Iowa’s 20 Safest Cities of 2019

Written by | Updated April 4, 2019

SafeWise is happy to release our fifth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 20 Safest Cities in Iowa for 2019.  See if your city made the list.

The Hawkeye State can be proud of its 20 safest cities, 70% of which claim the title for the second consecutive year. And although the state’s property crime rate of 29.59 is slightly higher than the national rate of 27.11, residents rank violent crime as their top concern, according to our State of Safety report.

But there’s good news for those concerned citizens because Iowa’s violent crime rate is 3.85 incidents per 1,000 people, which beats the nationwide rate of 4.49. Drilling down, the state ranked being assaulted by a stranger their top violent crime concern—and that seems to echo the stats. Every city on our list reported some incidence of aggravated assault, ranging from one incident each in Carroll, Sioux Center, and Spencer to 51 counts in Ames.

Explore the full list below to see if your Iowa city is one of the safest to call home.

Iowa's Safest Cities

Interesting Findings

  • Every city reported some violent crime, although 35% had fewer than 10 incidents.
  • Only four cities had any counts of murder.
  • Although assault by a stranger is the top violent crime concern on our national State of Safety report, Iowa’s level of concern is lower than the national average, with just 36% naming it a high concern, compared to 50% nationwide.
  • Digital security claims the highest level of concern in Iowa—45% rated it as a top worry, but that’s 14 percentage points lower than the national level of concern.
  • Iowa’s level of concern for each safety area in our study is below the national average—except when it comes to tornadoes: 48% expressed worry about tornadoes, versus just 40% nationwide. With Iowa ranking eighth in the country for the most tornadoes, it’s no surprise residents are concerned.

The 20 Safest Cities in Iowa




Carroll, Iowa
Population 9,920
Median Income $44,561
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.20
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 16.94


Sioux Center


Sioux Center, Iowa
Population 7,578
Median Income $73,185
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.26
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 2.77




Decorah, Iowa
Population 7,883
Median Income $55,282
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.51
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 10.66




Clive, Iowa
Population 17,913
Median Income $94,907
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.78
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.18




Norwalk, Iowa
Population 10,874
Median Income $82,566
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.83
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 8.28


Le Mars


Le Mars, Iowa
Population 9,955
Median Income $58,063
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.90
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.87




Eldridge, Iowa
Population 6,406
Median Income $66,544
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.94
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 7.81


Orange City


Population 6,199
Median Income $71,843
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.29
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 5.16




Altoona, Iowa
Population 18,556
Median Income $77,801
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.29
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 29.37




Spencer, Iowa
Population 11,125
Median Income $45,719
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.35
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 20.67




Johnston, Iowa
Population 21,816
Median Income $94,539
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.47
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 11.09




Bettendorf, Iowa
Population 36,133
Median Income $76,900
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.49
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 17.99




Waukee, Iowa
Population 20,359
Median Income $91,875
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.52
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 11.69




Fairfield, Iowa
Population 10,337
Median Income $36,781
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.55
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 32.70


Mount Pleasant


Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Population 8,349
Median Income $47,060
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.56
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 25.27


Mason City


Mason City, Iowa
Population 27,327
Median Income $47,273
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.57
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 30.52




Creston, Iowa
Population 7,829
Median Income $42,198
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.66
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 21.08




Marion, Iowa
Population 39,050
Median Income $69,882
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.74
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.95




Denison, Iowa
Population 8,304
Median Income $51,122
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.81
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 7.83




Ames, Iowa
Population 67,461
Median Income $42,755
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.84
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 20.63

How We Determined the Safest Cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

Beyond Safest Cities: What Are the Biggest Safety Concerns in Your State?

Crime statistics are one thing, but do they line up with what people are really worried about when it comes to safety? To find out, SafeWise conducted a nationwide survey. See what the biggest safety concern is in your state—and learn more about what your neighbors are nervous about—in our State of Safety report.

If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email

Didn’t Find Your City in the Top 20?

See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

RankCityPopulationViolent Crime (per 1,000)Property Crime (per 1,000)
22Charles City7,4251.8921.41
23Webster City7,7081.9512.71
26Cedar Falls41,7442.0619.69
27Iowa City75,5192.0723.40
30Council Bluffs62,5492.4059.43
31Pleasant Hill9,9102.4234.21
33Cedar Rapids131,8782.8137.55
35North Liberty19,4912.879.75
38Clear Lake7,5593.7019.98
40Sioux City82,8794.3442.97
46Fort Dodge24,3316.2144.18
47Fort Madison10,5256.2733.35
48Storm Lake10,7906.5826.14
49Des Moines217,2776.7044.13

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for Top Home Security Systems of 2019.

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

Click on the state image below to check out our “Safest City” winners for each state.


FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2017 Crime in the United States
SafeWise’s, “2019 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca has honed her safety and security skills as both a single mom and a college director. Being responsible for the well-being of others helped her learn how to minimize risk and create safe environments. Learn more

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