Iowa : Safety by City
- Arnolds Park
- Cedar Falls
- Cedar Rapids
- Clear Lake
- Council Bluffs
- Des Moines
- Fort Dodge
- Fort Madison
- Iowa City
- Mason City
- North Liberty
- Pleasant Hill
- Polk City
- Sioux City
- Spirit Lake
- Storm Lake
- The Amana Colonies
- West Des Moines
A visit to Bettendorf, Iowa, means you’re actually getting to visit four cities in two states.
Bettendorf is part of the Quad City region, including Davenport in Iowa and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.
There’s also an East Moline, but that would make it the Quint Cities and, for some reason, it’s just going to stay named the Quad Cities.
Illinois and Iowa are split by the Mississippi River, slicing the Quad City region right down the middle.
So on top of all the cities to explore, you also have river activities.
Bettendorf comes off as a quiet residential area until you look a little closer.
There are casinos in and around the city offering plenty of exciting adult activities.
Throughout the middle section of the city, there are family-friendly opportunities, including a museum just for families.
If the Quad Cities, with its 390,000 people, is a little too small, Chicago and Des Moines are each two and a half hours away, making for easy day trips back and forth.
Each city in the Quad Cities area is a little different as far as safety goes, so research all four of them (five when you count East Moline) on our website to choose the one that is right for you.
Bettendorf is by far the safest.
(I’m not playing favorites.
I did the research for all five cities and I have no dog in the fight.)
There are many hotels on the interstate between Davenport and Bettendorf, making for great central hotel options.
Warnings & Dangers in Bettendorf
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk in Bettendorf, highlighting the phrase IN BETTENDORF. Davenport is much more dangerous and it's just a stone's throw away. Bettendorf has low crime rates without sacrificing having things to do.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Bettendorf offers three routes on Bettendorf Transit. This is a downside of the Quad Cities, as there isn't one central public transportation system. Davenport has its own, as does Rock Island. You can connect between the three at certain bus stations, but it's not a seamless experience. Taxis and rideshares are also available. There's low risk when riding Bettendorf Transit, but the risk goes up when you cross the river or the city boundary.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, with a one in 83 risks of being a theft victim. I'd still use caution as if it was a medium risk since crime can easily spill over from neighboring cities.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The river is the biggest risk and reward for the city. Flooding happens quite often here and you have to keep an eye on river levels before and during your trip here. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are possible in warmer months. Winter is going to bring snowstorms and ice storms. There's a medium risk of escalated weather conditions throughout the year, so plan accordingly.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The robbery risk here is less than half the national average. You should feel safe with a low risk that it will happen to you, but Davenport is definitely a medium risk.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in this whole area because first, a major river runs through here, and second, there's an Army Arsenal on the island in the center of the region. Military installations are generally considered to be, and protected as, hard targets.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are common scams here, generally made by phone or email, but nothing that should surprise a tourist. The residents should be more worried about getting scams than visitors.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe visiting Bettendorf, but with extra caution because of the crime in nearby Davenport. It's rare for someone to visit just one of the Quad Cities on a trip. You should review the safety advice for all of the cities in this small area. Also, use caution when you're at the casino to make sure nobody follows you out to your car. You can also ask a member of security to walk with you, free of charge.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
I really enjoy reading the Am Water Consumer Confidence Reports. There is so much easy-to-digest information about what goes into keeping a water supply clean. It also gives simple testing data to show there were no violations reported in the 2021 report and that the water is safe to use with low risk.
Safest Places to Visit in Bettendorf
Ahead of your trip, go to VisitQuadCities.com and sign up for the QC Pass.
This is a free pass that will highlight some of the biggest family-friendly attractions in the area and offer discounts for each one.
While it’s more of a tourism tool than a cost-cutter, it’s still a great tool to figure out your way around this region.
The Family Museum offers interactive and role-playing exhibits for everyone.
There’s a water play table mimicking the Mississippi River, a digging area, and an imagination studio for budding artists.
There’s a farm area where you can chuck corn, pick fresh eggs, and take care of farm animals.
(The animals aren’t real.)
To see the real animals, you’ll need to drive about 10 miles over the river and through the woods to Niabi Zoo.
The zoo is open from April through October and you should book in advance to make sure tickets are available.
You can do that online.
Isle Casino Hotel is a casino located in Bettendorf, but there are others nearby.
It’s right near the riverfront and has slot games, table games, and a sports book.
Check the calendar of events to see who’s playing during your visit.
There are a lot of great restaurants and breweries to visit in Bettendorf, but Central Standard is known for its incredible milkshakes.
The restaurant also has a “Shake of the Month” that is usually focused on charitable causes.
You can also try the Midwestern staple appetizer of cheese curds.
These come with a special raspberry jalapeno twist.
The park system in Bettendorf is robust.
There’s an aquatic center (aka – pool) in the summer and a Frozen Landing outdoor ice rink in the winter.
Veterans Memorial Park is in the center of the community and there’s a section to honor Americans who served in the military, and at a respectful distance away, you’ll find sports options like sand volleyball.
For parks along the Mississippi River in Bettendorf you can choose from:
- Leach Park
- Pat & Jack Bush Scenic Overlook
- Eagles Landing Park/Boat Launch
- Pigeon Creek Park
- Meier Park
Places to Avoid in Bettendorf
The southwest part of the city around the river and I-75 have the highest crime rates in Bettendorf.
It is in the same area where the casino is located.
However, you should just use extra caution there.
You don’t need to avoid it.
If this area has experienced heavy rain before your visit or is going to get a lot of rain while you’re there – I’d consider rescheduling the trip.
These cities along the riverfront all flood easily.
If you choose to stay at one of the casinos there, ask about flood risks before you book.
Not only is flooding going to cut off some of the attractions and possibly inhibit your ability to drive over the bridges, but you might also end up spending your vacation helping sandbag streets.
There are five bridges in the Quad Cities to go back and forth and in winter you should use extreme caution on the bridges.
I don’t like bridges at all, so I would definitely avoid Arsenal Bridge, as it’s narrow and double-decked.
Bridges are going to freeze over first, even if there’s not a lot of snow or sleet falling.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Bettendorf
- Drug crimes were up as much as 66% in Bettendorf for 2021. If you have any suspicion of drug-related activity, call the police at (563)344-4015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a problem in many Iowa towns. It’s not exclusive to Bettendorf.
- Don’t be surprised if you see hunters with bows and arrows around the city from September through January. There are a limited number of urban bow hunter licenses to control the deer population in the city. There is a slew of safety precautions that go with this license, so you shouldn’t have to worry about being mistaken for a deer.
- Anglers will need a fishing license here. Illinois and Iowa have a reciprocity agreement, so a license from one state will be valid in the neighboring state when it is close in proximity. You will need to have either an Illinois or Iowa license. You won’t be able to use your license from home.
- Bettendorf has a wide variety of bicycle lanes and trails throughout the city. Iowa law doesn’t require a helmet for adults or children, but it’s still smart to wear one. When riding on the road, you should follow the same laws as if you were driving a car. When driving on the trails, give the right of way to pedestrians and use proper signals and etiquette when passing.
- The Emergency Management section of the Bettendorf city website has safety guidelines for all activities, summer, and winter.
- When visiting in the winter, put some extra blankets and water in your vehicle. Some people bring a stretch of carpet to help get a car out of a snowbank. You should also bring a bright red or yellow cloth to be able to put on the outside of your car as blowing snow can reduce visibility substantially.
- You should review the National Weather Service designations for weather watches and warnings if you aren’t familiar with them. There’s a big difference between a watch and a warning, or a winter storm warning and a blizzard.
- Never, ever, drive through a flooded intersection or down a flooded road. It doesn’t matter if other people are doing it. It matters even less that you’re confident in being able to handle the road. Just six inches of water can carry a car away and you certainly don’t want to get swept into the current of the Mississippi River.
- Speaking of the river, you should really avoid swimming in it. Not only is the current strong, but it’s a muddy river. There’s debris like tree branches that could drag you under and pin you. There’s also glass, bacteria, and other dangerous items hidden in the murky water. I grew up on the Mississippi River and I can proudly say I never once got in the water, aside from a time the river was an arm’s length away from spilling over the St. Louis flood wall and I had to try it to believe it. But that was just a hand. I still felt dirty.
- Before you visit Frozen Landing (the ice rink) in the winter, call (563)549-0587 to see if the rink is open. If temperatures are above 50°(F), below 5°(F), or at a -15°(F) wind chill, the rink will be closed. If more than two inches of snow have fallen, the rink will be closed until the snow can be removed.
So... How Safe Is Bettendorf Really?
Bettendorf is a safe city, especially when compared to its neighboring cities.
It’s the wealthier city of the bunch, with an average income of $85,000.
The other four cities are all less than $60,000, with Rock Island coming in the lowest at $48,120.
The other four cities (Davenport, Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island) have a poverty rate averaging 16%, while Bettendorf has a poverty rate of 6%.
The risks in Bettendorf are as follows:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 831 risk
- Robbery: 1 in 13,034 risk
- Theft: 1 in 83 risk
- Drug Crimes: 1 in 109 people arrested for drug crimes in 2021
For example, compare the violent crime risk in Bettendorf to the 1 in 157 risks in Davenport.
The average violent crime rate is 399 crimes per 100,000 people.
Bettendorf has 120 violent crimes per 100,000 people, while Davenport has 635 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
It is worth noting that Davenport is two and a half times the size of Bettendorf.
The other side of the river has cities with crime rates in between Davenport and Bettendorf.
How Does Bettendorf Compare?
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- Visas - You don't need to show your visa to get between the Quad Cities. You won't even need to show your passport. Feel free to travel between them without stopping. You will need your passport to buy alcohol or check in to a hotel.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here and purchase as much as you can online ahead of time. Don't carry cash with you, especially if you're visiting Davenport.
- Weather - Each season comes with extremes, in either temperatures or weather. Bring warm layers for winter, as the cold weather doesn't stop activities from happening. Summer is going to be hot and humid, so bring clothing that you can sweat in without ruining the fabric. Bring tennis shoes or bicycle shoes, so you don't ride a bike in sandals.
- Airports - Quad City International Airport is nine miles south of Bettendorf, making for an easy commute. If you want a really big airport, you'll drive about two and a half hours to the Chicago area. Midway and O'Hare are two of the biggest airports in the Midwest.
- Travel Insurance - You should get travel insurance for a trip to the Quad Cities. The flooding risk and severe weather patterns make it so unpredictable. Just ask the local meteorologists how challenging it is to nail the forecast.
Bettendorf Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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