ADT Hammond, Indiana

Hammond, Indiana: Not Chicago’s Safest Suburb
Hammond is technically a suburb of Chicago, despite being located directly across the state boarder in Indiana. It is less than 25 miles away from the Illinois state capital, and is easily reached by commuter rail. Despite its convenient location, however, Hammond has been experiencing marked population decreases over recent years. In 1990, over 84,000 residents called it home. By 2010, this number had reached just over 81,000. Current estimates are closer to 77,000. Unfortunately for this suburban city, the trend does not appear to be reversing. The city’s job growth is only 0.96%, compared to a national average of 1.59%. Unemployment rates are more than a full percentage point higher than the national average as well. Despite local efforts to beautify the downtown area, Hammond is unlikely to begin attracting new residents. For those living in the area, its comparative poverty poses individual challenges as well. Areas that experience high poverty rates typicaly experience high crime. Although Hammond is not one of the poorest cities in the area, and maintains a fair amount of economic diversity despite these averages, it does experience one of the highest rates of crime in the country. An average of one in 123 residents falls victim to violent crime within city limits each year, including assault, rape, robbery, and murder. Victims of property crime are even higher. An average of one in 28 residents experiences a burglary, arson, larceny, or theft of a motor vehicle annually. These statistics point at Hammond as one of the more dangerous communities in the United States, with only 7% of cities, towns, and communities of any size experiencing higher crime rates. As in most cities, these crime rates are not uniform across its almost 25 square miles of area. Neighborhoods located closer to Lake Chicago, for which the county was named, are safer than those located further inland. Unsurprisingly, housing and real estate costs are also higher in these comparatively low crime neighborhoods. The city’s two police departments are both located near the city’s main north-south thoroughfare. One is directly on Calumet Ave, at 2211, while the other is located at 509 Douglas slightly to the west near the border of Calumet City. Although the northern station is located in a historically low-crime area, residents surrounding the city’s southernmost police station do not enjoy the same benefits. This discrepancy may be due to the area’s sometimes strained relationship with local authorities. The police in Hammond, and in Lake County more generally, are certainly not known for good behavior. The most recently reported incident involves local officer Mathew Anderson, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated after almost causing an accident on I-65. Occurring on December 1st, this was the third similar incident occurring within a two week span. Another officer was actually on duty at the time in nearby Gary, where he struck a pedestrian, leaving the person severely injured, due to being intoxicated. These repeated incidents of drunk driving are not at all without precedence. Local departments have garnered themselves somewhat of a tarnished reputation in recent times. John Buncich, a Lake County Sheriff, and his chief of police Tim Downs, were charged with corruption recently as well. Both of them are facing charges of wire fraud, and Buncich has also been accused of receiving bribes from various towing firms. U.S. Attorney David Capp, who was responsible for bringing this case to light and getting the investigation started, believes that there are more responsible parties involved. Buncich has yet to step down from the county’s highest elected position, despite these allegations. Situations such as these do little to foster trust between police departments and local residents. They also distract otherwise honest officers from being able to complete their work in preventing and solving crimes across the city. In areas where police corruption, gang violence, and overall high rates of crime come together to form an unpleasant scenario for homeowners. It only makes good sense for residents to take a higher level of responsibility for their own safety. Hammond is home to only one local security company office. AT&T Digital Life Home Security is located at 3102 169th Pl. However, a wide variety of national carriers operate within city limits. These include Skynet Security, with an office in nearby Chicago, SafeStreets, USA, Protection 1 Security Solutions, and Northstar Alarm Services, LLC. When deciding what level of home security is necessary, homeowners must take into account the general safety of their neighborhoods. Signs that the neighborhood may not be the safest place to live include the presence of abandoned houses or those in a general state of disrepair, its proximity to main thoroughfares, and the absence of structured Neighborhood Watch programs. Statistically speaking, homes that employ security technologies, including alarms, surveillance cameras, and motion-sensor lights, are 300% less likely to be broken into than those whose residents content themselves with simply locking the doors and hoping for the best. Not only will installing a home alarm decrease an individual home’s likelihood of being broken into, but research shows that it may also make the neighborhood in which it is located generally safer. The exception to this rule is homes that show ostentatious signs of wealth, and are the only structures in their immediate area that do not employ protective measures. If every one of the neighbors in what appears to be a nice neighborhood have alarm systems, failing to have one installed will make the home appear to be an easier target. The up-front and maintenance costs of having an alarm installed do not compare to average sums stolen during home burglaries. For those concerned about home security, the market offers a wide variety of options to fit different budgets, ensuring that homeowners are not prevented by cost from having the protection they need.