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City of Gary offers gun turn-in program among crime epidemic

City of Gary takes on gun violence

GARY, Ind. (WISH) — Gary, Indiana, used to be called “the most miserable town in America.” Now, the murder rates are down, but guns used in violent crime remain a problem in the city.

“There was a time when Gary was synonymous with two things: Michael Jackson and crime,” said Gary Mayor Jerome Prince. “Unfortunately, there was a time when crime was actually murder. In fact, we carried the moniker of murder capital of the world for some time.”  

Prince made that statement to WISH-TV a few months ago: Crime and Gary, Indiana, are one in the same. On Thursday, the Gary Police Department handed out free gun locks and announced a gun turn-in program.  

“What I see is a collective cry for help in our community,” Gary Chief of Police Anthony Titus said. “We need young people to have a long and prosperous life. Our young people, their home should be their safe haven.”

Getting a handle on crime is the center piece of the Gary mayor’s office and the Gary Police Department.  

Prince told I-Team 8 the perception of crime in Gary is somewhat blown out of proportion. Gary may not hold the title of murder capital of the world since violent crime and homicide numbers have dropped in recent years, but the crime rate remains high.  

Prince asked Indiana State Police to help re-organize the police department. The ISP partnership started in the spring of 2022 and there is no timeline on when ISP will leave Gary. The Gary City Common Council has passed more than a dozen police reform ordinances this fall.  

“If this doesn’t work, it will never heal and I feel very strongly about that,” Superintendent of Indiana State Police Doug Carter said. “If we don’t change the perception of Gary.”

The Gary Police Department has 2,500 gun locks to give away and another 5,000 coming.

“One young person losing their life to gun violence is just too many, but when we have what seems to be an epidemic or pandemic of violence in our own homes that is gun led, we can do better,” said Titus.