The Most Dangerous Cities in the World

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25. Salvador, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000: 51.6
> 2017 homicides: 2,071
> Population: 4,015,205

Salvador has always been a historically, economically, and culturally important port city situated on the country’s northeastern coast. But like other Brazilian cities, the economic disparity between the small number of wealthy elites and the larger number of poor residents has led to high rates of violent crime and drug gang-related activity. Unlike Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Salvador has not benefited from some of the policing strategies that have pacified the homicide rates in the country’s two most well-known cities (but also have raised concerns of excessive force by police officers). While Salvador still ranks in the top 25 dangerous cities, the security situation has improved since 2015, when Salvador ranked 14th with 54.3 homicides per 100,000 residents.

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24. Guatemala, Guatemala
> Homicides per 100,000: 53.5
> 2017 homicides: 1,705
> Population: 3,187,293

The Northern Triangle, as U.S. intelligence officials call it, consists of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. All three countries have been ravaged for years by gang activity and drug trafficking. Many in these countries come to the United States as undocumented immigrants or asylum seekers. The homicide rate in Guatemala City, one of the world’s most dangerous cities for years, has been hovering at about the same rate since 2014, after a bloody spike in murders pushed the city to No. 8 on the list in 2013.

23. Maturín, Venezuela
> Homicides per 100,000: 54.4
> 2017 homicides: 327
> Population: 600,722

Maturín, situated in an oil-rich region in eastern Venezuela, has been hit hard by the country’s political and economic crises, including President Nicolás Maduro’s power grab and ensuing mass protests and counter-protests, hyperinflation, food shortages, crippling public debt, declining oil output and rampant crime. But like other major cities on this list, the homicide rate declined last year due a crackdown by state authorities on violent crime. Four out of five of the Venezuelan cities on this list have ranked in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world at least once since 2013.

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22. Recife, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000: 55.0
> 2017 homicides: 2,180
> Population: 3,965,699

Having one of the highest per-capita GDPs in Brazil and a thriving technology hub has not done much to reduce this eastern Brazilian port city’s homicide rate. After a period of improvement from 2007 to 2014 under a state crime-fighting program, murders have gradually ticked upward since 2015, when the homicide rate was 38.1 out of 100,000 residents. Violent crime was likely exacerbated by the country’s crippling economic and political crises, pushing Recife’s rank further up the list.

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21. Baltimore, United States
> Homicides per 100,000: 55.5
> 2017 homicides: 341
> Population: 614,664

The number of murders in Baltimore increased to a record 343 in 2017 after a slight decline in 2016. But when adjusting for the city’s declining population, the murder rate hit a record high of 55.5 murders per 100,000 residents. Reasons and explanations for the city’s persistent murder problem include the rise in illegal guns, more street-level opioid dealing, and few job opportunities for the city’s sizeable low-income population. Some have accused local police of neglecting several high-crime areas.

The number of murders in Baltimore increased to a record 343 in 2017 after a slight decline in 2016. But when adjusting for the city’s declining population, the murder rate hit a record high of 55.5 murders per 100,000 residents.