The Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice has recently released their list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world. The most dangerous cities in the world are calculated each year based on the number of homicides per 100,000 people. The list does not include combat zones because this would greatly skew the results.
The 10 most dangerous cities in the world are split between three countries, all in Latin America, making the region the most dangerous in the world thanks to drug cartels, gang violence, political instability, and corruption. Not to mention extreme poverty.
Although there are other factors that contribute to danger, including sexual assault, theft, infectious disease, and trafficking, the report only considers homicide rates because these statistics are the most difficult for corrupt authorities to rig or cover up.
- Belem, Brazil
Belem, Portuguese for Bethlehem, is a northern city in Brazil known as the gateway to the Amazon. Although it is well known for its colonial charm and proximity to the Amazon river, the city is also known as one of the most dangerous in the world. Belem is not only dangerous because of violent crime, tourists also report many incidents of theft and muggings. If you’re visiting Belem as a tourist, never carry anything valuable on your person. You should have $10 or so to give to your muggers, but make sure the keys to your house and cell phone are hidden somewhere on your person.
- Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela
Ciudad Guayana is a Venezuelan port city known for its gorgeous waterfall and national parks. With Venezuela in political turmoil and thousands of people living on the brink of starvation, the country has become increasingly more dangerous. Travelers should avoid walking around at night or carrying any valuables on their person. Keep in mind many of the police are corrupt and can’t really be trusted either. You should also avoid the region that borders Colombia as it filled with drug cartels and traffickers.
- Ciudad Victoria, Mexico
Ciudad Victoria is a city located in a lush green valley in Northeastern Mexico. With a homicide rate of 83.32/100,000 residents, it is easily one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Mexico tops the list as the most dangerous country in the world outside of a combat zone, but why is it so dangerous? The report claims the government has failed “to systematically eradicate the private militias of criminal groups, allowing impunity to reach the worst levels ever recorded.”
- Fortaleza, Brazil
While three Brazilian cities make the top 10 list, it should be noted that campaigns to reduce crime in major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have been pretty successful. However, gang activity has increased in the north of Brazil, which is why these three northern cities now appear in the top ten of the most dangerous cities in the world.
- La Paz, Mexico
Since January, the US State Department placed “do not travel” advisories on five states in Mexico. That means these regions just south of the US-Mexico border are considered to be on the same level of danger for travelers as war torn countries like Yemen and Syria. One of the cities considered the most dangerous in Mexico is ironically called La Paz. La Paz is a coastal city on the Baja California peninsula. Due to its stunning beaches and thriving biodiversity, tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economy, but with growing cartel violence, fewer and fewer tourists are willing to venture to La Paz.
- Tijuana, Mexico
Tijuana is a Mexican border town sitting just below the Mexico-California border. Because of its proximity to California, Tijuana has long been a popular tourist destination for Americans; 50 million people cross the border each year. But Tijuana’s proximity to the border also means its a hotbed for human trafficking and drug cartels. The homicide rate in Tijuana has been steadily on the rise for years, thanks largely to the Mexican drug wars.
- Natal, Brazil
Natal, meaning Christmas in Portuguese, is a colonial city that draws tourists thanks to its rich history and famous beaches. In bygone days Natal was considered a safer alternative for those wanting to visit Brazil. Now, it’s the most dangerous city in the country thanks to gang violence and corruption. Armed assault is frequent in certain beaches, even during the day, so if you visit Natal stick with safer areas and not explore at night. It can also be dangerous to ride taxis, so be sure to call ahead for a taxi through a reputable company.
- Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco was once a scenic resort town that had never made the list of the most dangerous cities in the world, but in recent years gang violence and drug trafficking have been flooding into Acapulco from more violent areas of the country.
- Caracas, Venezuela
Caracas used be to the most dangerous city in the world, but with drug trafficking spiraling out of control in Mexico, America’s southern neighbor now holds the dubious honor of being the most dangerous country on earth. With growing political instability and food shortages, Caracas is still incredibly dangerous. While in Venezuela, you should avoid ATMs and using your credit card, not just because of credit card crime, but because the government of Venezuela demands an unrealistic conversation rate. It’s hard to avoid muggings and pickpocketing in Caracas, but you can reduce your risks by not using your cell phone in public and avoiding public transportation.
- Los Cabos, Mexico
Los Cabos, Mexico used to be known as a gorgeous resort town, beloved by American and Canadian tourists. But after a series of murders in 2017 and 2018 made international news, the city’s reputation as a peaceful getaway was ruined. Drug cartels have infiltrated the city making it the most dangerous in the world and sending homicide rates skyrocketing 500%.