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As Homicides Decline in Gary, Community Sees Momentum

In 2023, Gary, Indiana recorded 52 homicides, a 13 percent decrease from the previous year, according to the Gary Police Department. Though modest, the decline is encouraging to residents, who believe community efforts are responsible, the Trace reported. “Community organizers, law enforcement, and local activists have united to disrupt cycles of violence once ubiquitous here, reclaiming their city as they do the work,” the Trace wrote. Residents point to the positive impact of violence prevention programs established to target gun violence and newer anti-violence initiatives that are gaining momentum, along with community forums, organized fundraisers and anti-violence basketball games, and formed coalitions to encourage interaction between police and residents. 

As steel mills closed and Gary had moved from industrial prosperity to economic hardship, the city had suffered with high violence for decades. In the mid-1990s, drivers along Gary’s Broadway Avenue were greeted by a grave warning: a billboard declaring, in bold red letters, “CAUTION!!! You are currently in Gary, In. 1993 MURDER Capital of the Nation … Proceed with EXTREME CAUTION.” At the time, Gary was home to roughly 119,000 people, and endured 110 killings; its murder rate was 91 per 100,000 people, almost 10 times the national average. 


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