Most Dangerous Cities 2017

More people than ever are migrating to the worlds largest cities for work and play.

However, as the population of urban areas increase it often brings with it an increase inĀ violent crime, exacerbated by high population density and limited law enforcement.

Where are the worlds most dangerous cities?


I used a list of the 50 most dangerous cities (by murder rate)Ā curated on Wikipedia. The data reportedĀ is from 2016. Figures include both homicide rate and population by city.

Top 10 most dangerous cities by murder rate

Top 10 most dangerous cities by murder rate (2016)

Download chart.

Homicide danger rank Municipality, Country Continent Homicides 2016 Homicides per 1,000 % Population Killed year
1 Caracas, Venezuela South America 4,308 1.3035 0.13%
2 Acapulco, Mexico North America 918 1.1324 0.11%
3 San Pedro Sula, Honduras North America 845 1.1209 0.11%
4 Distrito Central, Honduras North America 1,027 0.8509 0.09%
5 Ciudad Victoria, Mexico North America 293 0.8467 0.08%
6 MaturĆ­n, Venezuela South America 499 0.8421 0.08%
7 San Salvador, El Salvador North America 1,483 0.8339 0.08%
8 Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela South America 727 0.8284 0.08%
9 Valencia, Venezuela South America 1,124 0.7202 0.07%
10 Natal, Brazil South America 1,097 0.6956 0.07%

Full list.

Caracas, Venezuela tops the list of the most dangerous cities with aboutĀ 1.3 people murdered per 1,000 people (almost 12 homicides per day). Looking at it another way, 0.13% of the population ofĀ Caracas is murdered every year.

Acapulco, Mexico (1.13 p/1,000) andĀ San Pedro Sula, Honduras (1.2 p/1,000) are 2nd and 3rd respectively for number of homicides. The top three cities all have a probability of being murdered greater than 1 in 1000!


Download chart.

To put this into perspective, Durban, South Africa, which ranksĀ number 50th for homicides has a murder rate ofĀ 0.34 people murdered perĀ 1,000 people (equivalent to 34.4 people per 100,000). Whilst still worryingly high, especially for tourists, it is nowhere near the murder rate of the top 3!

The eagle-eyed readers might have also noticed the top 10 most dangerous cities are all foundĀ in either North or South America.Ā No Asian, Oceanic or European cities make the list.

Most dangerous countries


Download chart.

Country Count of cities in top 50 Total homicides 2016
Brazil 19 16123
Venezuela 7 8106
South Africa 3 4190
Mexico 8 3905
Colombia 4 1950
Honduras 2 1872
Guatemala 1 1596
El Salvador 1 1483
United States 4 984
Jamaica 1 545

Full list.

Brazilian cities are deadly! 19 of the top 50 cities by homicide rate are all found in Brazil and account for a total of 16,123 murders (that’s just over 44 per day). Another surprise, for me anyway, was that the United States comes in 4th on the list.

Most dangerous continents


Download chart.

Continent Count of cities in top 50 2016 Total homicides 2016
South America 30 26179
North America 17 10385
Africa 3 4190

Full table.

South American cities make up 30 cities of the top 50. Again, it is important to stress that 19 of these are Brazilian. Brazil would top this list if it was considered on its own. In South America there was 26,179 homicides from just 30 cities in 2016!


I’d love to do a more positive post on the safest cities with fewest homicides (watch your inboxes, subscribers). This analysis would be very interestingĀ to compare to the top 50 most dangerous cities to get an idea of the difference between best and worst cities.

Context is essential to understanding homicide rates. If it was possible to aggregateĀ the data associated with each one of these deaths (from police reports, for example) we could examine the causes of high murder rates.


Caracas, Venezuela tops the list of the most dangerous cities with aboutĀ 1.3 people murdered per 1,000 people in 2016. Looking at it another way, 0.13% of the population ofĀ Caracas wasĀ murdered in 2016.

Get the data

  1. Data sources + data used in this post.
Facebook Comments

Travel Geek?

Join over 10,000 travel geeks and get one email on the first Monday of each month containing travel statistics that will blow your mind.

See some of what you're missing...