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 2015, ranking cities according to the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants that year. Caracas in Venezuela ranked first on the list, with a murder rate of 130.35 per 100,000 inhabitants. That year, there were 4,308 homicides in Caracas, while the city had a population of 3.31 million people. Caracas was followed by Acapulco in Mexico with murder rate of 113.24.
Most of the world’s most dangerous cities were located in Central or South America. St. Louis in the United States with a murder rate of 60.23 and 188 murders committed in 2016, ranked fourteenth and was one of seven cities outside of Central or South America to make it into the top fifty. Detroit, with a murder rate of 43.63 and 302 murders that year, came in at thirty-sixth 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.