IowaIowa is a Midwestern U.S. state that is bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Big Sioux and Missouri rivers to the west, making it the only state whose east and west borders are formed by rivers. Home to 3.1 million residents, Iowa is the 30th most populous U.S. state, with its capital and largest city being Des Moines. The state has a long history in agriculture, yet has made some transitions in the past century into such areas as energy production, manufacturing, high-tech, and financial services. Still, urban areas cover just 1% of this picturesque state. If you’d like to settle in the Hawkeye State, here are the 15 safest cities in Iowa to help you make a secure choice.

Related: Check out our Iowa Public Records guide.

Our list was compiled based on FBI violent crime stats and proprietary BackgroundChecks.org research data. Rates are normalized per 100,000 residents with the state average being 273 for violent crime and 2,094 for property crime. This is calculated by taking (# of crimes/population) * 100,000.

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#1 Spencer

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Located in Clay County, the city of Spencer is home to 11,200 residents.  Also the county seat, the community sits at the confluence of the Ocheyedan and Little Sioux rivers, is the site of the headquarters of Arnold Motor Supply, and is known for its annual Clay County Fair each fall.  Spencer is the safest place to live in Iowa, with a violent crime rate of 17.8, and the chance of being affected by property crime here just 2.2%.

#2 Waukee

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A city in Dallas County, Waukee is home to 13,700 residents.  Considered a suburb of Des Moines, the community was incorporated in 1878, encompasses nearly 13 square miles, and is served by the Waukee Community School District, one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state.  Another safe place to call home, the violent crime rate in Waukee is 61.9, and residents here have a .09% chance of being involved in a property crime.

#3 Ankeny

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Located in Polk County, the city of Ankeny is home to 45,500 residents.  Another Des Moines suburb, this fast-growing community is the site of many large businesses, has been included on Money’s list of top places to live, and is known for its annual events such as Ankeny Summer Fest and Ankeny Art in the Park.  The violent crime rate here is 73.1, and the chance of being affected by property crime in Ankeny is just 1.3%.

#4 Carroll

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A city in Carroll County, Carroll is home to 10,100 residents.  Also the county seat, the community has an extensive parks and recreation system that includes Swan Lake, 13 parks, a skate park, Sauk Rail Trail, an aquatic center, and a stadium for a semi-pro baseball team.  The violent crime rate in Carroll is 78.7, and residents here have a 1.2% chance of being involved in a property crime.

#5 Johnston

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Located in Polk County, the city of Johnston has a current population of 17,200 residents.  Considered a suburb of Des Moines, this fast-growing community is home to the headquarters of several businesses such as Iowa Public Television and Pioneer Hi-Bred, as well as a large military reservation.  The violent crime rate here is 102.2, and the chance of being affected by property crime in Johnston is just 1.1%.

#6 Marion

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A city in Linn County, Marion is home to 34,700 residents.  Considered a suburb of Cedar Rapids, the community was incorporated in 1839, is served by two different school districts, and is known for its annual events such as The Marion Arts Festival and The Swamp Fox Festival and Parade.  The violent crime rate in Marion is 104.7, and the chance of being involved in a property crime here is 1.7%.

#7 Cedar Falls

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Located in Black Hawk County, the city of Cedar Falls has a current population of 39,200 residents.  The community was founded in 1845 and is home to both the University of Northern Iowa and the Hartman Reserve Nature Center.  The violent crime rate here is 118.9, and residents of Cedar Falls have a 1.6% chance of being affected by property crime.

#8 Ames

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A city in Story County, Ames is home to 58,900 residents.  Just 30 miles north of Des Moines, the community is the site of Iowa State University of Science and Technology as well as the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Disease Center (NADC) and the state’s Department of Transportation.  The violent crime rate in Ames is 131.6, and the chance of being involved in a property crime here is 2.4%.

#9 Urbandale

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Located in Polk and Dallas counties, the city of Urbandale is home to 39,400 residents.  Considered a suburb of Des Moines, the community encompasses 21.9 square miles, and top employers here include Marsh & McLennan Companies and Citigroup.  The violent crime rate here is 140.9, and residents of Urbandale have a 1.7% chance of being affected by property crime.

#10 Mason City

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A city in Cerro Gordo County, Mason City is home to 28,000 residents. Also the county seat, the community lies on the banks of the Winnebago River, is known for its Prairie School architecture, and is famous as the birthplace of Meredith Wilson, who created the famous musical “The Music Man.”  The violent crime rate in Mason City is 142.6, and the chance of being involved in a property crime here is 4.9%.

#11 Altoona

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Located in Polk County, the city of Altoona has a current population of 14,500 residents.  Considered a suburb of Des Moines, the community is home to a popular casino, a horse racing track called Prairie Meadows, and an Amusement Park called Adventureland.  The violent crime rate here is 161.8, and residents of Altoona have a 3.5% chance of being affected by property crime.

#12 West Des Moines

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A city in Polk, Warren, and Dallas counties, West Des Moines is home to 56,600 residents.  The community lies in the Raccoon River Valley, is the site of several large businesses such as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Hy-Vee, and was included on Money’s list of 100 best places to live.  The violent crime rate in West Des Moines is 163.4, and the chance of being involved in a property crime here is 3.1%.

#13 Coralville

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Located in Johnson County, the city of Coralville is home to 18,900 residents.  Considered a suburb of Iowa City, the community lies on the banks of the Iowa River and was named for coral fossils found in the area in the 1800’s.  There is still an active archeological site here called Edgewater Park Site. The violent crime rate here is 165.9, and residents of Coralville have a 2.7% chance of being affected by property crime.

#14 Clive

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A city in Polk and Dallas counties, Clive is home to 15,400 residents.  Considered a suburb of Des Moines, the community encompasses 7.7 square miles and is known for its Greenbelt Park and trail system, an 11.3-mile urban recreational trail that runs through the entire area.  The violent crime rate in Clive is 169.6, and the chance of being involved in a property crime here is 2.1%.

#15 Dubuque

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Located in Dubuque County, the city of Dubuque has a current population of 58,200 residents.  Also the county seat, the community lies on the eastern state line, is home to many large businesses as well as several universities and a long list of historic properties.  The violent crime rate here is 219, and residents of Dubuque have a 3.1% chance of being affected by property crime.

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