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
North Liberty, Iowa, is a bedroom community just north of Iowa City that is growing faster than just about any other American city.
The population rose 35% from 2010 to 2020.
The city is known for being well-educated, safe, and friendly.
It’s a prime destination for people looking to relocate from Iowa City or Cedar Rapids.
It’s not really a great destination for tourists if you want to just stay in North Liberty.
If you’re looking for outdoor adventures and flexibility in nearby locations, this is a great place for you.
There is just one hotel in North Liberty, but there are more options just south in Coralville.
North Liberty is also just 30 minutes from a variety of bed and breakfast inns in the Amanda Villages, one of the most unique experiences in Iowa.
Nearby, visitors can experience the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area or Coralville Lake and Lake McBridge.
The Iowa River spreads out east of North Liberty to create a major lake area with a wide expanse of lakes splintering out before the river narrows back down to flow through the wildlife management area.
As North Liberty continues to grow, there will be more amenities in the city.
You can review our articles on Iowa City and Cedar Rapids to see what there is to do nearby, and how safe those communities are.
Warnings & Dangers in North Liberty
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk in North Liberty. This city has been frequently ranked as one of the safest cities in the state.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
North Liberty doesn't have its own public transportation, but you can get around using Coralville's bus system. That will also connect you to Iowa City's bus system. You can easily bicycle around North Liberty. There are taxis and rideshares available. Having a car here is going to allow you to explore the wilderness areas nearby.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here. The theft rate is exponentially lower than the national average. That doesn't mean you should let your guard down, but you also don't need a death grip on your purse or wallet while visiting the city. One theft trend to be aware of in North Liberty is the Felony Lane Gang. This group of thieves comes through the area a few times a year and takes anything that isn't nailed down (or locked). Cars at parks and sporting events are frequently broken into when purses or personal belongings are left in plain sight.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There's one risk that can't be controlled here and that's the weather. Tornadoes, flooding, severe thunderstorms, Derechos, winter storms, blizzards, and extreme temperatures. If you aren't from a place that has these risks, learn the safety guidelines on the Emergency Management section of the city's website. It does seem overwhelming, but as someone who grew up in a region with this many risks, it just becomes normal and part of life.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here with just two robberies between 2020 and 2021. That's great news for tourists, but I have to again urge you to never let your guard down. A growing city can come with greater risks. North Liberty has managed to avoid these risks for the most part, but things can quickly change.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There's a low-risk North Liberty would be a target for a terrorist attack. Much of the city is empty land as the city develops. There aren't any military bases nearby. Even in Iowa City, there's a low risk.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You have a low risk of being scammed here as most reported incidents focus on residents. If you have any suspicions of a deal that seems too good to be true, contact the local police. The bigger risk is being a victim of fraud if you leave your wallet in the car unattended and it gets stolen.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women should feel safe and at low risk while visiting here. There weren't any reports of rapes in 2021, but there were 13 reports of sodomy, which is a rather high number for a community with otherwise below-average crime numbers. There might be greater risks when you travel outside of North Liberty, so research those cities before visiting.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The city built a new water treatment plant in 2018 and added the most modern technology to cleaning tap water. The city also passed the testing done annually with no violations. There's low risk when using tap water here.
Safest Places to Visit in North Liberty
Local parks are the biggest attractions in North Liberty.
20 parks mix walking trails, sports, picnics, and fishing.
Some are nestled in neighborhoods and others are in common public areas.
Cornerstone Park Nature Area is a tract of land that is preserved from commercial development and includes a walking trail and a picturesque pedestrian bridge.
There are prairie lands and woods developed in the park.
West Lakes has a walking trail and pond through a residential area.
The lake is stocked with bass, bluegills, and catfish.
This area is being developed into wetlands as well.
Sugar Bottom Recreation Area is just six miles east of North Liberty.
There’s a professional-level disc golf course here.
This is also along Coralville Lake, which expands north.
You have a lot of options when it comes to Coralville Lake:
- Macbride Nature Recreation Area
- Lake Macribe State Park/Beach
- Lake View OHV Park: For ATVs and dirt bikes
- Lake Macbride Spillway
Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area is more than 13,000 acres large and contains hunting and fishing opportunities, a gun range, trails, and wildlife viewing.
The gun range here is one of the only of its kind in all of Iowa.
It’s open to the public and you can shoot everything from arrows to rifles.
Ken Park is a smaller park west of North Liberty, with the same amenities just in a less overwhelming landscape.
It’s also along the route to the Villages of Amana.
Places to Avoid in North Liberty
There isn’t a bad part of town in North Liberty to avoid.
You can travel freely in a car, on foot, or riding a bicycle without worry.
However, you should still use all the same safety steps you would in a dangerous area.
One thing I noticed about using Google Maps to find parks and places in North Liberty is that it’s hard to find things on the map.
As part of the city’s fierce growth, you can’t always put in a park’s name to find it on the map.
It’s a great idea to use the city website to describe the nearest cross streets to find the exact location.
With so much to do outdoors near North Liberty, you must keep an eye on the weather.
You’ll need a reliable weather app of your choosing and make sure you have severe weather alerts enabled.
You don’t want to be stuck in a rural area when a thunderstorm or snowstorm moves in.
Safety Tips for Traveling to North Liberty
- If you look at the “Reports” section of the police department’s website, you can get a good summary of crime and community impacts from the previous month. This is how I learned about the rash of car break-ins that have been happening through late 2021 and into 2022.
- If you have any safety questions, call the non-emergency number of the police department at (319) 356-6800. You can also follow the department on Facebook and send questions via messenger.
- To fish in Iowa, you need a non-resident license. This can be obtained on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website. You can’t use a fishing license from your home state or country. For hunting, there are a lot of training and safety tests you must pass to get a license here, so plan ahead to make sure you have met all the requirements.
- In a rare turn, police officers in North Liberty will help you if you lock your keys in your car. Most police departments I’ve researched in Iowa will not help with this. You will need to sign a waiver stating you realize the risks that come with this.
- The city has a podcast called “52317 Podcast.” You can learn about new businesses, safety plans, and development happening before your visit. New podcasts come out twice a month.
- The parks and trails in North Liberty are all tobacco-free. There is no use of tobacco of any kind allowed, even in remote outdoor spaces.
- Before you visit a park, check the Rainout Hotline at (319)888-8348. There’s also a website. This will show the status of each park and events happening, so you know if the park is open or closed. This is especially important during the winter if you’re looking to go ice skating or sledding.
- If you’re going into the wilderness, you should map out gas station locations before you go. Try to fill up whenever you get the chance as there can be long stretches of roadway between gas stations.
- Follow 511ia.org and review the website before hitting the highways of Iowa. This website shows live cameras of different areas, updates construction and accidents in real-time, and offers snowplow cameras to see the status of winter roads.
- Iowans love riding their bicycles. There isn’t a helmet law for children or adults, but it’s also safest to use a helmet. When you are riding a bike in Iowa, you have the same responsibilities as the driver of a car. You must stop at stoplights and stop signs.
So... How Safe Is North Liberty Really?
North Liberty has been given awards for its safe and welcoming community.
The violent crime rates are well below the national average and slightly below the state average.
Property crime is far below the state average, which is saying something for a community that is so residential and property driven.
There is just a one in 296 risks of becoming a theft victim here and one in 435 risks of being a violent crime victim.
There is a growing trend of drug use in Iowa related to the nationwide opioid epidemic, and North Liberty saw its drug-related crime rise in 2021.
If you see any suspicious activity of this nature, you should immediately report it to the police.
North Liberty is a safe place to visit, but that comes with a lack of things to do in the city.
You’ll only find one hotel here, so any other place to stay would be a rental home.
You should never have to wire money ahead of time to rent a home.
That’s a sure sign of a scam.
A trip to North Liberty is likely going to include visiting Iowa City, Coralville, or Cedar Rapids.
Just make sure you do your due diligence to see how safe those cities are for travel.
How Does North Liberty Compare?
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- Visas - You won't need your U.S. Visa to visit the different cities in Iowa. You'll only need it to get through Customs at the airport. Store it away in a safe place between your flight dates so you don't risk losing it.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar (USD) is the only form of currency accepted here. You should use a credit card for as many purchases as possible, as that will give you better fraud protection. There really isn't a reason to carry cash here, but if you choose to, only carry what you need. Don't carry a large amount with you.
- Weather - You'll want to plan for potentially bitter cold in the winter with fully insulated gear from head to toe. Spring and fall can have cooler days, so bring a jacket or some sweatshirts and jeans. Summer will be humid with plenty of thunderstorms, so bring a raincoat and waterproof shoes. Bug spray is a great idea too.
- Airports - The Cedar Rapids airport is the closest option. It's about 20 minutes north and has a variety of commercial airlines to get you to the connecting city you need. The Quad Cities airport is an hour east. Des Moines International Airport is two hours west.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a great idea for a place that gets inclement weather throughout the year. Even if flights can land and take off, there might be issues on the roadways in the rural areas. Make sure you know what insurance your rental car has as well.
North Liberty Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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