Study: 42 of the 50 Most Violent Peacetime Cities in the World Are in Latin America

In this Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, photo, a Border Patrol officer pats down several of the men that were found with a group of immigrants in a tractor-trailer in Edinburg, Texas. Police in Texas acting on a tip found the immigrants locked inside a tractor-trailer parked at a gas station …
File Photo: Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP

Latin America is home to 42 of the 50 cities with the world’s highest per capita homicide rates outside a war zone, according to the 2017 list compiled by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security, which uses available murder rates.

“Of the 50 cities in the ranking, 17 are located in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, 5 in Venezuela, 4 in the United States, 3 in Colombia, 3 in South Africa, and 2 in Honduras,” points out the council. “There is one city in El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica, respectively.”

The council bases its rankings on the per capita murder rate, not the sheer number of killings, which explains why Chicago with 650 murders last year did not make the council’s list.

The four U.S. cities included in the ranking are: St. Louis, Missouri, in 13th place with about 66 murders per 100,000 inhabitants; Baltimore, Maryland, in 21st place with 55 murders per 100,000; New Orleans, Louisiana, in 41st place with 40 murders per 100,000; and Detroit, Michigan, in 42nd with 40 murders per 100,000.

The council report deemed the tourist destination of Los Cabos in Mexico the most dangerous city in the world with an estimated 111.33 murders per 100,000 residents.

“In 2017 the Mexican Los Cabos was the most violent city in the world and entered the ranking for the first time,” notes the report.

The city with the highest number of homicides (3,387) included in the ranking is the capital of the troubled country of Venezuela—Caracas—which trailed Los Cabos coming in second place with 111.19 murders per 100,000.

Given the growing insecurity and political turmoil in Venezuela, “We are facing a new phenomenon that expresses the very serious crisis that in all the orders that Venezuela faces: the growing inability to count its dead,” notes the council.

Mexico houses a dozen of the top 50 deadliest cities, including two that border the United States—Reynosa and Juarez.

KSAT-TV ABC in San Antonio, Texas, reports:

The council’s report stated there has been an increase in violence across Mexico, due in large parts to drug trafficking and organized crime. Violence in the region was also driven by unstable political environments and poor economic conditions.

“Violence has rebounded in Mexico. In 2015 five Mexican cities were included in the ranking; in 2017 there were 12, the same number of 2011,” adds the council. “Certainly in 2017 Mexican cities were very far from the rate of almost 300 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants reached by Juarez in 2010, but the increase in violence is undeniable.”


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