Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Indiana?
We all watch the news and see the Facebook feeds come across of the latest crimes that are happening in our home towns. While a major crime just blocks away from your house can make you feel really uneasy, in the big picture, most likely, where you live is relatively safe.
Indiana’s most dangerous cities are mostly located in the northwestern corner or the south-central portion of the state, meaning its crime is pretty spread out. But some cities on this list go against that generality.
Instead of relying on speculation, we dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the most dangerous places in Indiana. The result is the following list of top ten most dangerous:
- Gary (Photos)
- Clarksville (Photos)
- Seymour (Photos)
- Indianapolis (Photos)
- East Chicago (Photos)
- South Bend (Photos)
- Lafayette (Photos)
- Hammond (Photos)
- Washington (Photos)
- Jeffersonville (Photos)
How we determined the most dangerous places in Indiana
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.
Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people as of 2013, which is the last year the report was available. This left us with a total of 84 cities in Indiana to rank.
Finally, we made 2013 factor more heavily than 2012, since more recent crimes are a bigger determining factor in how dangerous a place is. You can see our overall ranking at the bottom of the post.
We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently.
Violent Crime Rank: 2
Property Crime Rank: 4
Gary, Indiana has taken a lot of heat from us lately – we named it the worst mid-sized city to live in in all of America.
As it turns out, it’s also the most dangerous place in Indiana – the city of steel has seen violent crime rise by 38% from 2011-3 and property crime go up by 11%.
Maybe the 1 in 89 chance of being the victim of a violent crime is part of the reason that the population has been falling dramatically since the 60’s.
Violent Crime Rank: 8
Property Crime Rank: 1
Located in south-central Indiana, Clarksville is the second most dangerous city in Indiana, and the worst city for property crime.
Though the city has seen a 12% drop in property crime in recent years, anyone in Clarksville still faced a 1 in 14 chance of being robbed in 2013 when within city limits.
Violent crime is relatively high, and the numbers aren’t getting better or worse, but the 1 in 180 chance of being the victim of violence makes Clarksville twice as safe as Gary in this category.
Violent Crime Rank: 10
Property Crime Rank: 3
Also located in the south-central part of Indiana, Seymour is the third most dangerous city in the state.
Crime has been getting worse in Seymour, with property crime up 10% from 2011-3, and violent crime up 22% in the same time period.
The third worst ranking in property crime leaves residents with a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of theft or arson each year.
Violent Crime Rank: 1
Property Crime Rank: 13
Indiana’s capital, Indianapolis, is the second largest city in the Midwest after Detroit. It is the most violent city in the whole state.
Anyone who spends a year in Indianapolis faced a 1 in 81 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013, a 14% rise from 2011.
Property crime has also been going up in recent years, but at only a third the rate of violent crime.
5. East Chicago
Violent Crime Rank: 5
Property Crime Rank: 11
Located in the northwest corner of the state, only 23 miles southeast of Chicago, East Chicago’s motto is “A City of Hope and Progress.”
To their credit, recent years show the city living by this motto, with an impressive 30% drop in violent crime and 33% drop in property crime from 2011-3.
That still left a 1 in 150 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013. But hey, progress is progress.
6. South Bend
Violent Crime Rank: 6
Property Crime Rank: 17
South Bend is the fourth most populous state in Indiana, and is the economic and cultural hub of northern Indiana.
The populations been growing for the first time in 50 years, but the crime numbers remain relatively high.
Though property crime fell by 25% from 2011-3, violent crime also rose by 12%, leaving residents a 1 in 152 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013.
Violent Crime Rank: 7
Property Crime Rank: 19
Located 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis, Lafayette has experience a 20% growth in population since 2000.
Perhaps this rapid boom aided in Lafayette’s position on this list, with residents facing a 1 in 175 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013.
While violence has been dropping at a modest pace, property crime has gone up by 14% in recent years.
Violent Crime Rank: 4
Property Crime Rank: 25
Located in the northwestern corner of Indiana, Hammond is part of the Chicago metro area, and is only 27 miles southeast of Chicago itself.
From 2011-3, violent crime rose by 20%, with residents facing a 1 in 121 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013.
During the same time period, property crime fell by 18%, meaning overall criminality stayed the same.
Violent Crime Rank: 23
Property Crime Rank: 8
Located in the southwestern part of Indiana, Washington is the least violent place on this list by a wide margin.
But that might not last for long – violent crime more than tripled between 201-3, and property crime also went up by 66%.
In 2013, residents had a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
Violent Crime Rank: 3
Property Crime Rank: 29
Located on the south-central edge of Indiana, Jeffersonville is across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.
Jeffersonville is the third most violent city in Indiana, with residents facing a 1 in 140 chance of being the victim of violence.
The good news is that violent crime dropped by 30% between 2011-3, and property crime by 35%, meaning that Jeffersonville may be off this list by next year.
Closing the books
So when you pull away bias and opinions, that’s the set of top ten most dangerous places in Indiana that the data delivers.
Fort Wayne isn’t in the top ten. At least for now.
We also wrote about the most redneck cities in Indiana if you didn’t see if. Click here to read that one.