Iowa’s Safest Cities of 2024

Cathy Habas
Mar 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read3 min read
SafeWise is pleased to release the 10th annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Iowa for 2024

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

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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: SafeWise

Violent 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?

Security measures used most in Iowa: security cameras, guard dogs, firearms.

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

#1
Norwalk
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    14,299
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.6, N/A, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.2, N/A, N/A
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#2
Sioux Center
(
-1
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,340
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.5, 1.2, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    2.6, 1.2, 2.2
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#3
Decorah
(
-1
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,764
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.5, 0.9, 0.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.3, 3.9, 5.6
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
North Liberty, Iowa
#4
North Liberty
(
+2
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    21,131
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.1, 2.3, 3.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    3.8, 4.0, 5.9
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#5
Johnston
(
+3
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    24,295
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.7, 1.5, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    6.8, 8.4, 9.9
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Urbandale, Iowa
#6
Urbandale
(
+1
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    46,284
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.1, 1.2, 1.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    7.0, 9.0, 10.2
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Spencer, Iowa
#7
Spencer
(
+5
Up
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    11,440
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.7, 1.0, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    10.0, 12.5, N/A
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#8
Waukee
(
-4
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    28,790
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.4, 0.9, 0.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    7.3, 6.6, 9.3
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Pella, Iowa
#9
Pella
(
-6
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    10,729
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    1.3, 0.9, N/A
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    7.6, 5.8, N/A
  • Info
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Carroll, Iowa
#10
Carroll
(
-5
Down
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    10,195
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    0.9, 0.3, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2024, 2023, 2022
    13.3, 11.6, 11.7
  • Info
    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

Over 6 in 10 Americans surveyed don't have a home security system, despite over 50% of all burglaries being residential. Unfortunately, a majority of people who have a security system added it after they had a break-in. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens—and get immediate help if a break-in is detected—is to add a monitored home security system.

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Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state below to check out the safest cities for each state.

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Endnotes and sources

Find all endnotes and sources in our full methodology.

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed March 18, 2024.

  • 2022 and 2021 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2022 NIBRS Estimation Tables

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed March 18, 2024.

Gun Violence Archive, "Mass Shootings." Accessed March 18, 2023.

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Cathy Habas
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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