A murder rate of 160 per 100,000 inhabitants made San Pedro Sula (Honduras) the most violent city in the world



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Latin American cities are the
most dangerous in the world

Research and analysis by Alidad Vassigh

12 October 2012*: Latin America's cities are the most dangerous in the world, with certain cities - especially Honduran and Mexican ones - leading the list of world cities with most murders. San Pedro Sula, a city of some 720,000 people in northern Honduras is thought to be the most dangerous city in the world with 160 murders per 100,000 inhabitants per annum. The murder rate in Ciudad Juárez, on the Mexican-US, border is estimated at 148. New Orleans, with a murder rate of 58, is the world’s most murderous city outside Latin America.

The Mexican NGO Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Publica y la Justicia (CCSP) recently updated its annual count of murder rates in the world. The rate of murder (homicidio doloso) is expressed as a figure per 100/000 inhabitants (of a city or country) in a year (abbreviated here as hti): i.e. 50/100,000 or 50/hti. Mexican cities apparently improved their count, but as CCSP points out official figures should be taken with caution, as officials in Mexico specifically continue to ‘shave’ figures to show apparent security improvements, in the country's ongoing war on organised crime.*

Most murderous cities
(Number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants per annum (hti))
Rank
City
Country
Population
Murder rate (2011)
Murder rate (2010)
1
San Pedro Sula Honduras
719,447
158.87
125 (2010)
2
Ciudad Juárez Mexico
1,335,890
147,77
229 (2010)
3
Maceió Brazil
1,156,278
135.26
n/a
4
Acapulco Mexico
804,412
127.92
51.4 (2010)
5
Capital district Honduras
1,126,534
99.69
108 (2010)
6
Caracas Venezuela
3,205,463
98.71
118 (2010)
7
Torreón (metropolitan) Mexico
1,128,152
87.75
68.4 (2010)
8
Chihuahua Mexico
831,693
82.96
113 (2010)
9
Durango Mexico
593,389
79.88
78.3 (2010)
10
Belém Brazil
2,100,319
78.04
n/a
11
Cali Colombia
2,207,994
77.90
87.4 (2010)
12
Guatemala City Guatemala
3,014,060
74.58
106 (2010)
13
Culiacán Mexico
871,620
74.46
87.8 (2010)
14
Medellín Colombia
2,309,446
70.32
87.4 (2010)
15
Mazatlán Mexico
445,343
68.94
88.1 (2010)
16
Tepic
(metropolitan)
Mexico
439,362
68.05
79.9 (2010)
17
Vitória Brazil
1,685,384
67.82
76.1 (2010)
18
Veracruz Mexico
697,414
59.94
n/a
19
Ciudad Guayana Venezuela
940,477
58.91
68.8 (2010)
20
San Salvador El Salvador
2,290,790
58.63
82.9 (2010)
21
New Orleans USA
343,829
57.88
69 (2009)
22
Salvador Brazil
3,574,804
56.98
n/a
23
Cúcuta Colombia
597,385
56.08
56.1 (2010)
24
Barquisemeto Venezuela
1,120,718
55.41
n/a
25
San Juan Puerto Rico
427,789
52.60
n/a

Other cities among top 50 with most murders in 2011:
26. Manaus, Brazil, 51.21/hti,
30. Detroit, USA, 48.47
32. Recife, Brazil, 48.23
33. Kingston (metropolitan), Jamaica, 47.02
34. Cape Town, South Africa, 46.15
37. Fortaleza, Brazil, 42.90
38. Monterrey (metropolitan area), Mexico, 40.38
43. St. Louis, USA, 35.39
46. Panama City, Panama, 31.70
48. Baltimore, USA, 31.40
49. Durban, South Africa, 30.54
50. Johannesburg, South Africa, 30.50

A World Bank report published in 2011 (Crime and Violence in Central America: A Development Challenge) cites drug trafficking, gang membership and the anarchic legacy of civil wars of the 20th century as the "drivers" of crime in that region. The incomes generated by the drug trade – giving cartels a tremendous firepower and power to corrupt – combined with corrupted and weak governments, are undoubted causes of rising criminality. The debate on how to curb violent crime in Latin America continues.

*This is an updated version of the originally in January 2012 written article.

References
* http://www.seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx






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