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Is Des Moines Safe? Here’s What to Know

Iowa State Capitol and Des Moines Skyline

If you’re visiting the Iowa city of Des Moines for a brief business trip, an extended stay, or thinking about moving to the “Hartford of the West,” it’s crucial to know if the city is safe and what areas and neighborhoods are the best for tourists and travelers.

Is Des Moines an unsafe city? Is it riddled with property crime? Are violent crimes a daily occurrence? Do you need to exhibit serious situational awareness just to walk down the street?

Or is Des Moines a relatively safe place? Will you need to concern yourself with minor property crimes like a stolen bicycle, or is the Des Moines crime rate a reason to avoid the city entirely?

Before you travel or relocate to any American city, it’s vital to understand the crime rate and some basic safety statistics. I took some time to delve into the numbers and put together information on Des Moines safety. Here’s everything you need to know about the crime rate in Des Moines, where you’ll find safe neighborhoods and other helpful statistics about the city’s crime index.

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Des Moines Crime Rates

Iowa State Capitol and Des Moines Skyline
Matt Fowler KC /

Per the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Des Moines saw a 6.83 percent rise in crime from 2021 to 2022. While that statistic may seem disappointing, the jump was mainly due to property crimes like arson and robbery and non-violent crimes like extortion and embezzlement.

The city only experienced one homicide in 2021 and zero in 2022. Crimes like fraud, burglary, counterfeiting, and destruction of property were all down, too, from 2021 to 2022. During that same time, Des Moines residents saw minor increases in the rates of weapons charges, drug activity, and larceny.

Des Moines has a violent crime rate that’s lower than the national average, according to statistics published by US News & World Report. The publication measures its crime rate as the number of crimes committed per 100,000 people and gives Des Moines an average violent crime rate of 336.5, which is lower than the national average of around 400.

If we compare Des Moines to other similarly-sized metro areas, the city is much safer than Fresno, California, which has a crime rate of 594.4, and Omaha, Nebraska, which has a crime rate of 425.1.

It looks even better if you broaden…

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