Crime in Iowa

Iowa's crime rate

There were 63,109 crimes reported in Iowa in 2019, the most recent year crime data is available. Adjusted for population, Iowa's crime rate is 2,000 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 2,489 per 100,000 people is 24% higher. Of the 50 states, 35 have a higher crime rate than Iowa.

Crime rates nationwide range from 1,361 per 100,000 in Maine to 3,945 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.

Property crime

The vast majority of crimes in America are property crimes, accounting for 85% of total crimes in 2019. This share was slightly higher in Iowa, with property crimes accounting for 87% of all crimes reported in the state.

There were 54,699 property crimes reported in Iowa in 2019, or 1,734 per 100,000 residents. This is lower than the national rate of 2,110 property crimes per 100,000 people and is the 16th lowest rate of the 50 states.


Larceny is by far the most common type of property crime. The 5,086,096 reported incidents nationwide in 2019 accounted for 73% of all property crime. Iowa's rate of 1,200 reported larceny incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the nationwide rate of 1,550 per 100,000 and is the 14th lowest among states.


An estimated 11,710 break-ins were reported in Iowa in 2019, or 371 per 100,000 state residents -- the 20th highest rate among states. For reference, there were an estimated 1,117,696 break-ins nationwide, or 341 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Motor vehicle theft

Across the U.S., there were 721,885 reported motor vehicle thefts in 2019, a rate of 220 per 100,000 people. Iowa's rate of 163 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents was lower than this national rate and the 16th lowest rate compared to all states.

Violent crime

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 15th lowest total crime rate of all states, it has the 13th lowest violent crime rate. The state’s violent crime rate of 267 per 100,000 people is considerably lower than the national rate of 379 per 100,000. There were 8,410 violent crimes reported to Iowa law enforcement agencies in 2019.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is by far the most common type of violent crime. Nationwide, there were 821,182 aggravated assaults in 2019, accounting for 66% of violent crimes across the country. In Iowa, 6,323 aggravated assaults were reported in 2019. Iowa's rate of aggravated assault of 200 per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 250 per 100,000 and is the 21st lowest of all states.


Robbery is the second most common type of violent crime in America. There were 863 robberies reported in Iowa in 2019, or 27 robberies for every 100,000 residents. This is less than half the national rate of 82 robberies per 100,000 people, and the 10th lowest robbery rate among states.


There were 1,164 reported rapes in 2019 in Iowa. The state's rate of rape of 36.9 per 100,000 residents is lower than the national rate of 42.6 per 100,000 people. Iowa has the 14th lowest rate of rape.


In 2019, there were 60 murders reported to law enforcement in Iowa. The state’s murder rate of 1.9 per 100,000 residents is less than half the national rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Iowa's murder rate is the third 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.

City with the highest crime rate in Iowa

The city with the highest total crime rate in Iowa is Council Bluffs, with a crime rate of 6,635 per 100,000 residents. This excludes cities with a population below 5,000 and cities with incomplete FBI crime reports.

Because property crimes are much more common than violent crimes, often the city with the highest total crime rate in a state has an especially high property crime rate but not the highest violent crime rate. However, this is not the case in Iowa. Not only does Council Bluffs have the highest total crime rate in the state, but it also has the highest property crime rate at 5,845 per 100,000 and highest violent crime rate at 790 per 100,000. The city's violent crime rate is nearly triple the statewide rate.

Crime over time

National historical trend

The FBI provides access to crime data by state dating back to 1960. This 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 2,489 per 100,000, a 58% decline in 28 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 2014-2019

Over the five years since 2014, the nationwide total crime rate has decreased by 15.2%, but this change varied dramatically between states. In New Hampshire, for example, the crime rate decreased by 37.0%, the largest decline of any state. The largest increase was in Alaska, where crime rose by 11.3% between 2014 and 2019.

With a decrease of 15.5%, Iowa's crime rate has fallen by about the same amount as the country as a whole. The crime rate declined in 48 states over this time period, and in most of them, it declined faster 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 60 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.

All cities in Iowa

Here are all Iowa cities ranked by total crime rate. For a city to be included, it must have a complete 2019 FBI crime report and population of 5,000 or more. Click any bar or city name to see more about crime in that city.

Click here to see a list of all city crime pages.

Click here to see a list of all state crime pages.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.