Special Report

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

San Juan, USA
Source: dennisvdw / Getty Images

40. San Juan, USA
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 42
> Homicides in 2018: 143
> Population: 337,288

Struggling with an economic crisis in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017 that ravaged the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, San Juan joined the list of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world in 2017. (There was a spike in murders in the island after the storm struck.) The homicide rate declined modestly in 2018, from 48.7 per 100,000 residents in 2017, but San Juan continues to be the U.S. city with the third highest homicide rate.

Distrito Central, Honduras
Source: Nan Palmero, Flickr

39. Distrito Central, Honduras
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 43
> Homicides in 2018: 538
> Population: 1,242,397

The homicide rate in the Distrito Central of Honduras, which includes the capital Tegucigalpa and its sister city Comayagüela, has dropped significantly in 2018 from a recent peak of slightly over 85 murders per 100,000 residents in 2016. Honduras has been the most violent-wreaked of the three Northern Triangle countries of Central America, which include neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador. Virulent urban gang violence has spurred an exodus of migrants in the region hoping to seek refuge in the United States.

Recife, Brazil
Source: diegograndi / Getty Images

38. Recife, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 44
> Homicides in 2018: 1,738
> Population: 3,975,411

Known for its dynamic cultural and entertainment scene, scenic historic center, and burgeoning regional technology hub, this capital city of Brazil’s eastern Pernambuco state reeled in its homicide rate in 2018 from 55 per 100,000 residents in 2017, dropping in the rank from No. 22 to 38. The murder rate fell last year to a three-year low, but it’s still the country’s eighth most dangerous city. Recife is 75 miles down the coast from João Pessoa, which ranks 44th on this list.

Manaus, Brazil
Source: filipefrazao / Getty Images

37. Manaus, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 44
> Homicides in 2018: 944
> Population: 2,145,444

The homicide rate in the most populous Amazonian city declined slightly in 2018 from 48.1 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017, but it’s still above the rate of 38.3 per 100,000 the year earlier. Two of the country’s biggest crime syndicates, Rio-based Comando Vermelho (Red Command) and Manus-based Família do Norte (Family of the North, or FDN), ended in 2018 a three-year truce in a battle over strategic drug trafficking routes in the region. Manaus is the capital of Amazonas, Brazil’s largest state by landmass.

Tepic, Mexico
Source: Lomcard / Wikimedia Commons

36. Tepic, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 45
> Homicides in 2018: 230
> Population: 512,387

Like Reynoa (No. 42 on this list), this capital of the western Nayarit state debuted on this annual list in 2017 with then a homicide rate of 47.1 murders per 100,000 residents, making it the 10th most dangerous Mexican city at the time. Though Tepic’s murder rate is relatively unchanged, the city has dropped to Mexico’s 13th most dangerous city because the murder rates in other Mexican cities increased. This provincial capital has experienced a sharp increase in gun-related homicides in the past couple of years, along with a regional rise in clashes between rival drug gangs.

Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil
Source: Vladhillrj / Wikimedia Commons

35. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 46
> Homicides in 2018: 233
> Population: 503,424

The homicide rate in this southeastern Brazilian municipality in the oil-rich southeast rebounded in 2018 after falling to 37.5 murders per 100,000 residents a year earlier, following a drastic jump to 56.5 per 100,000 in 2016. In 2018, the city, located about 170 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro, was Brazil’s 10th most violent — in a country with an inordinate share of violent crime.

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