FBI data: Iowa saw record high murder rate in 2020

By: - September 27, 2021 5:02 pm

Iowa had a record high number of homicides in 2020, according to FBI data. (Graph via FBI Crime Data Explorer)

Iowa’s homicide rate hit a record high in 2020, according to a report Monday from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There were 111 homicide offenses in Iowa in 2020, according to annual FBI data. That’s a nearly 60% increase from 2019, when Iowa recorded 70 murders. It’s also the largest number of Iowa homicides since the FBI began tracking the statistic in 1979.

The per-capita homicide rate also went up in 2020. There were 3.5 homicide offenses per 100,000 people last year, compared to 2.2 offenses per 100,000 in 2019.

Iowa had a record high number of homicides in 2020, according to FBI data. (Graph via FBI Crime Data Explorer)

When other violent crimes like rape, robbery and aggravated assault were included in the data, 2020 was the second most violent year in Iowa’s recent history. There were a total of 9,601 violent crimes last year, including murders.

The most violent year was 1995, with a record 10,071 violent crimes. But there were only 51 homicides that year, according to the FBI data.

Last year had the second-highest number of violent crimes since 1979. (Graph via FBI Crime Data Explorer)

Homicides, violent crime increases nationally

Murders and other violent crimes increased across the U.S. in 2020. The number of murders increased by nearly 30% in 2020, with 4,901 more cases than in 2019. 

The overall violent crime rate increased by about 5%.

Nationally, homicide rates still remain lower than they did in the early 1990s, when there were about 24,000 murders a year. 

While violent offenses increased in 2020, property crimes fell for the 18th consecutive year. There were 53,725 property crimes in Iowa last year, down nearly 5,000 from 2019.

The FBI’s report does not provide analysis or information about why certain crimes become more or less common over time.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.

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