17 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World (6 Are in The US)

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By Jonathan Trent

There are around 10,000 cities across the globe, and some are much more dangerous than others. Higher rates of poverty and crime mean that many cities suffer from regular violence and risky living conditions, just like the following 17 most dangerous cities in the world.

Tijuana, Mexico

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Tijuana is located along the US-Mexico border and suffers from frequent drug-related violence and organized crime. According to Forbes, it is a very high-risk location, as the city faces numerous challenges, including cartel turf wars, human trafficking, and a thriving black market. 

Caracas, Venezuela

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Caracas is the capital of Venezuela and deals with economic instability and social upheaval on a regular basis. These factors have caused a surge in crime rates across the city, including armed robberies, kidnappings, and common homicides. The breakdown of law and order and widespread poverty have created a seriously volatile and unsafe environment.

Acapulco, Mexico

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Acapulco has experienced rapidly escalating drug cartel violence and rampant crime. Tourists are wary of visiting the city, which has frequent homicides, extortion, and kidnappings, and quite rightly! The decline of its tourism industry has further exacerbated economic challenges, leaving many trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence.

Cape Town, South Africa

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Known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, Cape Town also suffers from some of the highest crime rates in the world. Gang violence fueled by drug trafficking, poverty, unemployment, and inequality perpetuates a cycle of violence that greatly affects marginalized communities, much like in Acapulco.

St. Louis, USA

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St. Louis experiences alarming levels of violent crime–especially homicides. The U.S News says its rate of violent crime is higher than the national average. Factors such as poverty, racial segregation, and easy access to firearms have contributed to the city’s reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the United States. 

Baltimore, USA

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Baltimore is a city steeped in culture, but it also faces significant challenges related to crime and violence. High rates of poverty, unemployment, and drug addiction have fueled a surge in crime, and unfortunately, the city’s police department has come under fire for issues such as excessive force and racial bias.

Detroit, USA

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Detroit was once a thriving industrial hub but has since dealt with decades of economic decline and urban decay. The city’s high crime rates reflect underlying social and economic challenges, including poverty, unemployment, and inadequate access to education and healthcare.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Rio de Janeiro is famous for its amazing landscapes and vibrant culture, but sadly, it also battled every day with high levels of crime and violence. Drug trafficking, gang wars, and poverty have contributed to a climate of insecurity and unrest, much like other South American danger hotspots.

Salvador, Brazil

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Salvador is located in northeastern Brazil and suffers from high rates of violent crime, including homicides and armed robberies. Gang violence, fueled by drug trafficking and territorial disputes, is a significant threat to public safety, so it’s probably best to choose another city for your next vacation.

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

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Ciudad Juárez has long been plagued by drug cartel violence and organized crime. Despite efforts by authorities to combat these issues, including increased law enforcement presence and military intervention, the city continues to deal with drug trafficking, human smuggling, and extortion. Trust us–there are many far safer places to visit in Mexico!

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

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San Pedro Sula has earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, with one of the highest murder rates globally. CNN reports that San Pedro Sula’s official murder rate is around 169 homicides per 100,000 residents – or three homicides per day on average!

Natal, Brazil

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Natal, a city in Brazil, struggles with rapidly rising crime rates. Gang violence, drug trafficking, and territorial disputes mean that there is a huge risk to public safety on a daily basis. Natal continues to face challenges related to poverty, inequality, and lack of access to education, much like many cities on this list.

Fortaleza, Brazil

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Fortaleza struggles with high levels of violent crime, particularly in its poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The city’s residents are often caught in the crossfire of conflicts, facing risks such as robbery, extortion, and assault every day. It really isn’t somewhere you want to be caught short as a tourist.

Culiacán, Mexico

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Culiacán in Mexico is the capital of the state of Sinaloa and is known as the stronghold of the notorious Sinaloa Cartel. The city is heavily impacted by drug-related violence, organized crime, and corruption, so tourists should exercise extreme caution when visiting. Honestly, the best action would be to give it a miss.

Kingston, Jamaica

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Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, is known for its diverse culture and music scene, but it’s also ridden with high crime levels. Kingston continually deals with socio-economic challenges such as inequality and lack of access to education and employment opportunities, which further fuel the cycle of violence. We hope this changes someday soon!

Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala, suffers from poverty, inequality, and corruption, all of which have fueled the growth of organized crime and gang activity, contributing to high levels of violence. According to GOV.UK, no parts of Guatemala are free from crime, and the FCDO advises against all but essential travel. 

San Salvador, El Salvador

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Finally, San Salvador has high rates of poverty, unemployment, and social inequality, which exacerbate violent crimes and leave many residents vulnerable to exploitation and victimization. The city’s residents face daily risks such as extortion, robbery, and assault, so we can only imagine the horrors that American tourists would witness!

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