Most Dangerous Cities in Iowa

List of the Top 6 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Iowa (2023)

Iowa may be a suitable option if you’re seeking a more affordable and spacious place to live. The state is renowned for its expansive farmland, relaxed way of life and numerous fairs. However, if you’re concerned about safety, it’s best to avoid certain cities with high crime rates. Below, we’ve compiled a list of Iowa’s top ten most dangerous cities.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Iowa

1. Ottumwa

Ottumwa, a city in Iowa, is considered the most dangerous city in the state due to its high crime rates. Being the county seat of Wapello County and situated along the Des Moines River, Ottumwa’s violent crime rate is 124% above the national average, with a population of 25,529. Unfortunately, violent crimes such as murders, robberies, and assaults are prevalent in the city. Additionally, the area is also plagued by drug trafficking, which contributes to a significant portion of the local property crime.

2. Davenport

Davenport, situated along the magnificent Mississippi River, is among the most dangerous cities in Iowa. With a population of 101,724, it is also one of the largest cities in the state. Unfortunately, Davenport struggles with a total crime rate of 81% higher than the national average, making it a dangerous place to live. Property crime is the most common type in the area, with burglary and personal or property theft being the most frequently reported incidents. Shockingly, there were ten murders and 98 robberies reported in 2022. Poverty is widespread in many parts of Davenport, and drug addiction poses a significant health concern for the community.

3. Des Moines 

With over 214,100 residents, Des Moines serves as the capital of Iowa and is the most populous city in the state. Unfortunately, Des Moines has a crime rate of 62% higher than the national average, making it one of the worst cities to live in Iowa if crime is a concern. Violent and property crimes are prevalent in Des Moines, with assaults, thefts, vehicle thefts, and burglaries being significant issues. Shockingly, the city recorded two murders and 165 robberies in 2022. Moreover, poverty and drug addiction pose significant challenges for Des Moines and the surrounding area.

4. Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs, located just outside of Omaha, Nebraska, is considered a dangerous city in Pottawattamie County. With a population of 62,800, the city has a total crime rate that is 61% higher than the national average. Property crime is the most common type in this area, while violent crime remains below the national average. Burglary, theft, and vehicle theft are the most frequently reported crimes. While there were no reported murders, there were 28 robbery cases in 2022.

5. Burlington

Burlington, situated in Des Moines County, is a city known for Iowa’s famous winding Snake Alley Street. Although the city’s population has declined from the 2000 census, it remains one of Iowa’s most dangerous cities. The total crime rate in Burlington is 57% higher than the national average, with a significantly higher rate of violent crimes. However, despite the prevalence of violent crimes, most of the city’s criminal activity is related to theft and burglary.

6. Keokuk

Located at the intersection of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, Keokuk is among the cities in Iowa with the highest crime rates. With a population of around 9,900, the town has a crime rate exceeding the national average by 56%. Property crime is rampant in Keokuk, with over 281 cases reported in 2022. Although less frequent, violent crime is also a concern, with 87 incidents recorded in the same year.

7. Sioux City

Sioux City, the fourth largest city in Iowa, sits on the banks of the Missouri River and is home to a population of 85,797 individuals. Unfortunately, it also holds the reputation of being one of the most violent cities in Iowa, with a total crime rate 54% higher than the national average. Assaults, robberies, and thefts are the most common crimes in Sioux City. To make matters worse, the city’s economy has stagnated or declined for decades, leaving its residents in a difficult position.

8. Fort Madison

Fort Madison, located along the Mississippi River, is among the most dangerous cities in Iowa and serves as the county seat of Lee County. With a population of 10,270, the town has a total crime rate that is 46% higher than the national average. In proportion to its people, Fort Madison has a high rate of violent crimes, including 71 incidents, which included two murders recorded in 2022. Additionally, burglary, theft, and vehicle theft are prevalent crimes in this area.

9. Waterloo

Waterloo, Iowa, is known for being the eighth largest city in the state and is home to the county seat of Black Hawk County. However, it also has a less-than-stellar reputation due to its high crime rate, which is 33% above the national average. In particular, violent crime is a significant concern in Waterloo, with over 350 incidents reported in 2022, including five murders. Unfortunately, this makes Waterloo one of Iowa’s worst cities to live in. Property crime is also a significant issue, with over 1,100 theft incidents recorded during the same year.

10. Fort Dodge

Fort Dodge, located in Iowa, has gained a reputation as one of the most difficult cities in the state. Despite being a central manufacturing hub and serving as the Webster County seat, the city of Fort Dodge, with a population of 24,871, has a total crime rate that is 28% higher than the national average. Property crimes are prevalent in this city, with personal theft and burglaries being the most common. Additionally, crimes such as assault and robbery occur frequently. However, it is worth noting that there have been no recorded murders in Fort Dodge in 2022

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