Iowa residents are less concerned about their safety than much of the country. Our 2020 State of Safety report revealed that only 31% of Iowans are worried about safety and security every day—that’s 15 percentage points below the national average.
Iowa has lower crime rates than national averages, which could be why people are less worried about their safety. If you call the Hawkeye State home, your odds of falling victim to violent crime are 2.5 out of 1,000. The national rate is 3.7.
Property crime is less common in Iowa as well. Your odds of experiencing a property crime are 16.9 out of 1,000, versus 22.0 nationwide.
With such low crime rates, it’s no surprise that people in Iowa report average or lower levels of experience with crime. The State of Safety report revealed that 12% of Iowans personally experienced violent crime in the past 12 months, which is on par with the national average.
Iowa's level of concern about safety is 33% below the national average.
But fewer reported a run-in with property crime. Only 22% were personally affected by a property crime in the past year, compared to 24% across the country.
Violent Crime in Iowa: Fear vs. Reality
Being a victim of a mass shooting is the primary violent crime concern in the Hawkeye State, but people feel they’re more likely to be physically assaulted.
36% named mass shooting as the violent crime they’re most concerned about, compared to 38% nationally.
7% reported that they, or someone they know, has been personally affected by a mass shooting at some point. That matches the national average.
In 2019, there were 3 mass shootings in Iowa, leaving 3 dead and 11 injured.
Between 2014 and 2018, Iowa saw 4 mass shootings, resulting in 2 deaths and 16 injured people.
Across the country, there were 2,087 mass shooting incidents between 2014 and 2019.
22% think physical assault by a stranger is the crime that’s most likely to happen to them, versus 26% nationwide.
Aggravated assault was the most commonly reported violent crime in Iowa, making up 75% of all violent crime throughout the state.
Property Crime in Iowa: Fear vs. Reality
Having a break-in when you’re not at home is the biggest property crime worry in Iowa, but respondents felt that it’s more likely that someone would break into their car.
60% named a break-in when not at home as the property crime they’re most concerned about. That’s 2 points below the national average of 62%.
Burglary accounted for 21% of all property crimes reported statewide.
The most prevalent property crime was larceny-theft, making up 70% of all property crime in the state.
31% think the most likely property crime is a vehicle break-in, versus 36% nationally.
Just 13% of Iowa respondents have a home security system. The national average is 24%.
The most widely-used security measure in Iowa is a dog or other guard animal (31% vs. 33% nationally), and second is firearms (both the state and the nation report 28% using this method).
33% use no form of protection or security at home, compared to 29% nationwide.
Iowa’s Safest Cities 2020
We don’t have a ranking of safest cities for Iowa due to limited information reported to the FBI. There is no city-level data available, so state-level details are provided below.
VC = Violent Crime PC = Property Crime
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 20182.5, 2.9, 2.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 201816.9, 21.3, 21.0
How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere
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.
Mass Shooting Definition: SafeWise uses the GVA definition of a mass shooting: “If four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.”
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more