This Town in Indiana State Takes the Crown for Most Violent


Indiana is a state known for its many cultures, lengthy history, and low crime rate. Still, not every town or city in the Hoosier State is tranquil and safe. The FBI’s crime statistics for 2020 show that East Chicago, a little city in Lake County close to the Illinois border, is the most violent municipality in Indiana.

What is East Chicago and why is it so violent?

There are roughly 27,000 individuals living in East Chicago, most of them are African Americans and Hispanics. It was formerly a major industrial center, well-known for its railroads, oil refineries, and steel mills. However, the second part of the 20th century saw a drop in manufacturing and job losses, which brought about social and economic issues such racial segregation, unemployment, poverty, and environmental degradation.

East Chicago had a violent crime rate of 1,713 per 100,000 persons, more than four times the state average of 358 and the national average of 367, according to the 2020 FBI Uniform Crime Report. Of all the towns and cities in Indiana, East Chicago also had the highest rates of robbery, rape, murder, and violent assault. There are many different and intricate factors contributing to East Chicago’s high crime rate. Among the elements that could be involved are:

Poverty and inequality: The typical household income in East Chicago is $28,000, less below the $78,000 state average and the $62,000 federal average. In addition, the poverty rate is 36%, greater than both the national and state averages of 10% and 12%. Social and economic stress brought on by poverty and inequality can result in criminal activity and violence.

Drug and alcohol abuse: Substance abuse, particularly among youth, is a major problem in East Chicago. In contrast to 22% of students statewide, 29% of East Chicago students reported consuming alcohol in the previous month, according to the 2018 Indiana Youth Survey. Compared to 17% of students statewide, 23% of East Chicago students reported consuming marijuana in the previous month. Compared to 6% of students statewide, 8% of East Chicago students reported using prescription medicines without a doctor’s prescription in the previous year. Abuse of substances can cause anger, impulsivity, and impaired judgment, all of which can result in crime and violence.

Gang warfare and turf wars: Gang activity, particularly among youth, is an issue in East Chicago. The Lake County Gang Assessment estimates that there are roughly 50 active gangs in the county, with a membership of 1,500 people. The Vice Lords, the Latin Kings, the Gangster Disciples, and the Black P Stones are a few of the gangs that are active in East Chicago. These gangs engage in violence, robberies, extortion, and drug trafficking. They frequently disagree with one another about money, territory, and respect, which can lead to killings, stabbings, and shootings.

What is being done to reduce violence in East Chicago?

East Chicago is aware of its crime issue and has taken action to solve it. Among the programs that have been put into practice or suggested are:

Increasing the number of police officers and their resources: East Chicago’s police force grew from 80 in 2010 to 100 in 2020. In addition, it has made investments in brand-new machinery, instruction, and technology, including patrol vehicles, body cams, and crime analysis software. To strengthen its law enforcement coordination and capabilities, the city has also cooperated with federal and state authorities, including the Indiana State Police, the DEA, and the FBI.

Enhancing community involvement and relations: East Chicago has started a number of initiatives and activities, including National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, the Citizens Police Academy, and the Police Athletic League, to better engage and communicate with the community. In addition, the city has urged citizens to join neighborhood watch organizations, report crimes, and offer suggestions. The city has further provided funding to regional groups and projects that advance youth development, recreation, health, and education.

Taking care of the underlying causes of violence: East Chicago has realized that issues of public health, social justice, and criminal justice all play a role in the violence that occurs. The city has made an effort to address the root causes of violence, which include housing, education, unemployment, poverty, and the environment. In order to enhance its infrastructure, services, and opportunities for citizens, the city has sought for grants and financing from a number of organizations, including the Indiana Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The community of East Chicago has a lot going for it, including high rates of crime and violence. But it’s also a community with a strong sense of resilience, a varied culture, and a long history. Although the city has made significant progress, there is still much work to be done to lower crime and enhance quality of life. To solve its issues and realize its potential, the city requires increased cooperation and support from its citizens, neighbors, and partners.

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