This Town in Indiana State Takes the Crown for Most Violent

Indiana is a state with a rich history, diverse culture, and low crime rate. However, not all towns and cities in the Hoosier State are equally safe and peaceful. According to the FBI crime data for 2020, the most violent town in Indiana is East Chicago, a small city located in Lake County, near the border with Illinois.

What is East Chicago and why is it so violent?

East Chicago is a city of about 27,000 people, with a majority of Hispanic and African American residents. It was once a thriving industrial hub, known for its steel mills, oil refineries, and railroads. However, the decline of manufacturing and the loss of jobs in the second half of the 20th century led to economic and social problems, such as poverty, unemployment, environmental pollution, and racial segregation.

According to the 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Report, East Chicago had a violent crime rate of 1,713 per 100,000 residents, which was more than four times the state average of 358 and the national average of 367. East Chicago also had the highest rates of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault among all towns and cities in Indiana. The reasons for East Chicago’s high crime rate are complex and multifaceted. Some of the factors that may contribute to it are:

Poverty and inequality: East Chicago has a median household income of $28,000, which is lower than the state average of $78,000 and the national average of $62,000. It also has a poverty rate of 36%, which is higher than the state average of 10% and the national average of 12%. Poverty and inequality can create social and economic stress, which can lead to violence and crime.

Drug and alcohol abuse: East Chicago has a high rate of substance abuse, especially among young people. According to the 2018 Indiana Youth Survey, 29% of East Chicago students reported using alcohol in the past month, compared to 22% of students statewide. 23% of East Chicago students reported using marijuana in the past month, compared to 17% of students statewide. 8% of East Chicago students reported using prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription in the past year, compared to 6% of students statewide. Substance abuse can impair judgment, increase impulsivity, and fuel aggression, which can lead to violence and crime.

Gang activity and turf wars: East Chicago has a problem with gang activity, especially among young people. According to the Lake County Gang Assessment, there are about 50 gangs operating in the county, with about 1,500 members. Some of the gangs that are active in East Chicago are the Latin Kings, the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords, and the Black P Stones. These gangs are involved in drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, and violence. They often clash with each other over territory, money, and respect, which can result in shootings, stabbings, and homicides.

What is being done to reduce violence in East Chicago?

East Chicago is not oblivious to its crime problem and has taken some steps to address it. Some of the initiatives that have been implemented or proposed are:

Increasing police presence and resources: East Chicago has increased its police force from 80 officers in 2010 to 100 officers in 2020. It has also invested in new equipment, training, and technology, such as body cameras, patrol cars, and crime analysis software. The city has also partnered with federal and state agencies, such as the FBI, the DEA, and the Indiana State Police, to enhance its law enforcement capabilities and coordination.

Improving community relations and engagement: East Chicago has launched several programs and events to improve its relationship and communication with the community, such as the Police Athletic League, the Citizens Police Academy, the Coffee with a Cop, and the National Night Out. The city has also encouraged residents to report crimes, provide tips, and participate in neighborhood watch groups. The city has also supported local organizations and initiatives that promote youth development, education, health, and recreation.

Addressing the root causes of violence: East Chicago has recognized that violence is not only a criminal justice issue, but also a public health and social justice issue. The city has sought to address the underlying causes of violence, such as poverty, unemployment, education, housing, and environment. The city has applied for grants and funding from various sources, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indiana Department of Education, to improve its infrastructure, services, and opportunities for its residents.


East Chicago is a town that faces many challenges and struggles with high rates of violence and crime. However, it is also a town that has a rich history, a diverse culture, and a resilient spirit. The city has taken some steps to reduce violence and improve its quality of life, but it still has a long way to go. The city needs more support and collaboration from its residents, its neighbors, and its partners, to overcome its problems and achieve its potential.

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