Most Dangerous Cities in the World

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Barquisimeto, Venezuela
Source: HectorSilvas, WikiMedia

17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 57
> Homicides in 2018: 683
> Population: 1,205,142

Venezuela’s fourth most populous city became its fourth most dangerous in 2018. The city’s murder rate rose from 8.2 per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 57 per 100,000 residents in 2018. The murder rate has hovered between 46 and 60 per 100,000 residents since 2014.

Culiacán, Mexico
Source: alxpina / Getty Images

16. Culiacán, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 61
> Homicides in 2018: 585
> Population: 966,609

The capital of northwestern Sinaloa state has a long history as a center of drug cartel activity, and though it ranks high among Mexico’s most dangerous cities, it’s fallen from second place in 2014 to seventh in 2018. The homicide rate declined in 2018 from 70.1 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. Like other cities in Mexico’s northwest and border regions, Culiacán struggles to contain drug-gang gun violence with only a recent modest decline in killings.

St. Louis, USA
Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

15. St. Louis, USA
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 61
> Homicides in 2018: 187
> Population: 308,626

Chicago is often derided for its violent crime, but St. Louis, Missouri, has been the murder capital of the United States since 2014, while Chicago has never made this list. The homicide rate in St. Louis declined in 2018 to 61 murders per 100,000 residents from nearly 66 per 100,000 in 2017. The last time the rate was below 50 was in 2013 (the first year of this annual report), when the murder rate was 34 per 100,000 and St. Louis as the fourth most dangerous U.S. city.

Feira de Santana, Brazil
Source: Andrevruas / Wikimedia Commons

14. Feira de Santana, Brazil
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 63
> Homicides in 2018: 386
> Population: 609,913

Located roughly 60 miles northwest of Salvador, Brazil (ranked 29th on this list), the homicide rate in this inland city increased in 2018 from 58.8 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. This is the fourth consecutive year that Feira de Santana appears on this annual report. The city is a major commercial center for Bahia state, making it an ideal conduit for regional drug trafficking.

Cancún, Mexico
Source: Jonathan Ross / Getty Images

13. Cancún, Mexico
> Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 64
> Homicides in 2018: 547
> Population: 848,465

The popular tourist destination of Cancún on the country’s Caribbean coast has emerged for the first time on this annual ranking. The local murder rate more than doubled in 2018 as violence escalated amid a nationwide record-breaking homicide rate in 2018 attributed to drug and non-drug related criminal gang violence. More Mexican cities have appeared on this list for the first time than the number cities that dropped from the list last year.