In 2017, Latin America retained the ignominious distinction of having the most cities on Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security’s annual ranking of the world’s most violent cities.
Of the 50 cities on the list, 42 are in Latin America, including 17 in Brazil, 12 in Mexico, and five in Venezuela. Colombia had three, Honduras had two, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all had one.
The region’s violence is in large part driven by drug trafficking and organized crime — in Mexico, fragmentation of criminal groups has stoked more bloodshed in recent months. Insecurity is also exacerbated by political instability, poverty, and poor economic conditions. Corruption, abuses by officials, and impunity also facilitate crime.
The ranking contains cities with populations of more than 300,000 and does not count deaths in combat zones or cities with unavailable data, so some dangerous cities don’t appear on the list
The Council also estimates homicide rates for some cities based on incomplete data.
In Venezuela, for example, the government has not consistently released homicide data (though it did for 2016), and in the past the Council has estimated based on entries at the Bello Monte morgue, which draws from an area larger than Caracas and doesn’t only include homicides. The Council was also unable to gather 2017 full-year data for the city, leading it to calculate last year’s tally based on previous estimates. Two other cities in Venezuela were excluded from this year’s ranking because there was no reliable homicide data for them.
Here’s the top 50:
SEE THE 2016 RANKINGS: The 50 most violent cities in the world
50. Cucuta, Colombia, had 34.78 homicides per 100,000 residents.
In 2017, Cucuta had a population of 833,743 people and 290 homicides.
49. Vitoria, Brazil, had 36.07 homicides per 100,000 residents.
In 2017, Vitoria had a population of 1,960,213 people and 707 homicides.
48. Teresina, Brazil, had 37.05 homicides per 100,000 residents.
In 2017, Teresina had a population of 850,198 people and 315 homicides.