How Safe is Des Moines, Iowa? – An In-Depth Analysis

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Des Moines, Iowa, often hailed as a gem in the Midwest, offers a unique juxtaposition of urban development and suburban tranquility. When considering how safe Des Moines, Iowa is, it’s important to note that, like any city, it has areas of varying safety levels.

The general perception among residents is one of security, especially in suburban neighborhoods. In terms of safety, Des Moines compares favorably with other similarly sized cities in the United States.

The efforts of local law enforcement and community initiatives have been key in maintaining a safe environment in most parts of the city. This balance of urban amenities and suburban peace is a significant factor in why living in Des Moines, Iowa, is appealing to many.

A Move to Des Moines, Iowa

If you are looking to move or relocate to Des Moines, Iowa, there are probably numerous questions that need answering. Des Moines is an increasingly popular destination for those seeking a balanced lifestyle.

Known for its friendly community, affordable cost of living, and thriving job market, especially in sectors like insurance and agriculture, it’s a city that offers big-city amenities without the hustle and bustle.

Read on to find out more!

Des Moines Iowa Crime Rate Analysis

How safe is Des Moines? The Des Moines Iowa crime rate is a crucial aspect of understanding how safe Des Moines, Iowa is. Recent statistics show a mixed picture. For instance, the Downtown area has a higher crime index than the national average, with 3,803 crimes per 100,000 residents.

On the other hand, the city’s overall violent crime rate stands at 2.253 incidents per 1,000 residents, and property crimes occur at a rate of 14.85 per 1,000 residents. These numbers indicate that while some neighborhoods experience higher crime rates, the city as a whole maintains a moderate level of safety.

Neighborhood Safety

Discussing neighborhood safety is essential in addressing the question, “Is Des Moines safe?” Neighborhoods like Arbor Peaks and Beaverdale boast low crime rates and a family-friendly environment, making them attractive for residents seeking safety and community.

However, areas such as East Village, despite their cultural and social appeal, face challenges with higher incidences of theft, burglary, and assault. This disparity in neighborhood safety levels is a key consideration for those contemplating living in Des Moines, Iowa.

Living in Des Moines, Iowa

the countryside near des moines

Living here offers a blend of lifestyle options catering to diverse preferences. The city’s suburbs are known for their safety and community-oriented living, while the urban areas offer more dynamic and culturally rich environments, albeit with varied safety profiles.

Des Moines boasts a range of amenities, including parks, schools, and cultural institutions, enhancing the quality of life for its residents. Despite the challenges in certain areas, the overall experience of living here is marked by a sense of community and relative safety.

Safety Initiatives and Law Enforcement

The commitment to safety in Des Moines is evident in the proactive efforts of its law enforcement and community programs. Recent initiatives focus on building trust between the police and the community, a crucial step in enhancing safety.

The introduction of a community review board is a testament to this effort. These measures are not just about reducing crime rates but also about creating a more inclusive and safe environment for all residents, further affirming how safe Des Moines, Iowa.

Safety Tips for Residents and Visitors

For those considering how safe Des Moines, Iowa is, it’s important to adopt personal safety measures. Residents and visitors should remain vigilant, especially in areas with higher crime rates. Avoiding risky areas, especially at night, and being aware of one’s surroundings are essential safety tips.

For tourists, staying in well-reputed neighborhoods and consulting with locals for safety advice is advisable. These precautions are crucial for ensuring a safe experience while living in or visiting Des Moines, Iowa.

Impact of Safety on Housing and Real Estate

The housing and real estate market in Des Moines is currently experiencing robust activity, driven by a combination of a strong economy, low unemployment rates, a growing population, and a limited inventory of homes.

As of October 2023, the median listing home price in Des Moines was $225,000, which is a 4.7% increase from the previous year.

This reflects a healthy and active market, with homes often selling for around their asking price. Des Moines is in a seller’s market phase, with more buyers than available homes, leading to a competitive environment for buyers.

The average home value in Des Moines was $194,249 as of September 30, 2023, representing a 4.4% increase over the past year. Homes are moving quickly, with an average time to the pending sale of about 8 days, indicating a fast-paced market.

In terms of safety and inspections, Des Moines Real Estate offers a comprehensive inspection process to ensure the quality and safety of homes. Inspections cover a wide range of areas including walls, roofs, grading, electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing, and kitchens.

Specialized inspections might be recommended for issues like asbestos, radon, lead-based paint, termites, mold, chimneys, and septic tanks. These inspections are crucial for buyers to understand the condition of a property and make informed decisions.

They also play a vital role in the negotiation process, allowing buyers to negotiate prices or back out of deals based on inspection outcomes. Most lenders in Des Moines recommend a property inspection report before sanctioning a loan, except in cases where a house is sold ‘as is’.

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The Role of Education and Schools in Community Safety

In Des Moines, the role of education and schools in community safety is multifaceted and emphasizes the importance of proactive measures and community involvement.

The Governor’s School Safety Initiative has introduced the Safe+Sound Iowa program, which includes a comprehensive set of tools and resources to enhance school safety.

This program offers various aids such as a “How-To” video for the Safe+Sound Iowa app, guides, PowerPoint presentations, posters, and social media toolkits, all designed to promote awareness and use of this safety resource among students, parents, and community members.

The program is supported by a $100 million investment to protect Iowa’s students and includes initiatives like emergency school radios, vulnerability assessments, critical incident mapping, and active shooter response training.

The Safe+Sound Iowa app, a key component of this initiative, provides a secure and anonymous platform for reporting safety concerns, ensuring quick and effective communication between concerned individuals and the relevant authorities.

In addition to these safety measures, Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) focuses on the broader role of schools in supporting community well-being.

Community School Coordinators (CSCs) in DMPS play a crucial role in connecting students and families with essential resources, including food, clothing, healthcare, and educational support.

This approach not only addresses immediate needs but also cultivates a nurturing environment that fosters the development of future leaders. By strengthening these community ties, schools in Des Moines are positioned as central pillars in the community, contributing significantly to the overall safety and well-being of the area.

These efforts highlight the critical role that educational institutions play in fostering safe and thriving communities.

Business and Safety in Des Moines

In Des Moines, the safety landscape varies across different neighborhoods. Areas like Arbor Peaks and Beaverdale are known for their low crime rates and appeal to young professionals and families.

These neighborhoods provide a safe and vibrant community environment. On the other hand, Downtown Des Moines experiences higher crime rates compared to the national average. However, the city as a whole doesn’t have a significant reputation for high crime.

This diversity in safety across neighborhoods is crucial for those considering business ventures or relocation to Des Moines. Each area offers a unique experience, and understanding these nuances is key for making informed decisions about where to conduct business or settle down.

Transportation and Safety

In Des Moines, the City Council has approved the “Vision Zero” plan aimed at reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2040.

This ambitious project was initiated after analyzing crash data from 2017 to 2021, identifying five key “crash corridors” that include Euclid Avenue, Forest Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr Parkway, Douglas Avenue, and SE 14th Street.

The plan involves a combination of infrastructure changes, enhanced enforcement, and educational components to improve traffic safety. Additionally, the city will be applying for the “Safe Streets And Roads For All” grant to fund these improvements, with an emphasis on both engineering changes and a cultural shift towards prioritizing traffic safety.

Health and Safety

In Des Moines, the overall health and safety landscape is influenced by various factors, including crime rates in different neighborhoods, air quality issues, and public health concerns like respiratory illnesses.

When it comes to safety, neighborhoods in Des Moines present a varied picture. Areas like Arbor Peaks and Beaverdale are known for their low crime rates and are popular among young professionals and families.

In contrast, Downtown Des Moines experiences a higher crime rate than the national average, which is a consideration for those looking to reside or do business there. The diverse neighborhoods each offer unique experiences and safety profiles, important for residents and visitors to consider.

Health-wise, Des Moines faces challenges similar to many urban areas. A significant concern recently has been poor air quality. For instance, there was a period when the air quality index in Polk County reached levels where even healthy individuals could experience health effects.

During such times, it’s recommended to minimize outdoor activities and consider wearing N-95 masks when outside. Additionally, Des Moines Public Schools have highlighted the increase in respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, influenza, and RSV in the community.

Vaccinations, avoiding contact with sick individuals, and practicing good hygiene are emphasized as key prevention steps.

Innovative approaches are also being undertaken to enhance health and safety in specific sectors.

For example, the Des Moines Fire Department has prioritized cancer prevention and behavioral health in its operations, with the introduction of new fire station designs that incorporate features to reduce carcinogen exposure and improve the overall well-being of firefighters.

Visitor Safety in Des Moines

Visitor safety in Des Moines is a multifaceted topic that encompasses both crime rates in different neighborhoods and general safety tips for travelers.

Des Moines has a violent crime rate that is lower than the national average, which is a reassuring factor for visitors. When compared to other similar-sized metro areas, Des Moines tends to be safer.

For example, its violent crime rate is considerably lower than in cities like Fresno, California, and Omaha, Nebraska. In terms of violent and property crime rates, Des Moines is relatively average compared to many U.S. cities. However, certain neighborhoods in Des Moines do have higher crime rates and may require extra vigilance.

These include Laurel Hill, Capitol East, Jordan Park, East Village, and River Bend. On the other hand, neighborhoods like Arbor Peaks and Beaverdale are known for their low crime rates and are popular among young professionals and families.

For visitors, Des Moines offers a range of attractions and activities. The city is described as a hidden gem with great restaurants, culture, and attractions, while still being compact and easy to navigate.

Important places to visit include the State Capitol, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, various museums, and local festivals.

The Downtown Farmers Market and various outdoor activities are also highlights for visitors. For accommodations, there are a variety of options, ranging from family-friendly hotels to boutique hotels like the Surety Hotel located downtown.

General safety tips for visitors include staying vigilant, especially in densely populated neighborhoods, and considering travel insurance for added security. It’s also advisable to keep in touch with friends or family about travel plans and to stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

Future Prospects for Safety in Des Moines

The prospects for safety in Des Moines are being actively shaped by various initiatives and community-driven plans. One significant development is the set of recommendations provided by 21CP Solutions to improve policing in the city.

This report, discussed by the Des Moines City Council, suggests 46 recommendations, including the creation of a community review board. This board aims to enhance transparency in policing and ensure equitable treatment of all races, which could significantly improve public safety and community trust.

Additionally, the Capital Crossroads has announced a comprehensive regional vision plan, “Central Iowa’s Roadmap to Opportunity and Prosperity for All”. This plan is the result of extensive community input, research, and data review, and it sets out six critical outcomes.

These include fostering regional collaboration, ensuring equity and inclusion, strategic placemaking, addressing workforce housing needs, promoting job growth, and enhancing education.

The implementation of this roadmap is expected to significantly impact the region’s future, including safety aspects, by promoting comprehensive development and community well-being.

These efforts are crucial in shaping the perception of safety in Des Moines, which is already seen as a relatively safe city compared to other U.S. cities.

This perception of safety, along with the city’s initiatives to further enhance it, has been noted by Des Moines moving companies, who have observed an increased number of people moving to the area.

The combination of lower crime rates and ongoing efforts to improve safety likely contributes to this trend, making Des Moines an increasingly attractive destination for new residents.

So, what are you waiting for? Des Moines boasts excellent schools, picturesque parks, and a vibrant cultural scene, including a burgeoning arts community and a variety of festivals and events year-round.

With its blend of urban convenience and Midwestern charm, Des Moines presents an attractive option for families, professionals, and anyone looking for a high-quality life in a welcoming community.

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