Special Report

Most Dangerous Cities in the World

Salvador, Brazil
Source: R.M. Nunes / Getty Images

29. Salvador, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 47
> Homicides in 2018: 1,849
> Population: 3,914,996

The homicide rate in this northeastern Brazilian city in the state of Bahia declined slightly in 2018 from 51.6 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. This is the third consecutive annual decline in the murder rate in Salvador after the rate nearly touched 70 per 100,000 in 2015, which put the city as the 14th most dangerous at the time. The former Portuguese colonial capital is situated at the entrance to the placid Bay of All Saints, Salvador and is a popular tourist destination.

Maturín, Venezuela
Source: Rossimar Carpintero / Wikimedia Commons

28. Maturín, Venezuela
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 47
> Homicides in 2018: 257
> Population: 544,069

Located in an oil-rich region in eastern Venezuela, Maturín emerged for the first time on this annual ranking in 2015, with a murder rate strong enough for the city to debut as the world’s fifth and the country’s second most dangerous city that year. Since then, the homicide rate has declined considerably, and Maturín now ranks as the country’s fifth most dangerous and 28th in the global ranking.

Palmira, Colombia
Source: 13395091@N07 / Flickr

27. Palmira, Colombia
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 48
> Homicides in 2018: 149
> Population: 310,608

Colombia, recently a country ravaged by civil war and terrorist violence from drug cartels, may not have solved its cocaine-trafficking problem, but it has made significant progress in reeling back murders. Palmira is one of two Colombian cities still listed as one of the 50 most dangerous on this annual survey. But Palmira’s murder rate has fallen from nearly 71 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2015 to 48 per 100,000 in 2018. Perhaps more significant: Colombia now has only two cities on this list compared to three in 2017 and six in 2013.

Coatzacoalcos, Mexico
Source: Manuel Gil Villanuev… / Wikimedia Commons

26. Coatzacoalcos, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 48
> Homicides in 2018: 162
> Population: 335,077

Another Mexican city to debut on this annual ranking amid a national rise in violent criminal activity is the major eastern port city of Coatzacoalcos, in the center of the country’s petrochemical sector. Like elsewhere, organized criminal gangs have increased their activities, including kidnapping and drug gang-related killings.

Aracaju, Brazil
Source: Global_Pics / Getty Images

25. Aracaju, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 49
> Homicides in 2018: 463
> Population: 949,342

A popular coastal weekend getaway for Brazilians in the region, the capital of Sergipe, the country’s smallest state, experienced a drop in its homicide rate in 2018 from 58.9 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. Thanks to improvements elsewhere, however, Aracaju’s rank among Brazil’s most dangerous cities rose to fifth highest from sixth the previous year. In 2016, the murder rate in the city exploded to nearly 63 per 100,000 from nearly 38 per 100,000 in 2015, pushing it down from the 15th most dangerous Brazilian city to third.

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