Traveling around the world is a great way to spend your vacation time, but not all cities are as charming as the ones in the brochures. While every large city has its problems, some are a little worse than others. Here are some of the most dangerous cities in the world.
While most of us know about the popular and safest places to live, travel or work: the cities on this list are dangerous due to uncontrolled drug trafficking, violence, and political corruption. These cities are predominantly dominated by ruthless and violent gangs.
Here’s a list of 25 of the world’s most dangerous cities, based primarily on murder rates and their danger for tourists/visitors.
Though Barquisimeto has just over a million residents, the city sees murders almost every day. The city is the capital of its region and features a surprisingly high number of universities and other places of higher education. Despite once being a thriving tourist destination, the area is now so dangerous that many tourists avoid it.
Guayana in Venezuela reported 578 homicides for 1,050,283 inhabitants. In February 2012, the Venezuelan Observatory launched the “Campaign to Sensibilize the Value of Life in Venezuela” in the hope that this campaign would spread the message of peace. If actions such as this are continued, one can only hope that the violence and homicide will decrease dramatically.
Peshawar, Pakistan, is another of the most dangerous place in the world. With tribes and warlords fighting for supremacy, Peshawar is not safe, especially for foreigners. Although the city boasts amazing landmarks and breathtaking parks, targeted attack on security forces and suicide bombings, unfortunately, make Peshawar one of the world’s most dangerous cities to visit.
Large parts of Pakistan should be avoided, according to the Foreign Office. They include the “Federally Administered Tribal Areas”, the city of Peshawar and districts south of the city, northern and western Balochistan, the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit, the Kalesh Valley, the Bamoboret Valley and Arandu District, the city of Quetta, the city of Nawabshah, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Yemen is politically unstable country with both Britain and America recently urging its citizens to leave the country due to fears of an imminent terrorist attacks on Western interests. The Foreign Office advises against all travel to the whole of Yemen.
The country’s highlights include Sana’a, one of the world’s highest capital cities (7,500 feet above sea level) and a World Heritage Site; it’s also one of the most dangerous places in the entire world. It is renowned for its quirky architecture, which includes multi-storey buildings decorated in geometric patterns. Those who do make it there enjoy visiting the Old City, a section of Sana’a full of beautifully designed buildings from a more peaceful time. Official statistics are difficult to obtain, but it seems to be a very dangerous place for foreigners.
Acapulco was once a popular tourist destination. These days, however, the stunning beaches see only a handful of vacationers. A rise in murderous violence between drug lords and criminals has made tourists avoid the sunny destination. The city reported 1,170 murders for 818,853 inhabitants.
Drug cartels are a problem throughout Mexico and it has only been getting worse over the past decade. It has gotten so bad citizens are forming self-defense groups which have managed to capture at least one major drug lord. Large numbers of dead bodies are a common occurrence in this port city, making it a nerve-wracking place to hang out.
Distrito Central, Honduras
While no large city is immune to violence, Distrito Central has surpassed the usual level of violence. It has one of the highest murder rates around the globe. The dangers can be attributed to extreme poverty, government corruption, and a heavy Mafia presence. Distrito Central is actually three cities blended into one. The high level of violence deters all but the most reckless of tourists.
Maceió is the capital of the Alagoas state and sees around 135 murders per 100,000 residents each year. The city is by far the most dangerous in the country, topping even Rio de Janeiro, which most people know for its “favelas”, or slums. Brazil may host a large part of the Amazon rainforest, but its most populated areas are not places you want to hang out in.
Joao Pessoa, Brazil
Joao Pessoa is another dangerous city in Brazil. There was a whopping 508 homicides reported for 723,515 inhabitants. In December, President Dilma Rousseff reportedly stated that three in every 1000 Brazilian teens are murdered before turning 19: very dangerous indeed.
Radical Islamists now control northern Mali, and much of the country’s ancient sites – including Timbuktu – are considered under threat. The Foreign Office advises against travel to the entire country, due to the high risk of terrorism and kidnapping.
The city of Mogadishu has had major problems with al Shabaab militants for a while now (who at one point last year controlled most of the city), making the area unsafe for citizens and tourists alike.
The United States refused to set foot in the country for over two decades, but changed that policy in 2013 when military advisers were sent to Mogadishu to help the locals resolve the militant issue. Despite the aid, the area is still dangerous.
Nairobi has suffered considerably in recent years. Although Kenya is a beautiful country with plenty to offer, it is also so dangerous that most tourists leave it off the itinerary. Nairobi is considered particularly dangerous for women, but no one should walk around the city alone at night. Al Shabaab militants have threatened the area for some time now, making it even more tense than usual.
Mexico’s violence problems are big enough to warrant it two spots on this list. In reality, there are many more Mexican cities on the world’s most violent cities list, but Chihuahua beats them out because of its position on the cocaine smuggling route to the United States. Drug cartels have taken over the area and it is not uncommon to see random firefights in the streets, making it a very inhospitable place to visit or to live.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Columbia any time soon, then take note. One of the overall most dangerous cities on the list is the city of Medellin, Colombia, with a reported 1,175 homicides per 2,393,011 inhabitants. It is believed that much of the violence can be blamed on criminal bands trying to gain control of certain territories. However, homicide is actually on the gradual decrease in this city, as 1991 alone reported 6,349 homicides
Crime was up by more than 7 percent in Cleveland during the first six months of 2013. In 2012, the murder rate rose 30%. It has one of the highest murder and rape rates in the US, although it is not the highest. Flint, Michigan, actually seems to have the highest murder rate in the entire US, with 62 murders per 100,000 residents in 2013 (for reference, Detroit has approximately 54). 2013 data is not fully available yet, none of these cities are tourist friendly.
This list is not fully inclusive, and there are many dangerous places that are not listed. You should be careful wherever you are, especially in a city, and especially as an outsider. If possible, travel with someone who knows the area.