Special Report

The Most Dangerous Cities in the World

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40. Macapá, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000: 40.2
> 2017 homicides: 191
> Population: 474,706

This mining-and-lumber city situated on the Amazon River delta in northern Brazil is the region’s economic powerhouse. In addition to street-level crime plaguing much of the country, Macapá (as well as nearby Belém) faces a problem of violent, heavily armed river pirates, who raid vessels of gold, iron, lumber, and other valuable goods.

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39. Porto Alegre, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000: 41.0
> 2017 homicides: 1,748
> Population: 4,268,083

Following a relatively low rate of homicides in 2016, this port city in southern Brazil returned to the list last year. With its diverse nightlife, Porto Alegre attracts a significant amount of drug-related criminal activity and the ensuing gang-related fighting over turf. The city’s absence from the list in 2016 seems to be a statistical blip. In the previous two years Porto Alegre ranked No. 43 in 2015 and No. 37 in 2014.

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38. Reynosa, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000: 42.0
> 2017 homicides: 294
> Population: 701,525

This northeastern Mexican border city resides in Tamaulipas state, which is home to the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s oldest criminal organizations. Now it seems the violence is hitting this city just across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas. This is the first time Reynosa has appeared on the list since Seguridad, Justicia y Paz began tracking annual homicide rates in 2013. Mexican law enforcement began noticing an uptick in violence in Reynosa in the spring of last year, after the April 22 killing of Gulf Cartel faction leader Juan Manuel Loisa Salinas, aka Comandante Toro, by local police. Loisa Salinas’s death seems to have sparked a wave of killings in the city amid shootouts between different factions of the Gulf Cartel and with police.

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37. Palmira, Colombia
> Homicides per 100,000: 46.7
> 2017 homicides: 144
> Population: 308,669

This western Colombian city dropped in ranking — from 31st last year. The decline in murder rate follows a peace deal between the government and FARC rebels that helped calm decades of civil conflict. Heightened security measures and community interventions in one of the country’s most troubled regions helped reduce the homicide rate in 2016. That progress continued and gained traction after the November 2016 peace deal.

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36. Tepic, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000: 47.1
> 2017 homicides: 237
> Population: 503,330

Like the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Tepic appeared on the list of the 50 most dangerous cities for the first time last year since Seguridad, Justicia y Paz began tracking homicide rates for its annual report in 2013. Late last year, the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara issued a travel warning after noticing an increase in violence and cartel activity in western Nayarit state, particularly around the cities of San Blas and Tepic. Last year, Nayarit’s state prosecutor falsely claimed to have made great strides against violent crime. The prosecutor, Edgar Veytia, was charged and indicted on alleged drug trafficking conspiracy charges and extradited to the United States for trial.