World Facts

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Highest Murder Rates in the World by City

More and more people are leaving rural and small town environs behind as the flock into the world’s biggest cities in search of better jobs and living conditions. Just as urban demographics become more and more colorful and diversified, these same changes inevitably impact the interactions between people sharing proximate living spaces as well.

Some of the world’s most promising metropolises have thus become some of the most dangerous places on earth, and large populations and limited law enforcement capabilities only exacerbate problems. As a result, we see many popular cities being identified as particularly dangerous, highlighted by their high crime rates.

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 beating out San Pedro Sula in Honduras which had the top position in 2015, with 171.2 murders per 100,000 people per year but dropped to second at 111.03 in 2016. The number is surprisingly high in comparison to the most violent cities in many other countries. In the US, for example, St. Louis, with its murder rate of 59.23 per 100,000, is still a much safer place to live than the world’s most dangerous city. Illegal drug distribution, extensive poverty, and gangs all combine to affect the living conditions in Caracas and San Pedro Sula, the help make those city so notorious.

Amid a rise in mass killings and escalating violence between alleged gang members, San Salvador has almost doubled its murder rate from 61.21 to 108.54 taking 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 US cities 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 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 location in the country by far. 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 probably the most dangerous city in the US.

Baltimore, Maryland was ranked 40th last year with a murder rate of 33.92 has risen to 19th spot this year 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 nonetheless. Factoring in all violent crime Detroit does top the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

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.

Actual crime rates and perceptions are completely different things. Several official polls have been carried out to assess where people don’t feel safe in Europe. The cities where people felt most secure were Oviedo and Groningen, while residents of Athens (Greece), Istanbul (Turkey), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Bucharest (Romania) felt the most endangered.

Do wealth and standards of living have anything to do 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 Johanesburgo, South Africa 30.31
48 Macapa, Brazil 30.25
49 Maracaibo, Venezuela 28.85
50 Obregon, Mexico 28.29

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