50 most dangerous cities in the world 2021 (list and photos)

50 most dangerous cities in the world 2021 (list and photos)

Acts of criminal violence are the deadliest potential threats that make a city dangerous. Even though crime shows might be thrilling on large screens, it is not something to get thrilled about in real life, so you ought to be wary of the most dangerous cities in the world as you make your travel or relocation plans.

most dangerous cities in the world

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The potential dangers of these cities may vary from one location to another. They mostly range from theft cases, vandalization of property, to murder in the worst-case scenarios. Other towns might experience crime infliction, which is a result of their community sections.

Most dangerous cities in the world in 2021

Regardless of the place you would want to live or travel to; there will always be some danger around. However, some areas are more dangerous than others. Here is a list of the top 50 most dangerous cities in the world in 2021.

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1. Tijuana, Mexico

Most dangerous cities in the world

A street scene in Tijuana, Mexico. Photos: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Tijuana is the most dangerous city in the world. It has a population of about 2 million people and has the highest number of homicides. Even with these high murder rates, the city does not show any signs of a decrease in killings.

2. Acapulco, Mexico

Highest murder rate in the world

Acapilco, Mexico. Photo: David Butow
Source: Getty Images

Acapulco has a higher body count over the years compared with other cities in Mexico. For the last six years, the rate of homicide in Acapulco ranged between 104 and 113 murders in every 100,000 people.

3. Caracas, Venezuela

Murder capital of the world

A high angle view of Caracas at night, Venezuela, circa 1960. Photo: Harvey Meston
Source: Getty Images

Which country has the highest crime rate? Venezuela takes the lead.

4. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico

Murder rate by country

Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Photo: Mario Tama
Source: Getty Images

In recent years, Ciudad Victoria has been wrecked by turf wars. The city has experienced offshoot gangs splitting off from the Gulf and Zeta Cartels during heightened security operations. In the earlier years, the city had a murder rate of 30 per 100,000, but with the war, it escalated to 85 murders in every 100,000 residents.

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5. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Country with highest murder rate in the world

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: Paul Harris
Source: Getty Images

Ciudad Juarez has experienced a sharp rise in the murder rate since 2018. The murder rate increased from 56.2 to 86 murders per 100,000 people.

6. Irapuato, Mexico

Murder rate by country

Irapuato, Mexico. Photo: Susana Gonzalez
Source: Getty Images

Irapuato is famous for its scenic gardens, which are a significant tourist attraction. It debuted on this list at number six with a high murder rate of 81 per 100,000 residents. Some of the criminal activities in the city include extortions and kidnappings.

7. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela

Most dangerous cities in the world

Ciudad Guayana. Photo: Meridith Kohut
Source: Getty Images

Ciudad Guayana is one of the most violent cities in the world. It has experienced a drop in the homicide rate from 80.3 to 78 murders per 100,000 residents in recent years. Amid the high crime rate, the city also suffers from food scarcities.

8. Natal, Brazil

Murder rate by country

Natal, Brazil. Photo: Buda Mendes
Source: Getty Images

Natal is the largest city in Rio Grande do Norte. Over the last few years, the crime rates have declined from 103 murders to 75 per 100,000 residents. Natal has been the country's murder capital for three consecutive years.

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9. Fortaleza, Brazil

Highest murder rate in the world

Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Marcos Rocha
Source: Getty Images

Fortaleza city has a population of close to 4 million. The murder rate has dropped from 83.5 to 69 per 100,000 residents. Previously, 83.5 murders were the highest rate for the city in more than five years consecutively.

10. Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela

Most dangerous cities in the world

General view of Ciudad Bolivar slum. Photo: John Vizcaino
Source: Getty Images

For a very long time now, Venezuela has been the leading nation in the murder rate by country. Ciudad Bolivar has a population of around 380,000 and a murder rate of 69 per 100,000 residents. The city experienced some flooding, creating a rise in the opportunities for criminal activities.

11. Cape Town, South Africa

Most violent cities in the world

Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: David Rogers
Source: Getty Images

The city has a population of close to 4.5 million. South Africa has consistently been a country with the highest crime rate over the years. In 2018, the murder rate increased from 65.5 to 66 murders per 100,000 residents.

12. Belém, Brazil

Murder rate by country

Belem, Brazil. Photo: Felipe Oliveira
Source: Getty Images

Belem city has a population of close to 2.5 million. In the last few years, there was a sharper increase in the murder rate from 65 to 67.4 murders per 100,000 people.

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13. Cancún, Mexico

Murder capital of the world

Cancun, Mexico. Photo: Spencer Platt
Source: Getty Images

Cancun is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico. In 2018, the city experienced a nationwide ground-breaking homicide rate, which was more than double the local rate. The high rate was attributed to both drug and non-drug-related criminal gang violence.

14. Feira de Santana, Brazil

Highest murder rate in the world

Feira de Santana, Brazil. Photo: Andre Coelho
Source: Getty Images

The city is a major commercial centre for the country. As a result, it is an ideal conduit for regional drug trafficking, hence its increasing crime rates. Murders there increased from 58.8 in 2007 to 63 murder per 100,000 residents in 2018.

15. St. Louis, USA

Murder capital of the world

St. Louis, USA. Photo: Joe Sohm
Source: Getty Images

St Louis is another murder capital in the world. The rate of homicide in the city has declined from nearly 66 per 100,000 in 2017 to 61 murders per 100,000 residents.

16. Culiacan, Mexico

Highest murder rate in the world

Culiacan, Mexico. Photo: David McNew
Source: Getty Images

Culiacan has always been known to have a long history of drug cartel activities. It also struggles in containing drug-gang gun violence. The city experienced a decline in the murder rate from 70.1 in 2017 to 61 murders per 100,000 residents in 2018. It has maintained a low rate since then.

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17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Most dangerous cities in the world

Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Photo: John Moore
Source: Getty Images

Barquisimeto's murder rate rose from 8.2 per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 57 per 100,000 residents in 2018. Since 2014, the murder rate had been hovering between 46 and 60 per 100,000 residents. It has a total population of slightly over 1.2 million.

18. Uruapan, Mexico

50 most dangerous cities in the world 2020

Uruapan, Mexico. Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak
Source: Getty Images

Since 2013, there has been an increase in violent crime in Uruapan Mexico. They primarily entail gun-related homicides. Recently, the governor of Michoacán state promised to increase police presence to heighten security in the city.

19. Kingston, Jamaica

Most dangerous cities in the world

An aerial view of the Kingston Jamaica city. Photo: Valery Sharifulin
Source: Getty Images

Kingston has the highest crime rate in the world due to numerous organized crimes. The murder rates have been increasing steadily over the years.

20. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico

Highest crime rate in the world

Ciudad Obregón, Mexico. Photo: Manuel Velasquez
Source: Getty Images

Ciudad appeared on the list for the first time in 2014 with a murder rate of 37.7 criminals per 100,000 residents. Later, the city was faced with local rival drug-gang violence, which increased the murder rate to 52 murders per 100,000 residents.

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21. Maceió, Brazil

Most dangerous city in the world

Maceió, Brazil. Photo: Alex Livesey
Source: Getty Images

Maceió city is located between the coastal towns of Recife and Aracaju, each on this list of the world's most dangerous cities. Recently, the murder rate fell from 64 to 51 murders per 100,000 residents.

22. Vitória da Conquista, Brazil

Most dangerous cities in the world

Vitória da Conquista, Brazil. Photo: Andre Coelho
Source: Getty Images

The city is the inland commercial centre of Bahia State. The town has experienced beefed security, hence the decrease in the murder rate from 70.3 murders to 51 murders per 100,000 residents.

23. Baltimore, USA

Murder capital of the world

Vitória da Conquista, Brazil. Photo: Hart Preston
Source: Getty Images

Baltimore is the second most dangerous city in the United States. There was a slight drop in the murder in the years following 2018's 51 murders per 100,000 residents.

24. San Salvador, El Salvador

Highest murder rate in the world

San Salvador, El Salvador. Photo: Alex Peña
Source: Getty Images

El Salvador is one of the three Northern Triangle countries in Central America that have been the source of migrants fleeing high violent crime rates. Recently, the rate has dropped from 109 to 50 murders per 100,000 individuals.

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25. Aracaju, Brazil

Most dangerous city in the world

Aracaju, Brazil. Photo: Alex Grimm
Source: Getty Images

This is the most popular coastal weekend getaway in Brazil. It is also the smallest state in the country. One of the highest murder rates was experienced in 2016 at 63 murders per 100,000 residents, but it has reduced to 49 murders per 100,000 residents.

26. Coatzacoalcos, Mexico

Murder capital of the world

Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Photo: Spencer Platt
Source: Getty Images

The city has experienced a national rise in violent criminal activities in recent years. Organized criminal gangs have increased their activities, including kidnapping and drug gang-related killings; hence the high murder rates.

27. Palmira, Colombia

Highest murder rate in the world

Palmira, Colombia Photo: Alberto Valdes-Pool
Source: Getty Images

Recently, the city has been ravaged by unending terrorist violence and civil wars from drug cartels. Despite the inability to contain cocaine trafficking activities, it has experienced a significant drop in the rate of murders taking place.

28. Maturín, Venezuela

Most violent cities in the world

Maturin, Venezuela. Photo: John Moore
Source: Getty Images

The city is located in the oil-rich eastern Venezuela region. It first appeared on the list of the most dangerous cities in the world in 2015. The city's population is slightly over half a million.

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29. Salvador, Brazil

Most dangerous cities in the world

A general view of the Elevador Lacerda in Salvador, Brazil. Photo: Bruna Prado
Source: Getty Images

Salvador has a population of close to 4 million. The former Portuguese colonial capital is situated at the tranquil Bay of All Saints, Salvador and is a popular tourist destination. Over the last three consecutive years, the city has experienced a significant decline in the murder rate.

30. Macapa, Brazil

Most violent cities in the world

Macapa, Brazil. Photo: Buda Mendes
Source: Getty Images

Macapa is a northern mining and lumber city situated on the Amazon River delta. The leading causes of violence in the town are interpersonal violence, drug-gang activities, and conflicts between the police and local population.

31. Cali, Colombia

Highest murder rate in the world

Cali, Colombia. Photo: Wagner Meier
Source: Getty Images

Cali was once the greatest target of the monstrous Cali Cartel. However, the city has been experiencing significant murder rate drops over the years. Cali has been Colombia's murder capital until 2018.

32. Celaya, Mexico

Murder capital of the world

Celaya, Mexico. Photo: Hector Vivas
Source: Getty Images

Celaya has taken a position on the most dangerous cities globally due to the recent increase in Guanajuato state's violent criminal gang activity. This has made the city a hot zone for crime rate at 47 murders per 100,000 residents in a population of slightly over half a million.

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33. San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Murder rate by country

San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Photo: John Moore
Source: Getty Images

In 2013, the tiny central American city was ranked as the murder capital of the world. The homicide rate was a staggering 187 murders per 100,000 residents. In the following years, the rate remained above 100 until 2017. It has dropped by more than half, to 47 per 100,000 since 2018.

34. Ensenada, Mexico

Most dangerous cities in the world

Ensenada, Mexico. Photo: Ralph Crane
Source: Getty Images

Over the years, Ensenada city has traditionally avoided cartel-related violence, inflicting other parts of western Mexico. Unluckily, the violence seems to be shifting its direction, hence ranking as one of the world's most dangerous cities.

35. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil

Murder capital of the world

Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil. Photo: Alexandre Schneider
Source: Getty Images

Brazil has had an inordinate share of violent crime over the years. Campos dos Goytacazes is one of the most affected cities in the country. Its current murder rate is 46 per 100,000 residents, which is a decline from 56.5 per 100,000 in 2016.

36. Tepic, Mexico

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Most dangerous cities in the world

An aerial view of Mexico City. Photo: Marcelo A Salinas
Source: Getty Images

Over the past few years, Tepic has experienced a sharp increase in gun-related homicides. Besides, a regional rise in clashes between rival drug gangs has vastly increased homicide rates in the city.

37. Manaus, Brazil

Most violent cities in the world

Manaus, Brazil. Photo: Horstmüller
Source: Getty Images

Manaus city is the capital of the Amazonas, Brazil's largest state by landmass. In 2018, the homicide rate declined significantly after a three-year truce was signed between the two biggest crime syndicates: Red Command and Family of the North.

38. Recife, Brazil

Highest crime rate in the world

Recife, Brazil. Photo: Mario Tama
Source: Getty Images

Recife is famous for its dynamic cultural and entertainment scenes. Even with the reduced homicide rate, the city still ranks at position eight in the country.

39. Distrito Central, Honduras

Highest crime rate in the world

Distrito Central, Honduras. Photo: Katharine Lotze
Source: Getty Images

The city is made of the capital Tegucigalpa and its sister city Comayagüela. The recent virulent urban gang violence led to a mass exodus of migrants from the region to the United States hoping to seek refuge.

40. San Juan, USA

Most violent cities in the world

San Juan, USA.Photo: Joe Raedle
Source: Getty Images

The city joined the list of the most dangerous cities globally after the 2017 Hurricane Maria as the murder rate spiked after the storm. In addition to the increased crime and homicide rates, the city has also been struggling with economic crises.

41. Valencia, Venezuela

Murder capital of the world

Valencia, Venezuela. Photo: Cristina Arias
Source: Getty Images

Valencia has been one of the safest cities globally until the worsening of both the political and economic situations in the country. Its current murder rate stands at 42 murders per 100,000 residents.

42. Reynosa, Mexico

Murder rate by country

Reynosa, Mexico. Photo: Kevin Sieff
Source: Getty Images

In Reynosa city, the Mexican anti-cartel was successful in dismantling the Gulf and Zetas cartel. Even though this was a significant step in curbing drug trafficking, a turf war emerged between various emerging splinter groups that ravaged the state.

43. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Most dangerous city in the world

Guatemala City, Guatemala. Photo: De Agostini
Source: Getty Images

Since 2013, the city experienced lower homicide rates until it hit a high 53.5 per 100,000 residents in 2017. This rate has been declining significantly over the recent years to 44 per 100,000 individuals.

44. João Pessoa, Brazil

Murder capital of the world

João Pessoa, Brazil. Photo: J-P. Scherrer
Source: Getty Images

The city has been experiencing reduced murder rates since 2014. The most significant drop occurred between 2017 and 2018 from 49.2 to 47.6 per 100,000 residents. There has been a successful effort to curb violence since it relies on tourism for its economic growth.

45. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa

Most violent cities in the world

Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Photo: Lefty Shivambu
Source: Getty Images

At the moment, the city typically trades positions as the country's second or third most dangerous city every year. It has a population of 1.2 million with its homicide rate being 39 per 100,000 residents.

46. Detroit, USA

Most dangerous cities in the world

General view of the downtown Detroit skyline. Photo: Joe Robbins
Source: Getty Images

Detroit city has had an unchanged homicide rate until 2018, where it lowered to 39 murders per 100,000 residents. The improvements in other dangerous cities in the United States have resulted in this ranking.

47. Durban, South Africa

Highest crime rate in the world

Durban, South Africa. Photo: Marck Botha
Source: Getty Images

Durban city is one of the most dangerous cities in South Africa. As of 2018, the homicide rate was 39 murders per 100,000 residents.

48. Teresina, Brazil

Most dangerous city in the world

Teresina, Piaui, Brazil. Photo: Celso Bressan
Source: Getty Images

Teresina is popularly known for its scenic national parks despite being one of the poorest in the country. At the moment, the homicide rate stands at 30 murders per 100,000 residents.

49. Chihuahua, Mexico

Country with highest crime rate

Chihuahua, Mexico. Photo: Spencer Platt
Source: Getty Images

Chihuahua City has been ranked as one of the most dangerous cities globally due to the high rates of gang violence. The rate stands at 38 murders per 100,000.

50. New Orleans, USA

Murder capital of the world

New Orleans, USA. Photo: Mario Tama
Source: Getty Images

New Orleans is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. The Big Easy homicide was the city's leading cause of death until 2018.

The most dangerous cities in the world are characterized by high drug-gang violence, theft, and murder. Even though locals are the most likely targets of these criminal incidences, visitors are no exception either.

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