10 of the World’s Most Dangerous Cities: Where Crime Rates Are Off the Charts

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA street cars.

There are many ways to measure the danger of any given city—robberies, physical assaults, and even the number of fatal work accidents. However, there is one universally-accepted metric for gauging danger: the homicide rate. Based on the most recent statistics, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa have a disproportionate number of high-violence cities. We’ll limit this list to one city per country to avoid piling on.

1. Tijuana, Mexico

Tijuana, Mexico

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Though Mexican cities like Colima, Zamora, and Ciudad Obregon could also occupy this spot (depending on which resource you cite), Tijuana has the most name recognition. Straddling California’s Pacific Coast border with California, Tijuana is a bottleneck for criminal activity. Once a cliche for frat bros who wanted to get lost south of the border for a weekend, Tijuana has devolved into a veritable battlefield.

2. Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela

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Though homicide statistics vary yearly (a different U.S. city can hold the dubious distinction of Homicide Capital each year), you’ll find Caracas, Venezuela, near the top of the Most Dangerous Cities list most years. Rampant inflation and widespread starvation have only heightened the desperation and crime in the Venezuelan capital.

3. Natal, Brazil

Natal, Brazil

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While many sectors of Brazil (including Rio de Janeiro) are seeing unbridled upticks in violent crime, Natal is Brazil’s most dangerous city. The capital of the Rio Grande do Norte state in Northeastern Brazil, Natal, saw a 232% increase in homicides between 2005 and 2015. Natal has become a hub of gang violence in a country known for sunshine, beauty in all its forms, and a flourishing criminal underworld.

4. Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

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The homicide trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius brought public attention to the rash of home invasions in Cape Town. Documentaries about modern-day Cape Town detail private security forces, absurd home defense measures, and a city on the brink due to out-of-control crime. Cape Town hasn’t been the same since Nelson Mandela left office.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

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American cities like Baltimore and Memphis wipe their sweaty brow when they see New Orleans occupying the spot for the Most Dangerous American City. While not an especially large city, New Orleans has descended into semi-lawlessness. With about 70 murders per 100,000 New Orleanians, the culture-rich Crescent City has become objectively dangerous.

6. Kingston, Jamaica


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I once heard a true story about a man attending a business conference in Kingston. Against security’s warning, the man took a taxi outside the hotel. At one point, he looked to his right and saw a lifeless body on the sidewalk, the apparent result of homicide. Based on current statistics, little has changed in Kingston as it relates to safety.

7. Port-au-Prince, Haiti


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One of the world’s most impoverished, unstable nations, Haiti has become synonymous with despair, corruption, and homicide. Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, has massive slums, countless desperate people, and a reputation that leads the rational-minded to stay well away.

8. Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador

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The second-largest city in Ecuador, Guayaquil, is reportedly overrun with gangs who think little of perpetrating violence on rivals and the general public.

The U.S. State Department advises you: “Do not travel to Guayaquil,” noting that “criminal organizations and gangs” operate in the area.

9. Cali, Colombia

Cali, Colombia

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Colombia’s successful and hard-earned reputational rehabilitation as a memorable, versatile, and safe tourist destination has apparently not extended to Cali. Home to the infamous Cali Cartel, this metropolis in southwestern Colombia remains one of the most statistically dangerous cities in the world.

10. San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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With about 37 homicides per 100,000 people, San Juan is not nearly as dangerous as the most dangerous Mexican cities, which average almost 200 homicides per 100,000 individuals. We skipped a lot of Brazilian and Mexican cities to get to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

However, San Juan ranked within the Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities in the World per 2022 rankings. These ranking shuffle every year. There are too many cities in the world where one cannot take their safety, or even their life, for granted. These are just this year’s most dangerous municipalities.

What would you add to this list?

This thread inspired this post.

The Most Dangerous Treks in the World: 10 Routes for the Adventurous

Mount Huashan, Shaanxi China

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All over the world, many challenging and strenuous treks can get your blood pumping. But which of these hikes are the world’s most treacherous and unpredictable, suitable only for the daredevils among us? Users of an inquisitive Internet forum sounded off about which hikes tested the human spirit and strength the most.

The Most Dangerous Treks in the World: 10 Routes for the Adventurous

Into the Heart of Darkness: Journeying to the World’s 10 Most Dangerous Jungles

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

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The world is home to near-countless natural wonders, but not all are safe to explore. Some of the Earth’s most beautiful and biodiverse places are treacherous and unforgiving. Jungles host unpredictably hostile terrains, unfriendly climates, and a plethora of deadly creatures. These dangerous jungles ask that even the most intrepid adventurers tread cautiously when visiting.

Into the Heart of Darkness: Journeying to the World’s 10 Most Dangerous Jungles

Once is Enough: The Top 10 Travel Destinations People Won’t Return To

Bad travel experience

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The 10 Most Popular Tropical Travel Locations lists are so played out. Let’s flip the script. So how about ten travel destinations frequently serving as a visitor’s “Final Destination?” These are the one-hitter quitters of tourist spots, leaving a sour enough taste in enough travelers’ mouths to discourage any return trips.

Once is Enough: The Top 10 Travel Destinations People Won’t Return To

It Can Happen to Anyone: 33 Travel Bloggers Share Their Nightmare Travel Stories

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Are you looking for useful tips on how to avoid the worst travel experiences? Well, look no further. We’ve gathered real-life tales from seasoned travel bloggers and adventurers to bring you their most cringe-worthy moments while navigating this big, wild world.

It Can Happen to Anyone: 33 Travel Bloggers Share Their Nightmare Travel Stories

15 Things Non-Americans Say They’ll Never Forget About Their Trip to the USA

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Recently, in an online travel forum, a traveler asked non-Americans what surprised them most when visiting America. Here are things we do differently in the U.S. from other countries worldwide.

15 Things Non-Americans Say They’ll Never Forget About Their Trip to the USA

Where indicated, images courtesy of Depositphotos.com.

This article was produced and syndicated by The Happiness Function.

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Sam Mire

Sam Mire is a freelance writer who has manned a variety of beats over nearly a decade in the literary biz. He has spent weeks in the Alaskan wildlands, immersed himself in the world of Florida's homeless population, covered live sporting events, and served as a linchpin for media outlets in the legal, tech, and entertainment spaces. Sam has been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur, AP News, Fox News, and, most notably, Wealth of Geeks. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, woodwork, petting his dog, and reveling in good company.

1 Comment

  1. William B Randall on May 16, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    It’s a good thing to live in the United States.

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