Illinois : Safety by City
- Arlington Heights
- Crystal Lake
- Des Plaines
- East St Louis
- Fairview Heights
- Granite City
- Mount Prospect
- Oak Lawn
- Rock Island
- Tinley Park
Moline, Illinois, is one of the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River.
Rock Island, East Moline, Bettendorf, Iowa, and Davenport, Iowa fill out the rest of this *region.
While Moline has 43,000 people, the metro Quad Cities region had more than 380,000, giving a small-town feel in the individual cities, but with bigger city amenities.
This is the hometown of what we know as John Deere or Deere & Co. as it’s officially known.
Deere wasn’t born here, but he did set up the headquarters here for one of the most popular brands of farming and industrial equipment.
Moline sits between the Mighty Mississippi and Rock River, having an abundance of riverside activities but always carrying an ominous threat of flooding.
Moline is the largest of the Quad Cities on the Illinois side, but Davenport, Iowa, is the biggest of the four.
East Moline is a whole separate city with its own government and police department.
The cities are run individually but blend together well to create the largest metro area on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Louis.
The natural setting of Moline is picturesque, from bluffs along the river to a historical hilltop community to the ravines through nature trails.
Moline has the most walkable downtown area of the Quad cities and offers a slower pace of life than you’re used to and places where you’ll feel like you’re back in the mid-1900s.
*Yes, I know there are five cities in the Quad Cities which technically should have four cities, but I didn’t create the towns or the nickname, so that’s all I have to say about that.
Warnings & Dangers in Moline
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here but it's bordering on medium risk. The violent crime and property crimes are slightly higher than the national and state averages. One big concern is the static line of crime over the past five years. Crime isn't getting better or worse, it's just staying the same.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Quad Cities MetroLINK is the mass transit system to get you around the region. There's a water taxi to get across the river to the top destinations. You can also call a taxi or an Uber. All options are a low risk, but the MetroLINK isn't as robust as some might prefer.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
The theft risk here is one in 57, and even after reading the 2021 Annual Police Report, it's hard to tell how many of those are pickpocketing vs shoplifting vs car break-ins. There really aren't enough crowds to put you at a higher risk of being pickpocketed, so it's a low risk. You should still only carry with you what you need and leave valuables at home.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here and after heavy rainfall or if there are ice jams on the river(s), it could come to high risk. This area is prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes as well. Winters are going to be cold with snowfall and the occasional blizzard.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is one category that's lower than the national average. However, the way crime was reported in 2020, there's a good chance one of the 209 violent crimes started as a robbery and just got worse. There's a low risk, but you need to know that violent gun crime is increasing across Illinois and Moline has a young police force that is generally short-staffed.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, barring some terror group wanting to impact travel on the Mississippi River or take out John Deere's headquarters. It's smart to stay vigilant and report anything suspicious you see.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The city of Moline lists a bunch of common scams on its website, but none are specifically targeted at tourists or new scams. It's more of a reminder page about common scams than "Hey, this is happening now!" There's a low risk of it happening to you.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
One of the concerning crime statistics is the sexual assault rate, which is twice the national average. I would recommend women travelers stay aware of their surroundings, avoid being out late at night alone, and never go to a private place with someone they have just met. With a violent crime rate that's nearly 20% higher than the national average, you can't use too much caution.
TAP WATER RISK : MEDIUM
To err on the side of safety, I'm going to call it a medium risk, but let me explain. The tap water tested and reported on in the 2020 Annual Water Quality report showed no violations. However, there are still lead pipes used in some of the water services in Moline. The city is replacing lead pipes and doing everything it can to protect the water from corrosive pipes, but there's still a risk I know some people might be very concerned about. Best practices to avoid lead in your water are letting the faucet run for 2-3 minutes before using the water in case of lead buildup and never consuming hot water from the tap. If you need hot water for tea or coffee, boil it first.
Safest Places to Visit in Moline
There are four John Deere attractions in Moline and the Quad Cities area.
The pavilion and store are in Moline and are very popular tourist stops.
John Deere’s homestead, where the steel plow was invented, is also open for tours.
That’s going to be about an hour’s drive east.
If you can’t get enough of learning about farming and agriculture, Agritours Illinois offers a variety of farm and machinery tours.
They offer several tours, including a trip to Cinnamon Ridge Farms, which is touted as a robotic dairy farm.
You can schedule a tour of the robotic barn or just stop by for a fresh cheese and wine pairing.
Downtown Moline, known as Moline Centre, is a walkable area with stores, restaurants, and some lively entertainment at various bars.
There’s a new pedestrian walkway across the river on the I-74 bridge where you can walk over to Bettendorf.
Who would walk that far, you ask?
People who don’t want to sit in traffic on the bridge, of course!
From Moline, you’ll see Rock Island Arsenal Museum.
You do need a background check to get into this museum, but it’s worth the effort for military buffs to see artifacts of the Army stored and displayed in this unique location.
In less than eight miles, you can be at the Niabi Zoo and see more than 600 animals.
One of my favorite attractions at zoos these days is getting to feed lettuce to hungry giraffes.
There’s also a train or carousel if you want to go for a zoo ride.
You can take river cruises on the Mississippi River during warmer seasons.
The Celebration Belle is now in its 40th year of taking people on old-fashioned riverboat cruises.
You can take a daytime or evening trip, but one of the most popular is the “Fall Colors Tour” that goes from Moline to Clinton and back.
Of course, there are plenty of options for fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing, snow sledding, and wildlife viewing.
The “Visit Quad Cities” website has a great list of options because there are far too many to detail in this summary article.
Placess to Avoid in Moline
One of the biggest questions tourists ask is “Which town in the Quad Cities is safest?” Crime data and maps show these are the safest cities, in order from safest to least safe:
- Bettendorf, IA
- East Moline, IL
- Moline, IL (tied with Rock Island)
- Rock Island, IL (tied with Moline)
- Davenport, IA
There are good and bad parts to each city.
In Moline, the highest crime areas are on the extreme northwest and southwest sides of the city.
Given that the southwest is more residential, you’re going to see more property crime there, while the northwest is more crowded with activities and events, so there’s a greater risk of violent crime there.
I’ve researched the Quad Cities a lot, because on the surface there are things that don’t look safe, like the constantly high violent crime numbers.
However, I’ve spoken to several people who live in this area who say it’s not “that bad” and if you lock your doors and stay aware of your surroundings when you’re out, you’ll be fine.
It’s one of those “if you go looking for trouble, you can find it” kind of place.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Moline
- Anglers and hunters will find a wilderness wonderland around Moline, but there are a lot of rules, regulations, and laws to follow. First, you need a license for hunting and/or fishing. You might have harvesting limits or required harvesting reports. You can read about the rules in detail on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.
- There is a rash of car thefts happening in the Quad Cities and police are really frustrated about this, and not just because of the crime wave. Check out this statement from the 2021 Annual Police Report, “The vast majority of the reported car thefts have been crimes of opportunity, where vehicles are left running unattended, or unlocked with keys inside.” I get that a car is cold and people want to warm it up in the winter, but you know what’s colder? WALKING! Lock up the car, warm it up while you’re sitting inside, and never leave anything – not even a GPS holder – in the car after you’ve parked it.
- Moline has a “Notify Me” option on its city website. This is where you can pick and choose what kind of notifications you want to receive, from emergency weather information to city council agendas to upcoming events.
- If you download the app P3 Tips, you can report crime information anonymously to Quad Cities Crimestoppers and possibly be eligible for a reward. Reporting this information helps police gather information on crime trends. Nearly $17,000 in rewards was handed out last year after 1,631 tips were received.
- Gun violence has been on the rise in Illinois over the past few years and it’s quickly becoming out of control. The Moline Police Department has started a Gun Unit to complement the Street Crimes Unit as a way to tackle the main causes of crime, which are drugs, gangs, and illegal guns. In 2021, these units took more than $1.1 million in drugs off the street and confiscated 62 guns.
- During or after flooding, there might be boil orders issued due to contamination of drinking water. You can view an interactive map through the city to see active boil orders. If you’ve signed up for those alerts, you’ll get a notification there as well.
- Flooding is no joke here. If flooding starts while you’re in town, it might be good to have a back-up plan for somewhere else to go. This area has seen two “100-year floods” in the past 20 years. The floodwaters can be unhealthy, and they are certainly dangerous to drive through. Check the flood stage before you visit, because flooding in the summer could still be happening in late fall. In 1993, St. Louis was ravaged by floods (as was the Quad Cities) and I spent a summer taking the long way everywhere. I went to college for a semester and when I drove back, I assumed the floodwater was gone, so I took the back route. I ended up surrounded by water on three sides in the middle of pitch dark wilderness on a lone rural road. Never again will I assume a flood is gone without checking (and NEVER tell my mother that happened, okay?).
- There’s a long told tale of the bluffs along the Mississippi River blocking tornadoes from hitting a community. I grew up on the Mississippi in St. Louis and I lived along it in Memphis, and both cities told the same stupid tale. It’s not true. A simple “Moline Tornado” search on YouTube will show you just how possible tornadoes are here and you need to take any tornado warnings seriously by getting to the safest place you can find. It’s a good idea to ask your hotel where the tornado shelter is in case a storm pops up in the middle of the night.
- Recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois, but there are a number of restrictions people don’t know about because all they hear is “recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois.” It’s not a free-for-all. You can only use it in private places, nowhere in public, and you have to be 21 and in a place where there isn’t anyone under 21. The owner of the private place you are needs to okay the usage as well.
- You can buy an all-day parking permit in Moline for just $3. If you’re going to be there for an extended period of time, you can buy a monthly pass for as little as $10.
So... How Safe Is Moline Really?
Moline is a little more dangerous than the average city.
The violent crime rate, for example, is 486 violent crimes per 100,000, whereas the national average is 399 violent crimes per 100,000.
You can read the 2021 Annual Police Report, which is a great summary of the year in crime challenges, successes, accidents, and arrests.
You can really get a feel, based on your own comfort level, of how dangerous you really think it is.
The Quad Cities are definitely more working-class communities, with the exception of Bettendorf, Iowa.
The average income in Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island is in the $50,000s and the poverty rate is around 15%.
When all is said and done, compared to other small or medium sized towns in Illinois, the Quad Cities are pretty safe.
Places like Peoria are really struggling to keep the communities safe.
How Does Moline Compare?
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- Visas - You only need a Visa to get into the United States and you won't need to show proof of it as you venture between the Quad Cities. You'll give it to the customs agent at the airport with your passport to get approved to enter the United States.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. You should try to pre-pay for as many attractions as you can. The fewer times you can take out your wallet or open your purse, the better.
- Weather - There's a wild variety even in all four seasons here, so always bring a jacket and jeans, even in the humid summers. You'll want plenty of bug spray as mosquitos and gnats are plentiful from spring through fall. Bring water-proof boots because the outdoor areas might be muddy. In winter, you'll want layers upon layers of warm clothing from head to toe.
- Airports - Quad Cities International Airport is just five miles from downtown Moline. It's the closest option unless you want to drive to a major metropolitan area. Chicago's airports are the closest and two and a half hours away.
- Travel Insurance - With the high flooding risk and other extreme weather possible, you'll be glad you insured your trip in case of any delays or cancellations.
Moline Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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