Is Gary, Indiana Safe To Visit? (Crime Rates And Crime Stats)

Gary, Indiana was once a thriving, steel producing city. It is the hometown of Michael Jackson. A city full of hope and possibility. Today, Gary is a shell of its former self. Abandoned houses and buildings litter the city. Murder is rampant. The hope that once permeated in the air has given way to despair as more and more residents flee the city every year.

If you are thinking about visiting Gary and have qualms about the safety of the city, we go you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the city really is.

What happened to Gary, Indiana?

is gary indiana safe

Gary Indiana was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation and its prosperity has risen and fallen with the stock of the steel industry in America

By the 1950s, Gary was a bustling city that over 200,000 people called home. Shops and businesses lined the streets. Schools were filled with happy children.

However, its reliance on one particular industry was ultimately its downfall.

When foreign steel became cheap, it no longer made sense to produce it in Gary and the city lost all of its work in a very short period of time and entered a spiral of decline.

At the height of its prosperity in 1970, the steel factory employed over 30,000 people. By 1990 that number decreased to just 6,000 and then further declined to 5,100 by August 2015.

Everyone who could leave did. That left you with the people who couldn’t – largely poor and uneducated.

Today, it’s one of the major urban-blight towns of the Rust Belt. The job sector has never recovered and any attempts to revitalize the area have failed.

There are only 69,093 people left in Gary and it is estimated that nearly 1/3 of all houses in Gary are unoccupied or abandoned.

The median household income is $31,936, the median value of a home in Gary is $66,100 and the poverty rate is 3 times the national average.

By every metric, Gary is a failed city.

Is Gary Safe To Visit?

gary indiana

Looking at the statistics and taking into accounts the opinions of the residents, Gary is not a safe place to visit, nor is it place you would want to visit. The murder rate is the second highest in the nation and there is really not much going on in Gary.

The only redeeming part of Gary is Miller Beach, which is a nice beach side community.

We hope that one day the residents of Gary can come together and resuscitate their city to its former glory.

Gary Crime Stats

Looking at the crime statistics, Gary is a unsafe safe place to visit. In 2019, Gary had a violent crime rate of 554.31 incidents per 100,000 residents and it had a property crime rate of 3,556.17 per 100,000 residents. While the violent crime rate is not concerning, the murder rate is alarming.

The national average for violent crime is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the national average for property crime is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents.

Gary’ violent crime rate is about 1.5 times the national average and its property crime rate is nearly 1.68 times the national average.

Pittsburgh, Long Beach , Las Vegas and Boston all have similar violent crime rates as Gary.

Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Gary Murder Stats

In 2020 Gary reported 54 homicides, which gives it a staggering murder rate of 78.15 per 100,000 residents! Gary had the second highest murder rate in the country behind St. Louis.

The national murder rate is 5 per 100,000 people. Gary’s murder rate is more than 15 times more than the national average!

In 1995, Gary was dubbed ‘The Murder Capital of the United States’. That year there were 129 murders, giving it a murder rate of 111.91!

Here’s a table showing you the cities with the highest murder rates for 2020:

City Population Murders in 2020 Rate per 100,000 people
1. St Louis, Missouri 301,578 263 87.2
2. Gary, Indiana


54 78.15
3. Birmingham, Alabama 200,733 122 60.7
4. Baltimore, Maryland 575,584 335 58.2
5. Memphis, Tennesse 633,104 332 52.4
6. Detroit, Michigan 639,111 327 51.1
7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana 227,470 114 50.11
8. New Orleans, Louisiana 383,997 195 50.78
9. Cleveland, Ohio 372,624 177 47.5
10. Kansas City, Missouri 508,090 176 34.6

*Murder rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported murders by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000. In 2020 there were 54 murders in Gary and the population was 69.093. This equals a murder rate of 78.15 per 100,000 general population.

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in Gary for 2019 compared to 2018

  2018 2019 Percentage Change
Homicide 37 57 +54%
Rape 33 21 -36.36%
Robbery 145 175 +20.68%
Aggravated Assault 156 161 +3.2%
Burglary 703 567 -19.34%
Larceny/Theft 1,564 1,599 +2.23%
Motor Vehicle Theft 456 490 +7.45%

*All data is from the Indiana FBI UCR Data

Gary vs The Rest Of Indiana

Here’s a table showing you the top 10 most populous cities in the state of Indiana and their violent crime rate and property crime rate in 2019.

Gary ranks 4th for highest violent crime and property crime rate in Indiana.



Violent Crime Rate

Propery Crime Rate





South Bend




















Fort Wayne












*All data is from the 2019 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Datasets

The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Gary

gary indiana

Is Downtown Gary safe?

gary indiana

Downtown Gary is safe to visit during the daytime, as long as you stay aware of your surroundings.

Don’t bury yourself in your phone and don’t wear headphones. Keep your head on a swivel and maintain situational awareness at all times.

We do not recommend that you visit when it get dark, as it can get sketchy.

(Related: Top 9 Things To Do In Gary, Indiana)

(Related: 10 Best Restaurant In Gary, Indiana)

What do residents of Gary say about its safety

  1. "I’ve have lived around Gary my entire life. Gary is “scary” but it isn’t safe. People around here who don’t live in Gary don’t ever go to Gary unless they have too."
  2. "Gary is a shell of its former self. Not much going on here except for crime."
  3. "I live down the street from Gary. My apartment is about 1/2 a mile from the town line. The first mile isn’t bad but as you keep going down 45th Ave it just gets dilapidated more and more."
  4. "I live in Gary in Miller Beach. It’s peaceful out here, but I rarely go to other parts of town because there’s nothing there."
  5. "I used to work in Gary, and I went to college in Gary. The Miller neighborhood is fine. It is a beach town area. I visit the shops and restaurants, but the town of Gary has an empty, eerie feel."
  6. "The Miller Beach neighborhood of Gary is very nice, but when you go a mile or two away in any direction, it gets pretty sketchy."
  7. "I work in Gary sometimes and during the daytime it is fine for the most part, but I definitely leave before night time comes."
  8. When people say that “Gary isn’t safe”, it is not overblown. They are correct."
  9. "Gary is literally the overflow for Detroit and Chicago crime. Don’t stop here."
  10. "Gary is a boogeyman for people never having been there and then they speculate wildly about it being cartoonishly unlivable. Gary is poor. Gary is not a war zone."

Is Gary safe at night?

gary indiana

Gary is not safe at night and there’s not too many reasons why you should be here at night.

Is it safe to visit alone?

Gary can be a safe place to visit alone if you visit during the daytime and avoid stopping in the neighborhoods. Stick to the main strip and take special precaution as a solo traveler as you are more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime.

Quick Facts About Gary:


Gary, Indiana

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2010



Population, Census, April 1, 2020



Population, percent change – April 1, 2010 to April 1, 2020



White alone, percent



Black or African American alone, percent



Hispanic or Latino, percent



Owner-occupied housing unit rate, 2015-2019



Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019



Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019



Median gross rent, 2015-2019



Households with a computer, percent, 2015-2019



Households with a broadband Internet subscription, percent, 2015-2019



High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019



In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019



Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019



Persons in poverty, percent



*All data is from the U.S. Census

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Gary, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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