Tijuana has long been associated with quick jaunts by Americans seeking a taste of Mexican culture, but it has also been the target of cultural bashing. The city recently lived up to one border-city stereotype: a disturbingly high homicide rate that crowned it as the murder capital of the world.
This city of 1.9 million people 20 miles south of downtown San Diego had 2,640 murders in 2018, equal to a rate of 138 per 100,000 residents in 2018, the most of any city worldwide. Tijuana wrested the title away from 2017’s murder capital, another Mexican tourist city, Los Cabos.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the world’s 50 most dangerous cities — the ones with the highest murder rates — as reported by El Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (The Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice), a Mexico City-based advocacy group. The group considers cities outside of war zones with populations greater than 300,000 that provide relatively reliable murder statistics for its report. The group began tracking murder statistics and publish annual reports with 2013 data. Murder tends to be indicative of overall violent crime levels.
Across the board, the main culprits of the high murder rates were street-level gangs and splinter groups of major drug cartels engaged in urban turf battles, kidnappings, armed robberies, and revenge killings. In some of the countries on this list and their neighbors, problems of violence are so severe that the U.S. State Department has issued advisories urging Americans to consider avoiding traveling there. Here is a list of 14 countries the U.S. government doesn’t want you to visit.
It’s important to know that high homicide rates do not mean foreign visitors are at imminent risk when they travel to these cities. Locals are by far the most likely targets of violence. For example, St. Louis had a higher murder rate in 2018 than nine of the Mexican cities on this list, but visitors to Missouri’s largest city aren’t typically exposed to the violence. St. Louis isn’t the only American City to make this list of the most dangerous cities in the world — in fact, three of the most violent American cities are on this list. These are the 25 most dangerous cities in America.