GARY, Ind. (AP) - Gary is on pace to record about 50 homicides in 2013,
which would ranks it among the most dangerous cities in the nation, leaving
the mayor and police chief concerned and looking for solutions. The
lakefront steel town had recorded 42 homicides by Oct. 10, making the
homicide rate 53 per capita, or 53 per 100,000 residents, The (Munster)
Times reported Sunday. Hammond, which has a nearly identical population of
just more than 79,000 residents, had a rate of eight per capita.
FBI statistics show Flint, Mich., had the highest homicide rate for a city
of more than 100,000 residents last year, with a rate of 65 per capita.
Detroit had 55 per capita and New Orleans 54.
“I certainly look at the numbers and have a concern that even if we’re not
the highest, these numbers are high enough for people to say, ‘It’s
dangerous there,’” Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said.
Gary is on pace to log 49 homicides in 2013, a total that would give it a
per capita homicide rate of 62, or one for every 1,600 residents.
Police Chief Wade Ingram estimated the city could record 55 homicides by
“The bottom line is almost all of them stem from some sort of argument,”
Ingram said. “I don’t really see it as a big drug and gang issue. It’s more
Ingram said he believes education might dent the homicide rate eventually.
"Maybe in these schools they should mandate they have some class or
role-playing in conflict resolution,” Ingram said. “The majority of it is
interpersonal conflict between individuals who don’t know how to resolve it
other than with guns.
“I’m not against guns, but I do favor gun control. They need to be kept out
of the hands of the wrong people,” he said.
When homicides reached alarming levels last summer, Freeman-Wilson asked
Gov. Mike Pence to send Indiana State Police troopers to assist in
patrolling the streets. Pence instead called for an audit of the Gary Police
Department, which resulted in a report with several recommendations. “The
Pence report is great for management and efficiency of the department,”
Ingram said he has already made significant changes in divisions within the
department based on the report’s recommendations. It recommended the
department have 60 percent of its force dedicated to patrols rather than 40
percent. Ingram said he has 55 percent of officers on patrol now and plans
to move more officers to reach the 60 percent level. “More police on the
street does make a difference,” he said.