Special Report

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Angelo Young

New Orleans, USA
Source: pedrosz / Flickr

50. New Orleans, USA
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 37
> Homicides in 2018: 145
> Population: 393,292

The Big Easy’s homicide rate has declined in 2018, the second consecutive year of decline and nearly knocking the city off the list of the world’s 50 most dangerous for the first time since records for this annual report started in 2013. That year, New Orleans was the country’s second most dangerous city after Detroit. The city is now the fifth most dangerous in the United States, a list that includes San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.

Chihuahua, Mexico
Source: Esdelval / Getty Images

49. Chihuahua, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 38
> Homicides in 2018: 352
> Population: 938,713

The capital of the northern Mexican state, situated about 150 miles from the Mexico-U.S. border, barely eked into the list of the world’s most dangerous cities for 2018. The city’s homicide rate fell in 2018 from 49.5 per 100,000 residents in 2017, mostly the result of gang violence. The 2018 rate is also measurably lower than in was in 2013 – the first year the annual ranking was published. That year Chihuahua’s homicide rate topped 50 per 100,000, and the city was Mexico’s fourth most dangerous city.

Teresina, Brazil
Source: Roman_Rahm / Getty Images

48. Teresina, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 38
> Homicides in 2018: 324
> Population: 861,442

After three consecutive years of decline, the murder rate in this industrial city in Brazil’s northeastern region, one of the country’s poorest, ticked up slightly from 37 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. The capital city of Piauí, a Brazilian state known for its scenic national parks, first appeared on this annual list in 2014 as Brazil’s 20th most dangerous city at the time.

Durban, South Africa
Source: jferrer / Flickr

47. Durban, South Africa
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 39
> Homicides in 2018: 1,562
> Population: 4,055,969

This eastern coastal South African city has a similar homicide rate to Nelson Mandela Bay about 560 miles down the coast. The homicide rate in Durban in 2018 ticked up, but the city’s ranking rose to 47 from 44 in 2017, and it traded places with Nelson Mandela Bay to become the country’s third most dangerous, as it was in 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Detroit, USA
Source: Steven_Kriemadis / Getty Images

46. Detroit, USA
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 39
> Homicides in 2018: 261
> Population: 673,104

Detroit routinely ranks among the four most dangerous U.S. cities, along with New Orleans, Baltimore, and St. Louis. (San Juan, the capital of the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, joined this list in 2017.) The city’s homicide rate was almost unchanged in 2018, at 39 per 100,000 residents, compared to the year before, but because of improvements in New Orleans, Detroit’s U.S. ranking fell to fourth from fifth place in 2017.