Worlds' most dangerous cities, by murder rate 2018

This statistic ranks the 50 most dangerous cities of 2018, by murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants. Tijuana's murder rate was 138.26 for every 100,000 people living in the city.

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 2018, ranking cities according to the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants that year. Tijuana, Mexico ranked first on the list, with a murder rate of 138.26 per 100,000 inhabitants. Tijuana was followed by Acapulco, Mexico with murder rate of 110.5. That year, there were 948 homicides in Acapulco, which had a population of 857,883 people.

Most of the world’s most dangerous cities were located in Central or South America. In the United States, St. Louis, Missouri ranked fifteenth with a murder rate of 60.59 in 2018, and was one of the few cities outside of Central or South America to make it into the top fifty. Detroit, with a murder rate of 38.78, came in at forty-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 was 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. was considered the largest migration flow in the world, with 11.6 million migrants in 2010.

Ranking of the most dangerous cities in the world in 2018, by murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants

Murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants
Tijuana - Mexico138.26
Acapulco - Mexico110.5
Caracas - Venezuela99.98
Ciudad Victoria - Mexico86.01
Ciudad Juarez - Mexico85.56
Irapuato - Mexico81.44
Ciudad Guayana - Venezuela78.3
Natal - Brazil74.67
Fortaleza - Brazil69.15
Ciudad Bolivar - Venezuela69.09
Cape Town - South Africa66.36
Belem - Brazil65.31
Cancun - Mexico64.46
Feira de Santana - Brazil63.29
St. Louis, Missouri - U.S.60.59
Culiacan - Mexico60.52
Barquisimeto - Venezuela56.67
Uruapan - Mexico54.52
Kingston - Jamaica54.12
Ciudad Obregón - Mexico52.09
Maceio - Brazil51.46
Vitoria da Conquista - Brazil50.75
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S.50.52
San Salvador - El Salvador50.32
Aracaju - Brazil48.77
Coatzacoalcos - Mexico48.35
Palmira - Colombia47.97
Maturin - Venezuela47.24
Salvador - Brazil47.23
Macapa - Brazil47.2
Cali - Colombia47.03
Celaya - Mexico46.99
San Pedro Sula - Honduras46.67
Ensenada - Mexico46.6
Campos dos Goytacazes - Brazil46.28
Tepic - Mexico44.89
Manaus - Brazil44
Guatemala City - Guatemala43.73
Recife - Brazil43.72
Distrito Central - Honduras43.3
San Juan - Puerto Rico42.4
Valencia - Venezuela42.36
Reynosa - Mexico41.48
João Pessoa - Brazil41.36
Nelson Mandela Bay - South Africa39.16
Detroit, Michigan - U.S.38.78
Durban - South Africa38.51
Teresina - Brazil37.61
Chihuahua - Mexico37.5
New Orleans, Louisiana - U.S.36.87
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Release date

March 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Only cities with a population of 300,000 or more were included in this ranking.

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