This statistic ranks the 50 most dangerous cities of 2014, by murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants. San Pedro Sula’s murder rate was 171.2 per capita.
The world’s most dangerous cities
The Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice published a ranking of the world’s most dangerous cities in 2012, ranking cities according to the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants that year. For the second year in a row, San Pedro Sula in Honduras ranked first on the list, with a murder rate of 169.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. That year, there were 1,218 homicides in San Pedro Sula, while the city had a population of 719,447 people. San Pedro Sula was followed by Acapulco in Mexico and Caracas in Venezuela with murder rates of 142.88 and 118.99 respectively.
A clear trend is visible: most of the world’s most dangerous cities were located in Central or South America. New Orleans in the United States with a murder rate of 56.13 and 193 murders committed in 2012, ranked seventeenth and was the only city outside of Central or South America to make it into the top twenty. Detroit, with a murder rate of 54.63 and 346 murders that year, came in at twenty-first place.
Violence in Central and South America is caused in great part by drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and gang wars. Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are major shipping points for South American cocaine, which travels through Mexico to reach American consumers. Between 2007 and 2012, it is estimated that there were nearly 38,000 drug-related fatalities in Mexico alone. Though rates of gang and drug-related activities in Mexico reportedly fell from 2007 to 2012 due to a government squeeze, traffickers have gone elsewhere and violence surged in other regions.
Meanwhile, violence in Central and South America has influenced immigration from affected areas into the United States. Migration from Mexico to the U.S. is considered the largest migration flow in the world, with 11.6 million migrants in 2010.