18 of the Most Dangerous Cities in the World 

If you live in a nice neighborhood, be grateful, as this is a privilege many people don’t have. Not everywhere is so safe, so whether you’re looking for a new vacation destination or somewhere to start a new life, these 18 cities should be the last on your list.

Irapuato, Mexico

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Similarly to the militia of Belém, cartels run the Mexican city of Irapuato. Turf wars between the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel make living in the city hell, leading to residents feeling unsafe due to mass shootouts and an overwhelmed police force.

Cape Town, South Africa

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Many areas in South Africa and even Cape Town are safe for tourists, but the city still houses two of the most dangerous areas in the country. Tourists are advised to avoid Cape Flats, with even the locals fearful of walking there. Khayelitsha is also a dangerous district, prone to land invasions.

Oklahoma City, US

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This might surprise you, but Oklahoma City, U.S., easily makes this list of the most dangerous cities worldwide. US News reports that there are 461 violent crimes and over 2,800 property crimes per 100,000 residents every year, and it’s also one of the most tornado-prone cities in the country.

Belém, Brazil

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Belém has an average homicide rate of 65 per 100,000 residents, but it’s not the criminals but the police that put your life in danger. The dilapidated port town is plagued by a rogue, lawless police militia that operates freely through corruption, kidnappings, and murder… scary!

Fortaleza, Brazil

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With Fortaleza’s beautiful beaches comes a wave of petty crimes that troubles tourists. In crowded areas, even on public transportation, you aren’t safe from the hands of thieves and pickpockets. So, if you’re considering a vacation in Brazil, it might be best to give Fortaleza a miss.

Memphis, US

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Memphis is deemed the most dangerous city in the United States, with a crime rate that’s almost 240% higher than the national average. This city in Tennessee has a violent crime rate placed at 2500 per 100,000 residents, and its total crimes come at a whopping 7900 per 100,000 people.

Pripyat, Ukraine

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Home to the infamous Chernobyl disaster, Pripyat is uninhabited except for a few hundred dogs. Its former 50,000 residents evacuated 35 years ago, and living here today exposes you to cancerous radiation. However, the Independent claims the main danger here isn’t the radiation but the crumbling abandoned structures littered everywhere.

Natal, Brazil

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Similarly to Fortaleza, the Brazilian city of Natal has beautiful beaches and historical attractions that make it a hotspot for tourists. However, although violent crimes aren’t widespread, its rife tourist population remains tempting for petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft.

Ciudad Victoria, Mexico

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In Ciudad Victoria, there’s history, there’s culture, but there’s sadly also cartel violence everywhere you go. It has a terrifying murder rate of 84 per 100,000 people, and most of these are a result of shootouts in public areas between gang members and the police.

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

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If you thought Ciudad Victoria sounded dangerous, you’d be shocked to hear that Ciudad Juárez is even worse. It’s a major center for the international drug trade, and therefore, the New Juárez Cartel and Sinaloa Cartel run the show here. This causes many problems, but kidnappings and crimes against women are particularly common.

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Jakarta’s streets are relatively safe, but danger lurks in other forms. Most of the city is below sea level, which makes it highly susceptible to flooding. In 2020 alone, 53 people lost their lives due to flooding, and a further 175,000 residents were displaced by floods and related landslides.

Santiago de Cali

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Cali is the most populous city in southwest Colombia, with over two million residents. Petty crimes run rampant in crowded areas, mostly manifesting as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and scams. Sadly, the rural areas offer no escape from danger, as they’re known to harbor violent gangs and even terrorists.

Feira de Santana, Brazil

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Violent gang wars over the control of the drug trade are the biggest danger in Brazil’s Feira de Santana. This city is the second largest in the Brazilian state of Bahia and is famous for its cattle fair, but sadly, few tourists get to experience this due to fear for their lives.

Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela

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The Venezuelan city of Ciudad Guayana witnesses 78 homicides per 100,000 people despite having a relatively small population of 877,000. Unfortunately, the city attracts further violent crimes such as extreme vandalism, carjacking, and robberies, making the city a seriously dangerous location to visit.

Legazpi City, Philippines

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Similarly to the Indonesian city of Jakarta, Legazpi City in the Philippines isn’t so dangerous due to crime but due to natural disasters. It’s home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Mount Mayon, which CNN reports led to the evacuation of 13,000 residents in 2023 alone.

Caracas, Venezuela

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Venezuela is, unfortunately, a country where over 50% of its population lives below the poverty line, and Caracas proves to suffer from this the most. Its poverty has led to an absurd homicide rate of 99 per 100,000 residents, with the harsh state of living pushing residents into bouts of civil unrest.

Acapulco, Mexico

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With Acapulco, there’s an average of 110 deaths per 100,000 people, the second highest on this list of dangerous cities. CBS blames these enormous numbers on gang battles that have flooded the streets of the city, with many altercations arising from gang-led extortion of public transport providers, bars, and other services.

Tijuana, Mexico

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Finally, the Mexican city of Tijuana is the murder capital of the world, with 138 homicides per 100,000 people. Burglaries and robberies are common, but once again, the drug cartel is where the most danger comes from, especially in neighborhoods such as Sánchez Taboada, Tres de Octubre, and Camino Verde.

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