5. Tegucigalpa, Honduras
77.65 homicides per 100,000. Tegucigalpa is the largest city and capital of Honduras with a population of more than 1.1 million inhabitants. What makes the place so dangerous is the threat of drug cartels and multiple crimes that take place on a daily basis. In the Central District in the capital alone, there were around 66 murders taking place each month in 2009 which averages at 2 murders per day. Of those murders, a shocking 86% were killed as a result of firearms and 39% of the deaths were closely related with organised crime. Walking on the streets of the Tegucigalpa at night time can be dangerous as it is likely that no-one will intervene in the event of a crime. It is common for tourists to get robbed at night as thieves will usually linger around near tourist hotels. Due to the sheer number of homicides committed, the city’s mayor introduced a free funeral service because of the growing number of bodies being disposed of in plastic rubbish bags.
4. João Pessoa, Brazil
79.41 homicides per 100,000. Located in north-east Brazil, the city of João Pessoa has a population of over 740,000 and is recognised as being the second greenest in the world. However, whilst the beautiful tropical beaches and lush greenery may be attracting to some, the city does have an increasing crime rate. Many buses are robbed every month and so tourists are advised to avoid using the bus as a means of transport. Furthermore, mugging is prevalent in the city and so it is also advised not to walk around carrying lots of money in your pocket. The current president of Brazil to this day, Dilma Rouseff, stated that 3 in every 1000 Brazilian teenagers are murdered before turning the age of 19.
3. Acapulco, Mexico
104.16 homicides per 100,000. A once luxurious destination for many VIPs and celebrities and home to around 685,000 people, a rise in violence between drug lords and criminals has continued to plague the city making it the most dangerous city in Mexico. Bodies are usually sprawled across the streets and often of a gruesome nature involving beheadings which has now become a common fixture in the city. For example, in 2011 police discovered the bodies of 28 murdered victims and of the 28, 15 of them were decapitated. It does not help the fact that the local police are corrupt and have been known to extort money from people instead of reinforcing the law. Aside from rival drug gangs battling it out, murders, kidnappings and robberies are also common in the city.
2. Caracas, Venezuela
115.98 homicides per 100,000. There are over 3 million inhabitants occupying Caracas The largest city and capital of Venezuela, sees crimes on a daily basis ranging from murders to robberies with crimes being more concentrated in poorly developed slum areas that cover the hills of Caracas. In 2013 alone the Venezuelan Observatory on Violence estimated that around 24,000 people were murdered in total, which comes as no surprise due to frequent street violence and gang hostilities. Sadly, 95% of cases involving murder and other related crimes often go unsolved. High levels of corruption, a lack of investment in police and weak measures of gun control all have contributed to a proliferation in arms and a lack of coherent security policy.
1. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
171.20 homicides per 100,000. With a population of over 1 million people, San Pedro Sula is currently the most violent city in the world in terms of having the highest murder rate with an average of more than 3 homicides a day. Various sources have labelled San Pedro Sula as the “murder capital of the world”. Arms and drug trafficking are an increasing problem and illegal firearms flood the whole city with just under 70% of all firearms owned being illegal. In fact, 83% of all homicides in the city are as a result of firearms. Much of the surge in homicide rates have been attributed to the city’s location which sits on key international drug trafficking routes. The entire city is effectively controlled by drug cartels making law enforcement virtually useless.