Iowa's crime rate
There were 61,278 crimes reported in Iowa in 2018, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Iowa's crime rate is 1,942 crimes per 100,000 residents.
How does Iowa compare?
Crime is less common in Iowa than it is on average nationwide. By comparison, the national crime rate of 2,580 per 100,000 people is 33% higher. Of the 50 states, 36 have a higher crime rate than Iowa.
Crime rates nationwide range from 1,422 per 100,000 in New Hampshire to 4,276 per 100,000 in New Mexico, the states with the lowest and highest crime rates, respectively.
Here are the crime rates for all 50 states.
What types of crimes are being committed?
The FBI's crime rate includes seven crime categories: three property crimes -- larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft, and four violent crimes -- aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.
The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2018. This share was slightly higher in Iowa, with property crimes accounting for 87% of all crimes reported in the state.
There were 53,385 property crimes reported in Iowa in 2018, or 1,691 per 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 15th lowest rate of the 50 states.
Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,217,055 reported incidents nationwide in 2018 accounted for 72% of all property crime. Iowa's rate of 1,190 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,595 per 100,000 and is the 11th lowest among states.
An estimated 11,127 break-ins were reported in Iowa in 2018, or 353 per 100,000 state residents -- the 25th lowest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,230,149 break-ins nationwide, or 376 break-ins per 100,000 people.
Motor vehicle theft
Across the U.S., there were 748,841 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2018, a rate of 229 per 100,000 people. Iowa's rate of 149 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 14th lowest rate compared to all states.
Violent crimes make up a small share of crimes nationwide. In Iowa, violent crimes account for just 13% of total crimes, versus 15% nationwide.
While Iowa has the 14th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 15th lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 250 per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the national rate of 381 per 100,000. There were 7,893 violent crimes reported to Iowa law enforcement agencies in 2018.
Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 807,410 aggravated assaults in 2018, accounting for 65% of violent crimes across the country. In Iowa, 5,931 aggravated assaults were reported in 2018. Iowa's rate of aggravated assault of 188 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 247 per 100,000 and is the 18th lowest of all states.
Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 932 robberies reported in Iowa in 2018, or 30 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is roughly a third of the national rate of 86 robberies per 100,000 people, and the eighth lowest robbery rate among states.
There were 976 reported rapes in 2018 in Iowa. The state's rate of rape of 30.9 per 100,000 residents is lower than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Iowa has the sixth lowest rate of rape.
In 2018, there were 54 murders reported to law enforcement in Iowa. The state’s murder rate of 1.7 per 100,000 residents is a fraction of the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Iowa's murder rate is the fifth lowest in the country.
Where are these crimes being committed?
Because crime is influenced by local circumstances, crime levels vary considerably within each state. Often a state’s dense urban areas will have higher crime rates than its rural areas. Even in a state with an exceptionally low crime rate, there is often at least one area where crime rates exceed the nation.
Crime over time
National historical trend
The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This nearly 60-year span, can be divided into three periods. Crime skyrocketed between 1960 and 1980, with the crime rate more than tripling in just 20 years from 1,887 crimes per 100,000 Americans to 5,950 crimes per 100,000 Americans.
Crime remained high in the 1980s and reached its second highest peak in 1991. Since that year, crime has fallen steadily nationwide, reaching its current rate of 2,580 per 100,000, a 56% decline in 27 years.
Iowa's historical trend
In 1960, Iowa's crime rate was 1,124 crimes per 100,000 residents. Crime peaked in the state in 1980 at 4,747 per 100,000, an increase of 322%.
Crime changes 2013-2018
Over the five years since 2013, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 16.8%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 43.6%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 19.0% between 2013 and 2018.
With a decrease of 21.4%, Iowa's crime rate has fallen faster than the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 47 states over this time period, but in most of them, it declined slower than in Iowa.
How Iowa has compared to other states historically
Since 1960, Iowa has always had a lower crime rate than the majority of states. Over these 59 years, the state has been among the 10 states with the lowest crime rates in 19 of them, but never among the states with the highest crime rates.