World Facts

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

This list is based on murder rate per capita.

Every year, many people leave small towns and rural areas behind to seek the job prospects and improved living conditions offered by the world's largest cities. However, with these opportunities often comes a risk, as these urban areas can be hotbeds of violent crime, exacerbated by high population density and limited law enforcement.

The World’s Most Dangerous Cities

When planning your next trip, you may want to avoid some of the cities we’re about to mention. In 2015, they ranked among the world’s most dangerous places on the basis of murder cases per capita.

Caracas, Venezuela has risen to number one spot with 119.87 murders per 100,000. This beats out San Pedro Sula in Honduras, which formerly held top place with 171.2 murders per 100,000 people in 2015 (this rate has since dropped to 111.03 in 2016). However, even despite this improvement, the number is still staggering in comparison to the most violent cities in many other countries. For example, the most dangerous city in the United States, St. Louis, is still a much safer place to live than the world's most dangerous city with a murder rate of 59.23 per 100,000. Some of the factors that may be to blame for the murder rates that measure over 100 include illegal drug distribution, extensive poverty, and gangs. For example, a rise in mass killings and escalating violence between alleged gang members has resulted in the murder rate of San Salvador practically doubling in a year from 61.21 to 108.54, allowing it to take the 3rd spot. August was most violent month in San Salvador, with more than 900 killings, including an unprecedented 52 deaths registered in a single day. The other two cities that complete the top five most dangerous places in the world are Acapulco, Mexico and Maturin, Venezuela.

Crime Levels in the US – Dangerous Urban Havens?

Four cities in the United States have a place among the top 50 most dangerous cities in the world (on the basis of murder per capita statistics). St. Louis ranks 15th on the list with a murder rate of 59.23 per 100,000 inhabitants, a rise from 2015's rate of 49.93, making it the most dangerous urban area in the country by a landslide. The city is also present in rankings based on considerations for other crimes – the Missouri city has a burglary rate of 606.9 per 100,000 and an aggravated assault rate of 317.7 per 100,000. This has led many to the conclusion that St. Louis is the most dangerous city in the US.

Also of note is Baltimore, Maryland's position on the list. In 2015, was ranked 40th last year with a murder rate of 33.92. This year, however, its place has risen to 19th with a murder rate of 54.98 per 100,000 people.

Detroit is the now the third city included in the 2015 ranking of the world’s most dangerous cities in terms of murder rates. With its 43.89 murders per 100,000 people, Detroit is a bit further down the list than St. Louis, but is still classified a dangerous place. Factoring in all violent crime Detroit does top the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Although Chicago is often cited as the most dangerous urban area in the United States, even with a near record-breaking 762 murders in 2016, the murder rate remains at 28.2, making its position fall further on the list.

New Orleans falls further down with 41.44 murders per 100,000 residents a year.

Europe’s Most Dangerous Cities

Europe may very well be the safest continent in the world, considering that none of its cities appear in the World’s Most Dangerous Cities ranking. However, there are still some cities on the Old Continent that one should be careful about when visiting.

One such city is Rotterdam in the Netherlands. This city tops the chart for European lack of safety. Poland’s Lodz takes second while Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom occupies the third position in the European city danger rankings.

Do wealth and standards of living correlate with security? Crime statistics do suggest that poverty and murder prevalence could be linked to each other, and some of the world’s most dangerous places are indeed located within countries plagued by political turbulence, corruption, low standards of living and economic underdevelopment. Hopefully, figures for all of these dangerous cities will decline in years to come.

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Rank City Murder Rate (per 100,000)
1 Caracas, Venezuela 119.87
2 San Pedro Sula, Honduras 111.03
3 San Salvador, El Salvador 108.54
4 Acapulco, Mexico 104.73
5 Maturin, Venezuela 86.45
6 Distrito Central, Honduras 73.51
7 Valencia, Venezuela 72.31
8 Palmira, Colombia 70.88
9 Cape Town, South Africa 65.53
10 Cali, Colombia 64.27
11 Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela 62.33
12 Fortaleza, Brazil 60.77
13 Natal, Brazil 60.66
14 Salvador, Brazil 60.63
15 St. Louis, U.S.A. 59.23
16 Joao Pessoa, Brazil 58.4
17 Culiacan, Mexico 56.09
18 Maceio, Brazil 55.63
19 Baltimore, U.S.A. 54.98
20 Barquisimeto, Venezuela 54.96
21 Sao Luis, Brazil 53.05
22 Cuiaba, Brazil 48.52
23 Manaus, Brazil 47.87
24 Cumana, Venezuela 47.77
25 Guatemala, Guatemala 47.17
26 Belem, Brazil 45.83
27 Feira de Santana, Brazil 45.5
28 Detroit, U.S.A. 43.89
29 Goiania, Brazil 43.38
30 Teresina, Brazil 42.64
31 Vitoria, Brazil 41.99
32 New Orleans, U.S.A. 41.44
33 Kingston, Jamaica 41.14
34 Gran Barcelona, Venezuela 40.08
35 Tijuana, Mexico 39.09
36 Vitória da Conquista, Brazil 38.46
37 Recife, Brazil 38.12
38 Aracaju, Brazil 37.7
39 Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil 36.16
40 Campina Grande, Brazil 36.04
41 Durban, South Africa 35.93
42 Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa 35.85
43 Porto Alegre, Brazil 34.73
44 Curitiba, Brazil 34.71
45 Pereira, Colombia 32.58
46 Victoria, Mexico 30.5
47 Johanesburg, South Africa 30.31
48 Macapa, Brazil 30.25
49 Maracaibo, Venezuela 28.85
50 Obregon, Mexico 28.29

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