The State of Safety in Iowa 2020

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 crime experience infographic; 12% violent crime, 22% property crime, 7% mass shooting

View the complete 2020 State of Safety report.

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.

31% of people in Iowa worry about crime on a daily basis in 2020, compared to 32% of people in 2019.

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.
36% of Iowa residents are most concerned about mass shootings
22% of Iowa residents believe they're most likely to be physically assaulted

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.
60% of Iowa residents are most concerned about a home break-in when they're away
31% of Iowa residents believe they're most likely to experience a vehicle break-in

Iowa’s Safest Cities 2020

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.

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

Iowa map
  • Circle Population
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.5, 2.9, 2.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    16.9, 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.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

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


FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “Quick Facts, Iowa
Gun Violence Archive (GVA), “Mass Shootings Reports

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.”

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for 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.

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