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The Most Dangerous Cities In The World

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artboard 1 The Most Dangerous Cities In The World

By Krista Conrad on October 9 2020 in Society

Infographic: map showing the 10 most dangerous cities in the world. They are all located in either Mexico, Venezuela or Brazil. Infographic: map showing the 10 most dangerous cities in the world. They are all located in either Mexico, Venezuela or Brazil.

  • According to a 2020 study, Detroit, MI is the most dangerous city in America with a violent crime rate of 20 per 1,000 citizens.
  • In 2012, Mexico had a murder rate of 21.5 per 100,000 people.
  • About 150,000 intentional homicides in Mexico since 2006 were related to organized crime.

Before planning your next vacation, it may be worth doing some research into the cities you plan to visit – especially if the itinerary involves locales in Mexico and South America, where the top 10 most dangerous places in the world are located. According to a report by the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, these cities have documented the highest homicide rates per capita.

Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela

ciudad bolivar historical zone The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldCiudad Bolívar. Image credit: Venecon/Wikimedia.org

Cuidad Bolívar gets a lot of press, but not a lot of positive exposure. In the city’s most poverty-stricken district – which has been referred to as one of the world’s biggest mega-slums – drugs, gangs, and violence run rampant. Crime flourishes in the city, located on the Orinoco River, with 69 homicides per 100,000 people. In 2018, that equated to 264 murders in its population of 382,095.

Fortaleza, Brazil

fortaleza brazil 6 The Most Dangerous Cities In The World Seashore of Fortaleza. Image credit: ME/Portal da Copa/Wikimedia.org

There are also 69 murders per 100,000 people in Fortaleza, which is infamous for pristine white beaches and its proximity to wildly popular tourist attractions like Jericoacoara Beach and Lençois Maranhenses National Park. But the beauty of Fortaleza is overshadowed by the number of homicides (2,724 in 2018) so being aware of personal safety is paramount when visiting.

Natal, Brazil

1280px porto de natal aerea The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldPort of Natal. Image credit: Portal da Copa/Wikimedia.org

The city is known for high rates of all crimes, including theft, physical and sexual assault, and carjackings – but its murder rate is what lands Natal on the top 10 list. With 75 homicides per 100,000 people, the city remains a popular tourist destination for the beautiful natural sites surrounding its boundary. The reasons for its high crime and murder rates are presumed to be poverty and violence between prisoners and gangs.

Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela

puerto ordaz 2 The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldCiudad Guayana. Image credit: La Mesa/Public domain

Violent crime and murder are a prevalent concern in Venezuela, and the city of Ciudad Guayana is no exception. Visitors are cautioned to exercise extreme caution when exploring the city because crimes like rape and murder are very common. In its population of one million people, the homicide rate is 78 in 100,000, largely due to economic hardships and organized gangs.

Irapuato, Mexico

irapuatocentrohistorico The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldIrapuato, Mexico. Image credit: Davelapo555/Public domain

A mid-sized Mexican city, Irapuato (population less than 400,000) has added to recent surges in Mexican security issues with a murder rate of 81 in 100,000 people, which stems primarily from turf wars between the Jalisco Cartel New Generation and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel. Videos released by the latter have promised to remove outsiders from the area and shown mass shootings in bars, as well as men with assault rifles. Local police declared two years ago they would no longer handle organized crime and would leave it in the hands of the federal government, leaving no front-line response to violent crime related to the cartels.

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

1280px ciudad juarez skyline The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldCiudad Juárez skyline. Image credit: ONEOKROCKmx/Wikimedia.org

Cuidad Juárez is widely known as a city to avoid. It once served residents of El Paso, TX, which shares the same border, with nightclubs and loud musical entertainment, but its tourism has since been snuffed out due to high rates of crime. There are 86 murders per 100,000 people, and the city is also known as the worst city for women in Mexico. Though U.S. residents are not specifically targeted by the violence, travelers are reminded to be vigilant in case of robbery, carjacking, theft, burglary, and murder.

Cuidad Victoria, Mexico

lluvia de luces en la ciudad 5838590216 The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldCiudad Victoria. Image credit: Armando Aguayo Rivera from Cd. Victoria Tamaulipas, México/Wikimedia.org

With 86 murders per 100,000 residents, Cuidad Victoria is one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Many of those homicides are the result of shootouts between rival drug cartels, as well as criminal groups clashing with police and military in the city. There is even marked violence in prisons, where there are noted shootings, smuggled weapons, riots, and escapes.

Caracas, Venezuela

vista plazavenezuela2 The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldCaracas. Image credit: Paulino Moran/Wikimedia.org

In 2017, Caracas was named the most dangerous capital city in the world, and is still in the top three most crime-ridden cities on the planet with 100 murders in 100,000 people. Many residents of the city – and Venezuela in general – have been forced into a life of crime in order to support poor and often starving families.

Acapulco, Mexico

1280px acapulco zona hotelera 02 The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldAcapulco. Image credit: Microstar/Wikimedia.org

Once a playground for the Hollywood set, there is more than a drug war happening on the streets of Acapulco. In its hillside neighborhoods, where tourists do not tend to wander, gangs like 221 or Los Locos include extortionists, kidnappers, car thieves, assassins, and killers. The result is 111 homicides per 100,000 people, and the devastation of a once-booming tourism industry. Though not tied directly to the cartel (the main drug cartel in Acapulco split years ago), the number of neighborhood gangs involved in turf wars and other violence is just as concerning, and terrifying for residents and tourists alike. Some poorer business owners, who cannot afford elaborate security systems, have resorted to paying for protection.

Tijuana, Mexico

1280px aguacaliente skyscrapers4 The Most Dangerous Cities In The WorldTijuana. Image credit: IFCM/Wikimedia.org

Named the most dangerous city in the world with 138 murders per 100,000 residents (about seven killings per day), Tijuana is known for violent crime and poverty. Not long ago, it was a party spot for American college students during spring break, until its seedy underbelly of crime surfaced. Most of the violence comes from human trafficking and drug trades (largely crystal meth), each run by different gangs, as well as a rivalry between the Sinaloa (El Chapo) and Tijuana cartels.

The Most Dangerous Cities In The World

Rank City Country Homicides Homicide Rate (Per 100,000)
1 Tijuana Mexico 2,640 138
2 Acapulco Mexico 948 111
3 Caracas Venezuela 2,980 100
4 Ciudad Victoria Mexico 314 86
5 Ciudad Juárez Mexico 1,251 86
6 Irapuato Mexico 473 81
7 Ciudad Guayana Venezuela 645 78
8 Natal Brazil 1,185 75
9 Fortaleza Brazil 2,724 69
10 Ciudad Bolívar Venezuela 264 69
11 Cape Town South Africa 2,868 66
12 Belém Brazil 1,627 65
13 Cancun Mexico 547 64
14 Feira de Santana Brazil 386 63
15 St. Louis United States 187 61
16 Culiacán Mexico 585 61
17 Barquisimeto Venezuela 683 57
18 Uruapan Mexico 189 55
19 Kingston Jamaica 639 54
20 Obregón Mexico 179 52
21 Maceió Brazil 521 51
22 Vitória da Conquista Brazil 172 51
23 Baltimore United States 309 51
24 San Salvador El Salvador 906 50
25 Aracaju Brazil 463 49
26 Coatzacoalcos Mexico 162 48
27 Palmira Colombia 149 48
28 Maturín Venezuela 257 47
29 Salvador Brazil 1,849 47
30 Macapá Brazil 233 47
31 Cali Colombia 1,209 47
32 Celaya Mexico 240 47
33 San Pedro Sula Honduras 363 47
34 Ensenada Mexico 253 47
35 Campos dos Goytacazes Brazil 233 46
36 Tepic Mexico 230 45
37 Manaus Brazil 944 44
38 Recife Brazil 1,738 44
39 Distrito Central (Tegucigalpa) Honduras 538 43
40 San Juan United States 143 42
41 Valencia Venezuela 678 42
42 Reynosa Mexico 295 41
43 Guatemala City Guatemala 1,411 44
44 João Pessoa Brazil 460 41
45 Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) South Africa 478 39
46 Detroit United States 261 39
47 Durban South Africa 1,562 39
48 Teresina Brazil 324 38
49 Chihuahua Mexico 352 38
50 New Orleans United States 145 37


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