Reader: Clinton is safer than you think

Several times over the last few years (and three times in recent weeks) people have made public comments, and even have gone so far as to make written comments (like on Facebook, aka Fakebook), regarding alleged FBI data showing Clinton as the fourth most dangerous community in Iowa. Even Quad-City broadcast media have been caught in this false analysis, and without proper vetting of the data went on to broadcast, and later recant, the false narrative. Each time I have heard this I was able to immediately refute the outrageous claim and provide the facts. Did you know that many other communities around the U.S. have also been subject to such misleading and malicious “rankings”?

First, it is important you know the FBI strongly discourages the simplistic rankings of communities based on the accumulated data in its report. The Uniform Crime Reports will explain the multitude of factors that make up the reported crimes for anywhere in the U.S.

Here are the facts as found in the latest FBI Uniform Crime Reports. The raw data can be found here: The report covers the crimes reported by 124 communities in Iowa. The report is broken down into various categories of crimes. Those reported crimes for Clinton are as follows:

- Violent Crime – Clinton, 229 – highest, 1,497.

- Murder and non-negligent homicide – Clinton tied at zero with 98 other communities – highest, 13.

- Rape – Clinton tied with 20 – highest 140.

- Robbery – Clinton, 28 – highest, 318.

- Aggravated Assault – Clinton, 181 – highest, 1,026.

- Property crimes – Clinton, 1,160 – highest, 8,881.

- Burglary – Clinton, 300 – highest, 1,944.

- Larceny/Theft – Clinton, 795 – highest, 5,920.

- Motor vehicle theft – Clinton, 65 – highest, 1,017.

- Arson – Clinton, 3 – highest, 44.

The next time someone tells you how dangerous Clinton is compared to other communities in Iowa, you can now look them directly in the eye and tell them to check their facts before repeating an ignorant, malicious, outrageous claim with no basis in fact. When they try to tell you they read it on the internet, just smile and tell them, “well then, I guess you’re saying they can’t put it on the internet if it’s not true.”

So, if the FBI statistics don’t lie, then who does? Could the liar be the home security company preparing for a telemarketing campaign in Clinton to sell their home security systems? Do I really need to explain why they would make such claim? Could the motive be a desire to tear down a community with twisted and distorted facts?

By the way, Matt Parbs from the Sawmill Museum on November 19, 2016 in a Clinton Herald article debunked the alleged Johnny Carson comment about coming to Clinton, Iowa to get away with murder. That was never said, and his research and reporting proved anyone who says they heard it to have a false memory.

Les Shields,


Les Shields is a retired Clinton police officer.