The Most Dangerous Cities In Indiana: 2020’s Ultimate List

The Most Dangerous Cities In Indiana

Indiana is a state that most people don’t really associate with crime. The majority of the state is known for being slow-paced, friendly, and fairly charming in that delightfully Midwestern way. I mean, there’s the Indy 500 that adds some speed, but for the most part, things don’t change too much in this state.

Though Indiana is not known for having many dangers, there are some areas that aren’t doing too well in terms of crime rate. If you’ve been thinking about moving to this state, you need to be aware of the risky areas and what makes them bad places to live. To help you out, we made this nifty little guide.

Is Indiana Safe?

Safety is a relative term, and it all depends on what you tend to define as safe. Across the board, Indiana’s violent crime rate is slightly above the national average. However, it is not an extreme spike in crime compared to most other states.

Property crime is an issue here, as is drug addiction. Like many states in flyover country, there are many communities in the area that have been torn apart by meth addiction as well as the opioid crisis. Indiana also currently holds the record for meth lab seizures in the United States.

Does Indiana Have A Racism Issue?

With many flyover states, there is reason for concern when it comes to being a minority. Though there are many cities where diversity is alive and well, Indiana has a problem with racism in many of the smaller towns.

There are many parts of the state that are still alleged to be “sundown towns.” Moreover, the state is also known for having laws that legalized discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. So, it can be difficult to navigate the area.

How Do You Stay Safe In Indiana?

The best way to stay safe while visiting or moving to Indiana is to learn about the “lay of the land.” If you choose to come by Indiana, make sure to stick to cities and towns that are known for their safety.

If you do end up in one of the more dangerous cities in the state, make a point of sticking to the nicer neighborhoods. Investing in home security, traveling in groups, and keeping your eye on your local surroundings can help.

What Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Indiana?

Indiana is one of those flyover states that most people don’t really think about, but probably should. The state often serves as a litmus test for other regions nearby. To make sure we got a clear view of the dangers and crime scenes around the state, we prioritized violent crime and used ultra-accurate Areavibes for data.

10. Lafayette


  • Violent Crime: 3,598
  • Property Crime: 464
  • Murder: 5.5
  • Rape: 46.6
  • Robbery: 85
  • Assault: 326.5
  • Burglary: 688.6
  • Theft: 2714.5
  • Car Theft: 194.8

Kicking off this list is a small city in the heart of the state called Lafayette. With only 72,000 residents, this suburban-urban city still remains relatively quiet compared to other cities in the area. However, there are neighborhoods that definitely aren’t faring well.

Around six murders happen every year here, so it’s safe to say that not all is totally alright. Violent crime is on the rise, but it’s important to remember that this area’s crime rate is still (basically) in line with the state’s average.

9. Anderson


  • Violent Crime: 413
  • Property Crime: 4,260
  • Murder: 9.1
  • Rape: 142
  • Robbery: 129.3
  • Assault: 132.9
  • Burglary: 946.7
  • Theft: 2953.1
  • Car Theft: 360.5

With under 60,000 citizens within its city limits, Anderson looks like a quaint area to be in most photos. However, there’s a sketchy side to this city that deserves to be acknowledged. After all, property crime is 94 percent above the national average here.

Violent crime isn’t a problem that much, which is actually kind of a surprise. However, you’ve still got a 1 in 22 chance of being a crime victim here. Why? Well, unemployment is high and that has driven people to start stealing as a way to support themselves.

The real issue, though, is car theft. It’s twice the state average!

8. Marion


  • Violent Crime: 455
  • Property Crime: 3,692
  • Murder: 32
  • Rape: 24.9
  • Robbery: 117.4
  • Assault: 281
  • Burglary: 469.5
  • Theft: 2914.4
  • Car Theft: 281

This petite town only holds 28,500 residents, but its crime rate has gained attention since the statistics are slightly above the state’s average. Larceny is the number one crime here, so if you have valuables that are worth more than $1,500, you better keep an eye on them!

One thing that sticks out when it comes to Marion’s crime rate is the murder rate. In 2018, this town clocked in nine murders. This made the murder rate skyrocket to 32 for every 100,000 when you look at the proportions. So, saying that this area’s not very violent might not be honest.

Around 25.9 percent of all residents are at or underneath the poverty level, and social safety nets have failed many Marion locals. That might have something to do with it.

7. Shelbyville


  • Violent Crime: 1,127
  • Property Crime: 2,952
  • Murder: 0
  • Rape: 15.7
  • Robbery: 31.5
  • Assault: 1079.9
  • Burglary: 351.2
  • Theft: 2322.4
  • Car Theft: 277.9

Not to be confused with the Shelbyville from The Simpsons, this town has only 20,000 people inside its borders. Despite this, the town has managed to make a name for itself due to the number of violent crimes that have taken place in its borders.

The aggravated assault rate in this city is over 400 percent of the state average, while violent crime as a whole is 196 percent above the national average. Property crime isn’t much better, though it’s still not as extreme as the violent crime rates. Oddly enough, there were no murders reported here, but assault is through the roof.

Shelbyville’s unusually high assault rates are often ascribed to the town’s widespread addiction problem. Between bar brawls, drug deals gone wrong, domestic violence, and other related issues, it’s easy to see why many people are leery of getting into an argument within city limits. Perhaps it’s something in the water?

6. Gary


  • Violent Crime: 494
  • Property Crime: 3,610
  • Murder: 53
  • Rape: 43.8
  • Robbery: 192.2
  • Assault: 206.8
  • Burglary: 932
  • Theft: 2073.6
  • Car Theft: 604.6

Gary, Indiana already has a reputation for being a bad place to live. This Chicago suburb gained a lot of recognition for environmental problems involving tainted water and pollution. Maybe it’s something in the water that makes this a hotspot for violent crime.

The robbery and property crime rates here skyrocketed. It’s currently two times the national average, making Gary one of the most violent cities for aggravated theft. Oh, and vehicle theft is currently almost three times the national average.

When you take a look at the overall stats for this city, you’ll find out something pretty embarrassing. Gary was recently named the worst place to live in Indiana for 2020. Unfortunately, most of the issues are systemic and would take decades to improve.

Another odd “honor” that Gary has? It’s also in the top three cities when it comes to murder rates.

5. Elkhart


  • Violent Crime: 1,185
  • Property Crime: 3,549
  • Murder: 13.3
  • Rape: 58.9
  • Robbery:106.3
  • Assault: 1006.5
  • Burglary: 683.6
  • Theft: 2337.7
  • Car Theft: 527.9

If you would take a drive down through Elkhart’s main street, you’d never guess this city would be one of the most dangerous cities in Indiana. It looks so nice, doesn’t it? Well, think again. The violent crime is 211 percent above the national average and property crime is a full 61 percent above, too.

Assault reports are through the roof in Elkart, and it’s often ascribed to a mix between domestic violence, bar fights, as well as more serious criminal activity. As a result of the high violent crime, law enforcement has been working to clamp down on things.

Even with the renewed effort, you still have a 1 in 22 chance of being a crime victim here. Crime has increased by 4 percent over the past year, so things aren’t looking too rosy.

4. Evansville


  • Violent Crime: 4,463
  • Property Crime: 568
  • Murder: 5.5
  • Rape: 46.6
  • Robbery: 85
  • Assault: 326.5
  • Burglary: 688.6
  • Theft: 2714.5
  • Car Theft: 194.8

With a property rate that is twice as high as the national average and a crime rate that’s 95 percent above the norm, Indiana’s third-largest city has a crime problem. Larceny theft is one of the biggest problems this city has, with a rate that’s well over double the national average.

Living here means that you need to invest in a home security setup and that you might want to get something for your car too. Who can blame locals for wanting to be cautious? The schools here are pretty foul and there’s a little bit of gang culture found in many street corners nearby.

Evansville has the dubious honor of being almost universally panned by everyone who lives there on Areavibes. Less than 20 percent of respondents said that it was safe at night, quiet, well-kept, or even walkable to the nearest grocery store.

3. Indianapolis


  • Violent Crime: 1,273
  • Property Crime: 4,129
  • Murder: 18.5
  • Rape: 771.
  • Robbery: 351.1
  • Assault: 826.1
  • Burglary: 893.6
  • Theft: 3,2671.9
  • Car Theft: 563.9

Most people would assume that the state capital would be the most dangerous city in Indiana, but they’d be wrong. They’re not too far off, though. The violent crime is 234 percent above the national average, with robbery being approximately four times the state’s average. Property crime isn’t too far behind.

In 2018, Indianapolis had over 23,448 incidents of theft. That alone would make most people run to a home security store. There were also an alarming 162 murders reported in that year alone. You have a 1 in 19 chance of being a crime victim here, but here’s the real shocker…

Crime decreased here year over year by approximately 6 percent. So it used to be worse and there is some tangible proof that suggests it’ll get better. Police have been working tirelessly to cut down on the gang activity in this region, and we’re all hoping they’ll be able to do something about it.

2. South Bend

South Bend

  • Violent Crime: 1,039
  • Property Crime: 4,303
  • Murder: 8.8
  • Rape: 65.4
  • Robbery: 270.5
  • Assault: 694.4
  • Burglary: 947.3
  • Theft: 2886.8
  • Car Theft: 468.8

South Bend might be marginally smaller than Indianapolis, but that doesn’t mean it’s safer. Au contraire—it’s actually worse. The total crime rate is 107 percent above the national average, and there is a serious gang issue afoot as well.

Though the crime in South Bend has decreased by 12 percent year over year, the truth is that there still is a lot to do before anyone would consider this place safe. Between the assault rate that’s 2.5 times the national average and the burglary rate that’s over double the norm, you’d be forgiven if you wanted to avoid South Bend.

Much like Gary, South Bend was once a booming manufacturing town. When the steel industry imploded, most of the jobs in town went away, never to come back. Since then, the area has been stricken by urban blight as well as a chronic unemployment problem. This, in turn, caused the crime rates to skyrocket.

1. Michigan City

Michigan City

  • Violent Crime: 742
  • Property Crime: 4,429
  • Murder: 9.7
  • Rape: 41.9
  • Robbery: 161.3
  • Assault: 529
  • Burglary: 609.7
  • Theft: 3484
  • Car Theft: 335

Though it’s not located in Michigan, many out-of-staters would agree that this city has a lot in common with Detroit. Most commonly, the run-down buildings, gloomy weather, and dreary employment opportunities tend to give people a vibe that’s reminiscent of Detroit’s urban blight.

It’s hard to tell what made this the most dangerous city in Indiana. Is it the fact that 27.2 percent of people are in poverty here? Is it the fact that there are few social safety nets to help them out? Or, is it the terrible school systems that seemingly doom the area’s youth to a bad life? Whatever it is, it seems like Michigan City has developed a culture of crime in its region.

One could argue that Michigan City doesn’t have that bad a violent crime rate. It’s true. However, one thing is for sure. Proportionally speaking, Michigan City has the highest rate of theft and property crime in the state. 70 percent of locals agreed that “crime is rampant” here. To make matters even worse, crime is on the rise. Yikes.

Crime Rates In Indiana Cities For 2020

Number Name Violent Crime Property Crime
10 Lafayette 464 3,598
9 Anderson 413 4,260
8 Marion 455 3,692
7 Shelbyville 1,127 2,952
6 Gary 464 3,610
5 Elkhart 1,185 3,529
4 Evansville 568 4,463
3 Indianapolis 1,273 4,129
2 South Bend 1,039 4,303
1 Michigan City 742 4,429

Related Questions

What are the safest cities in Indiana?

The safest cities in Indiana are St. John, Carmel, and Fishers. All three of these cities boast a high median income above $100,000 per year, violent crime rates under 30 per 100,000 residents, and property crimes that are under 800 per 100,000 residents.

What are the best places to live in Indiana?

People who are looking for a new place to call home should take a look at Bloomington, Carmel, and Fishers. All three cities are known for having world-class school systems, excellent social supports, wonderful economic opportunities as well as booming restaurant scenes.

What is the wealthiest town in Indiana?

While there are several towns that would put many others in the country to shame, the wealthiest town in Indiana is a small place called St. John. The average household income here is an impressive $109,000 per year.

Why is Gary, Indiana so bad?

At one point, Gary was a booming steel town that had a massive influx of people who thrived there. Unfortunately, overseas competition in the steel industry caused much of America’s manufacturing cities to collapse. Gary ended up seeing a massive flight of people, with its population halving since its peak in 1960.

Since then, employment opportunities have never fully come back to Gary. While there have been some efforts to revitalize the city, most people agree that this town will probably never fully recover.

Are people in Indianapolis friendly?

If there’s one thing that Indiana is known for, it’s Hoosier hospitality. This means that people here are always ready and willing to meet new friends, offer a bite to eat, or grab a drink with you. Of course, there is one sore spot—don’t insult people’s driving here!

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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