In Brief

The 10 deadliest cities in the world

Los Cabos tops the list, while four US cities make an appearance

A new report charting murder rates around the world has revealed that Los Cabos in Mexico is the deadliest city on Earth, with a staggering 111.33 homicides per 100,000 residents.

The report, published annually by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security, lists the 50 most violent cities by the number of murders per 100,000 people, only taking into account cities with populations exceeding 300,000 where homicide statistics are available.

And this year’s results once again made for grim reading in Latin America, home to 42 of the 50 cities. Many countries in the region have long been plagued by gun violence and homicides. Despite representing only 8.5% of the world’s population, Latin America sees 27% of its homicides, reports the Los Angeles Times, describing the region’s murder rate as “breathtaking”.

“The region’s violence is in large part driven by drug trafficking and organized crime, Business Insider writes, adding that “political instability, poverty, poor economic conditions and corruption also facilitate crime”.

After last year’s list saw the number of Mexican cities in the list drop to just eight, a record high number of murders in the country in 2017 has seen 12 Mexican cities make the cut. This includes Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula, which now stands as the most violent city on Earth, putting last year’s top city - the Venezuelan capital of Caracas - into second place with 111.19 murders per 100,000 residents.

Although things look bleak for Latin America, Los Cabos’ murder rate of 111.33 is well below Caracas’ tally last year, which sat at a staggering 130.35.

Brazil remains the country with the most entries in the top 50, with a hefty 17 cities making the list, including Natal (4th, 102.56), Fortaleza (7th, 83.48) and Belem (10th, 71.38). This is actually a drop from last year’s list, when 19 Brazilian cities were included. 

No cities in Asia, Europe or Oceania made the list, which included four cities from the United States - the only developed nation to make an appearance - with St Louis (13th, 65.83), Baltimore (21st, 55.48), New Orleans (41st, 40.10) and Detroit (42nd, 39.69).

The biggest success story is undoubtedly the central American nation of Honduras, whose sky-high murder rates last year saw both its second-largest city San Pedro Sula and capital Tegucigalpa make the top five, sitting at 3rd (112.09) and 4th (82.09) respectively.

This year, however, following what the Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security describes as “a commendable effort by the Honduran government to systematically eradicate criminal groups”, San Pedro Sula dropped 23 places to 26th (51.18) and Tegucigalpa fell all the way to 35th (48.00), meaning both cities have halved their murder rates in the past 12 months.

The top ten is as follows:

  1. Los Cabos, Mexico - 111.33
  2. Caracas, Venezuela - 111.19
  3. Acapulco, Mexico - 106.63
  4. Natal, Brazil - 102.56
  5. Tijuana, Mexico - 100.77
  6. La Paz, Mexico - 84.79
  7. Fortaleza, Brazil - 83.48
  8. Victoria, Mexico - 83.32
  9. Guayana, Venezuela - 80.28
  10. Bele, Brazil - 71.38

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