Gary, IN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Gary is a city of about 68,000 residents, located in northwestern Indiana. It may be characterized as an industrial outer suburb of the greater Chicago metro region, and has lost nearly a third of its population between 2000 and 2020. Prostitution has been a longstanding problem in Gary, and cases of sex trafficking, child endangerment, and the sexual assault and murder of prostituted women have been documented in the city. For example, in May 2018, Darren Vann pleaded guilty to killing seven women under a plea agreement that will spare him the death penalty. The man targeted those who lived in the metro area where women gathered to engage in prostitution or take drugs, according to court documents filed in March 2016. Vann was scheduled to stand trial in October 2018 in the strangulation deaths of the seven women, and prosecutors were seeking the death penalty.  He had been was arrested in October 2014 as police in Hammond investigated the killing of a woman whose body was found in a bathtub inside a Hammond motel room. When Hammond police arrested him, Vann told them he had killed six women in Gary within the previous year. During the next several days, Vann led authorities to the bodies of the six other northwest Indiana women, whose remains had been hidden in abandoned buildings in Gary.  He had moved back to Gary after his July 2013 release from a Texas prison where he served time on a sexual assault charge involving a prostitute, and soon began targeting and murdering prostitutes in Indiana.

Although most of the police response has been directed toward those selling sex, the Gary Police Department and Lake County Sheriff’s Office have conducted periodic reverse stings since at least 2003.  In early September 2013, for example, LCSO deputies arrested six sex buyers in Gary as part of a prostitution sting.  Six men allegedly approached an undercover officer posing as a prostituted woman in the Broadway area.  Those arrested face charges of “patronizing a prostitute;” all had their identities released to news outlets.

Key Partners

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Gary Police Department

Key Sources

Brothel Raids Resulting in Sex Buyer Arrests:

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Indiana
Type City
Population 68325
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