These Are The 10 Safest Cities In Iowa

We used data and science to determine the places in Iowa where everyone sleeps safe and sound.

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We all want the finer things in life. Love, comfort and safety are at the top of everyone's list. For a lot of people who live in the fine state of Iowa, safety isn't a problem, but we don't live in the safest state, either. Iowa is somewhere in the middle.

The purpose of this post is to determine where the safest places to live are in the Hawkeye State. Those places where crime is usually something you hear about on Facebook, but not in your local paper.

After analyzing 74 places in Iowa with a population of more than 5,000, we came up with this list as the safest places here:

  1. Orange City
  2. Independence
  3. Norwalk
  4. Eldridge
  5. Waukee
  6. Shenandoah
  7. Johnston
  8. Decorah
  9. Pleasant Hill
  10. Vinton

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

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How we calculated the safest cities in Iowa

While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn't want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI's most recent report of crime (2014). Specifically, we analyzed the FBI's Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used three criteria:

  • Violent crimes per capita (murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies)
  • Property crimes per capita (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts)
  • Total crimes per capita
These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Iowa

For example, there were a total of 15 crimes committed in Orange City which had a reported population of 6,211. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.00242 which translates into a 1 in 414 chance of being the victim of a crime.

We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people reported to the FBI in 2014. This left us with a total of 74 places in Iowa to rank.

We ranked each place for each criteria from 1 to 74 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.

Next, we averaged each places three criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score "The Safest Place In Iowa".

The safest city, based on population, is Orange City. The most dangerous? Fort Dodge, where residents had a 1 in 109 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city's population.

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1. Orange City

Orange City - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,211
Property Crime Rank: 9
Violent Crime Rank: 6

2. Independence

Independence - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,970
Property Crime Rank: 12
Violent Crime Rank: 12

3. Norwalk

Norwalk - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,797
Property Crime Rank: 23
Violent Crime Rank: 4

4. Eldridge

Eldridge - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,126
Property Crime Rank: 4
Violent Crime Rank: 39

5. Waukee

Waukee - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,952
Property Crime Rank: 16
Violent Crime Rank: 17

6. Shenandoah

Shenandoah - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,051
Property Crime Rank: 24
Violent Crime Rank: 7

7. Johnston

Johnston - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 20,435
Property Crime Rank: 19
Violent Crime Rank: 19

8. Decorah

Decorah - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,079
Property Crime Rank: 38
Violent Crime Rank: 5

9. Pleasant Hill

Pleasant Hill - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,149
Property Crime Rank: 29
Violent Crime Rank: 26

10. Vinton

Vinton - Safest Places In Iowa
Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,163
Property Crime Rank: 36
Violent Crime Rank: 16

There You Have It

Looking at the data, you can tell that anything within a 15-minute drive of Orange City is the most desirable, according to science and data. But as most Iowa residents would agree, almost every place here is awesome.

Most dangerous cities in Iowa:
3rd Most Dangerous: Keokuk
2nd Most Dangerous: Clinton
Most Dangerous: Fort Dodge

Detailed List Of The Safest Places To Live In Iowa

CityRankPopulationProperty Crime RankViolent Crime Rank
Orange City16,21196
Independence25,9701212
Norwalk39,797234
Eldridge46,126439
Waukee517,9521617
Shenandoah65,051247
Johnston720,4351919
Decorah88,079385
Pleasant Hill99,1492926
Vinton105,1633616
Carroll119,9882638
Algona125,5041068
Ankeny1353,0994225
Anamosa145,5444735
Bettendorf1535,0454345
North Liberty1615,3592185
Marion1736,4814941
De Witt185,2754653
Ames1962,5146131
Cherokee205,1633776
Pella2110,3475648
Atlantic226,8984864
Estherville236,0733388
Osceola245,0416046
Cedar Falls2540,8836633
Hiawatha267,1778014
Urbandale2742,3365754
Winterset285,0685559
Washington297,39727100
Charles City307,4955267
Clive3116,8817627
Iowa Falls325,2127922
Sheldon335,0685873
Manchester345,0956269
Creston357,9046471
Coralville3620,3928924
Glenwood375,2715392
Spencer3811,1388343
Le Mars399,8218151
Fairfield409,4519621
Webster City417,8366382
Waverly4210,11851101
Altoona4315,9249530
Mason City4427,61810020
West Des Moines4562,3598552
Mount Pleasant468,6629336
Boone4712,6276595
Dubuque4858,4218765
Fort Madison4911,0416796
Storm Lake5010,8197294
Maquoketa516,0449750
Iowa City5272,5228477
Perry538,2046899
Grinnell549,0098674
Clear Lake557,6739858
Muscatine5623,05771106
Indianola5715,1838297
Red Oak585,5319083
Clarinda595,5059186
Oelwein606,22478110
Cedar Rapids61128,90110280
Marshalltown6227,91392103
Centerville635,42910978
Ottumwa6424,79211175
Sioux City6582,37210387
Newton6615,11110489
Burlington6725,76299111
Davenport68102,715107108
Des Moines69208,250110105
Council Bluffs7061,864114102
Waterloo7168,358106115
Keokuk7210,767108114
Clinton7326,375112109
Fort Dodge7424,524113112

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