The world is a beautiful place, but also a dangerous one. There are some cities across this wonderful planet which aren’t exactly what you would call, safe. In our list of the 30 most dangerous cities in the world, based on homicide rates in 2016, you’ll find mostly Latin American metropolis, with Venezuela and Brazil dominating the list.
30. Gran Barcelona, Venezuela: A major city on the Venezuelan coast with over 846,000 inhabitants, Barcelona has a murder rate of 46.86 per 100,000 people, including 397 homicides in 2016. It’s one of 7 Venezuelans municipalities on the list.
29. João Pessoa, Brazil: The capital of the state of Paraíba in Brazil had 530 homicides in 2016 and a murder rate of 47.57 per 100,000 people. It has a population of 1.1 million, and surprisingly, is considered the second greenest city in the world, after Paris in France.
28. Recife, Brazil: With 1887 murders in 2016, this city of 3.9 million people has the 9th highest murder rate in Brazil – 47.89 per 100,000 people. It’s the largest city in the Northeast of Brazil, and is actually considered safer than other big cities in the region like Salvador.
27. Mazatlan, Mexico: A city of half a million people on the Pacific coast, Mazatlan had 245 murders in 2016, a homicide rate of 48.75 per 100,000. The city is also noted for its beaches and seafood, but as we see, it doesn’t rule out an active and dangerous crime life.
26. Baltimore, United States: One of two American cities on the list, Baltimore had 318 homicides in 2016, which comes to 51.14 per 100,000 people. Overall reported crime has dropped by 60% from the mid ’90’s to the mid 2010’s, although homicide is one particular crime that has consistently stayed above the national average homicide rate.
25. Maceió, Brazil: Another city in Northeastern Brazil, Maceió, a city of over 1 million people, had 529 homicides in 2016, coming to 51.78 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. It is the capital and the largest city of the coastal state of Alagoas.
24. Culiacán, Mexico: The largest city in the state of Sinaloa (905,265 people), Culiacán had 469 homicides in 2016, 51.81 per 100,000 people. It might have something to do with the Sinaloa cartel being based in the city.
23. Guatemala City, Guatemala: The capital of the Central American state, Guatemala City has a notorious reputation which often makes it nothing but a transit stop to switch buses for tourists in the country. It had 1596 homicides in 2016, 52.73 per 100,000 inhabitants. The surge in crime numbers goes hand in hand with the population explosion in the city since the 1970’s, due to mass migration from impoverished rural districts wracked with political instability.
22. Tijuana, Mexico: The Baja border town is known for many things, crime among them. The city of 1.6 million had 871 homicides in 2016, 53.06 per 100,000 people. It has been the platform of violent cartel turf wars for much of the last decade, and probably dating to way before that.
21. Cali, Colombia: The only Colombian city on the list, it makes it with 1358 murders in 2016, 54 per 100,000 people. The 2.5 million city has actually seen less and less crime over the last 5 years, working hard to eradicate the plague since the USA issued a travel warning regarding Cali, warning of a sharp increase in crime and “terrorist activity”, back in 2012.
20. Salvador, Brazil: The city of nearly 4 million is known for many things, including being the first capital of Brazil, but it also had 2180 murders in 2016, 54.71 per 100,000 people. Despite its high homicide rate, Salvador has one of the lowest suicide rates in the country.
19. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil: An oil-town in the state of Rio de Janeiro, it had 275 murders in 2016, 56.45 per 100,000 people. The city had over 700,000 people living in it during the 1950s, but has seen a rapid population decrease during the second half of the 20th century. Less than 500,000 live there now.
18. Cumaná, Venezuela: Another Venezuelan beach town, Cumaná had 266 murders in 2016, 59.31 per 100,000 people. Famous for its colonial-style architecture, especially the two massive Spanish forts remaining from the days of Spanish rules in South America.
17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela: A major commercial and industrial hub, Barquisimeto had 785 homicides in 2016, 59.38 per 100,000 people. The 4th largest city in the country with over 1.3 million inhabitants, Barquisimeto is also known as the dusk city for its beautiful sunsets.
16. Vitória da Conquista, Brazil: The center of the coffee-growing region in Bahia, the city has a darker side, with 208 murders in 2016, 60.10 per 100,000 people. It was founded in 1840, and just over 300,000 people call it home.
15. Feira de Santana, Brazil: Another city in Bahia, the state’s second most populous city. Feira de Santana has 612,000 inhabitants. In 2016 there were 375 reported murders, 60.23 per 100,000 people. It is famous for its parties and festivals, named in honor of the cattle fairs held at the St-Anne-of-the-Fountains Plantation in the 19th century.
14. St. Louis, United States: The highest ranked city from the United States, St. Louis had 188 murders in 2016, 60.37 per 100,000 people. Crime rate in the city has been on the decline over the last 25 years, but it remains the homicide capital of the United States for cities above 100,000 people.
13. Cape Town, South Africa: The only African city on the list and the highest ranked among non-Latin countries, the capital of the Western Cape province had 2434 murders in 2016, 60.77 per 100,000 people. A city of over 4 million, it has seen a surge in violent crime and especially drug related problems since 1994.
12. Aracaju, Brazil: Another Northeastern city, Aracaju is in the state of Sergipe, it’s capital city in fact, with 940,000 inhabitants. The city had 589 murders in 2016, 62.76 per 100,000 people. It hasn’t stopped the city from becoming a preferred low-cost tourist destination.
11. Belém, Brazil: A northern Brazilian city and the capital of the state of Para, Belem has a population of 2.4 million. 1633 homicides were reported there in 2016, 67.41 per 100,000 people. It was the first European colony on the Amazon, dating back to 1616, but wasn’t incorporated into Brazil until 1775.
10. Natal, Brazil: The last and most notorious of the Brazilian cities on the list, Natal had 1097 homicides in 2016, 69.56 per 100,000 people. The capital of Rio Grande do Norte has over 1.5 million inhabitants, and is known for its beaches and surrounding dunes.
9. Valencia, Venezuela: The capital of Carabobo state, Valencia had 1124 homicides in 2016, 72.02 per 100,000 people. With over 1.5 million people, it is expected to grow dramatically in the next few years, although the economical issues in the country could prove these forecasts wrong.
8. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela: A new city located in Eastern Venezuela, where the Orinoco meets the Caroni. 727 homicides were reported there in 2016, 82.84 per 100,000 people. With a population of close to 900,000, Guayana is very different to most South American cities due to its planning and due to the presence in the 1960s and early 1970s of US Steel.
7. San Salvador, El Salvador: The capital of the tiny Central American nation, San Salvador has over 1.7 million inhabitants, almost 27% of its population. It had 1483 homicides in 2016, 83.39 per 100,000 people. The city’s most notorious gang are the 18th street gang, originating from Los Angeles in California.
6. Maturín, Venezuela: An important transportation hub in Northeastern Venezuela, Maturín had 499 homicides in 2016, 84.21 per 100,000 people. A city of just under 600,000, it was named after an Indian chief (el Indio Maturín) who lived with his tribe next to the bank of Guarapiche River.
5. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico: The capital of Tamaulipas has a population of 350,000, and had 293 reported homicides in 2016. That comes to 84.67 per 100,000, the second highest ratio in the country of Mexico.
4. Tegucigalpa, Honduras: The capital city of Honduras, with a population of 1.2 million, is part of Distrito Central, which also includes Comayaguela. The area had 1027 murders in 2016, 85.09 per 100,000 people. The crimes in Honduras isn’t only between the locals, from 2010 the United States embassy in Honduras noted of 42 murders of United States citizens that were in Honduras.
3. San Pedro Sula, Honduras: Honduras is the murder capital of the world, and it’s “crown jewel” is San Pedro Sula, and industrial city in the Northwest of the country. Home to over 750,000 people, the city saw 845 homicides in 2016, 112.09 per 100,000 people. Things have deteriorated to this point since the 2009 military coup.
2. Acapulco, Mexico: Despite its fame for being a lavish Pacific resort, Acapulco has a different side to it, that includes 918 murders in 2016, 113.24 per 100,000 people. The city has 810,000 inhabitants, and is one of the top destinations for spring breakers from the United States.
1. Caracas, Venezuela: The capital and largest city in Venezuela, Caracas has a population of 3.3 million. However, it also has an astonishing murder rate, with over 4300 homicides in 2016, 103.35 per 100,000 people. Most murders and other violent crimes go unsolved, with estimates of the number of unresolved crimes as high as 98%.