s Safest Cities of 2024

By

Cathy Habas

Mar 14, 2024

3 min read

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Iowa for 2024

NorwalkSioux CenterDecorahNorth LibertyJohnstonUrbandaleSpencerWaukeePellaCarroll

See crime rates for the safest cities.
Iowa’s crime rates remain lower than national and regional averages for the fifth year in a row, and both property and violent crime rates decreased year over year. Iowans are generally less concerned about crime than other Americans but the number of Iowa respondents to our State of Safety survey who feel safe in their state dropped compared to the previous reporting year—from 55% to 52%.
Still, Iowa respondents to our State of Safety Survey reported being less concerned about crime and safety overall (34%) than they were last year (48%).

In this report

Violent crime rates
Property crime rates
Interesting findings
The Safest Cities
Methodology
How to make a safe home anywhere
How other cities compare
How other states compare

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NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2022.

2024 Iowa crime rates
Image: SafeWiseViolent crime and property crime rates in The Hawkeye State are lower than the national averages. Iowa has the twelfth-lowest violent crime rate and seventh-lowest property crime rate in the US. And if you live in one of Iowa’s safest cities, you enjoy crime rates that are even lower.

Property crime in Iowa: Fear vs. reality
Property crime concern has decreased by 12% in Iowa year over year. Data from our latest State of Safety survey shows the opposite trend, with Iowans reporting a 7% increase in property crime experiences (29%, up from 27% last year) during the 12 months prior to the survey.

Iowa’s property crime rate dropped from 15.7 incidents per 1,000 people in last year’s report to 13.8—placing the state 33% below the national property crime rate of 20.7.
Property crime makes up a smaller proportion of all crime in The Hawkeye State (82%) than it does nationwide (84%).
Burglaries are more prevalent in Iowa (16% of all property crimes) than in the rest of the US (13%)—but within the safest cities, burglaries occur 24% less often.
Property crime is the third-most concerning crime issue for Iowa survey respondents, with 43% reporting high concern.
Of the Iowans who reported using some sort of property protection (73%), most prefer security cameras (35%) followed by guard dogs (30%) and firearms (28%).
28% of Iowans said they added or increased security or safety measures in the 12 months prior to the survey (35% US).

Package theft in Iowa

Package theft is the second-most concerning crime among Iowa residents, and they worry about it at the seventh-lowest percentage in the nation at 44% (US 53%).
29% of Iowans claim to have experienced package theft in the last 12 months (US 35%), which represents a 3% decrease year over year.
30% of Iowans told us they “don’t do anything” when asked about their package theft prevention strategies. Installing a video doorbell was the second-most popular answer at 25%.

What security measures do Iowans use most?
Image: SafeWise

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What crimes are Iowa residents concerned about most?
Image: SafeWise
Violent crime in Iowa: Fear vs. reality
Violent crime in The Hawkeye State decreased by 3% year over year, and 33% of Iowa residents reported feeling concerned about violent crime on our latest State of Safety survey—a 28% drop compared to last year’s report.
A lower-than-average percentage of Iowans reported having experienced violent crime in the 12 months prior to the survey: 7% (US 15%). That’s a 30% decrease compared to the previous survey’s results.

Iowa’s violent crime rate of 2.9 is the twelfth-lowest in the nation.
Despite low per capita violent crime, the state sees a higher proportion of violent crime overall—it makes up 18% of all crime in Iowa, compared to 16% nationwide.
Iowa’s prevalence of  robberies is lower than the rest of the US: 14% versus 16%.
35% of Iowans use some form of personal protection (US 36%).
Of the Iowans who use personal protection, most preferred pocket knives (49%) followed by concealed firearms (43%) and pepper spray (34%).

Attitudes about gun violence in Iowa

Gun violence is the most worrisome crime issue in Iowa, with 45% of respondents saying they’re highly concerned (US 51%).
7% said they experienced gun violence in the 12 months prior to our survey (12% US).
Iowans’ gun violence experience decreased 36% year over year.
The number of mass shooting events in Iowa decreased year over year (from 2 to 1).

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.

52 Iowa cities met the criteria for ranking this year, and Norwalk, the top city, made it to the top 20 for the first time.
Sioux Center fell to second place after placing first for the previous three years.
Spencer climbed five spots to land in seventh place this year. 
The collective violent crime rate among the safest cities is 1.0 incidents per 1,000 people—66% below the state’s rate.
North Liberty, Johnston, and Urbandale all rose in the rankings year over year.
Sioux Center was the only city that reported zero burglaries.
Decorah was the only city to report zero car thefts.

The 10 safest cities in Iowa
Image: SafeWise#1Norwalk(New)
Population14,299
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20220.6, N/A, N/A
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20222.2, N/A, N/A
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#2Sioux Center(-1
)
Population8,340
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20220.5, 1.2, 0.4
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20222.6, 1.2, 2.2
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#3Decorah(-1
)
Population7,764
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.5, 0.9, 0.3
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.3, 3.9, 5.6
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#4North Liberty(+2
)
Population21,131
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.1, 2.3, 3.0
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20223.8, 4.0, 5.9
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#5Johnston(+3
)
Population24,295
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20220.7, 1.5, 0.8
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20226.8, 8.4, 9.9
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#6Urbandale(+1
)
Population46,284
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.1, 1.2, 1.0
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20227.0, 9.0, 10.2
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#7Spencer(+5
)
Population11,440
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20220.7, 1.0, N/A
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 202210.0, 12.5, N/A
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#8Waukee(-4
)
Population28,790
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.4, 0.9, 0.9
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20227.3, 6.6, 9.3
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#9Pella(-6
)
Population10,729
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20221.3, 0.9, N/A
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 20227.6, 5.8, N/A
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime#10Carroll( -5
)
Population10,195
VC Rate 2024, 2023, 20220.9, 0.3, 0.8
PC Rate 2024, 2023, 202213.3, 11.6, 11.7
VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

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.

Get a home security systemFind out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems—and learn the basics with our guide on Everything You Need to Know About Home Security. 
Find security and safety resources in your area

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Didn’t find your city?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state email info@safewise.com with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2021.

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.
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Endnotes and sources
FBI Crime Data Explorer, “Documents & Downloads.” Accessed February 6, 2023.

2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports

Offenses Known to Law Enforcement

2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019].” Accessed February 6, 2023.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, “National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).” Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, “2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables.” Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, “2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables.” Accessed February 6, 2023.
SafeWise, “2022 State of Safety survey.” Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology.” Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers.” Accessed January 3, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, “Congress.”

2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.

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Written by

Cathy Habas

With over eight 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 is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador and 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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