Every country has its cities and every city has its slums but as we will see in a moment, not all cities are created equal. Some of the most dangerous cities in the world are so bad that simply stepping out of your front door decreases your life expectancy significantly, while in others you may just want to leave your wallet at home. In certain locales, like Norilsk, its not the crime that kills but rather the treacherous environment, and while you may find yourself shaking your head in agreement to some, prepare to be surprised at others. Without further ado, we bring you the 25 most dangerous cities on the planet.
As one of the largest metropolitatn areas in Africa, and the former capital of Nigeria, Lagos has never been known for a high level of personal safety and comes in as the #25 most dangerous city in the world. In spite of some very direct measures intended to quell the rising crime rate, it seems to continue growing, right along with the population.
London, United Kingdom
While violent crime in most parts of the world involves gunpowder on some level, London’s youth have gone the way of the blade. Knife related crime has risen dramatically and in 2008 alone 16 teenagers died within a 6 month period as a result.
According to Mercer, Moscow boasts the lowest level of personal safety out of any city in Europe, and while most of this is due to petty crimes the police force here is not known for doing its job.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Although it’s not the most violent city on our list, there has been a sharp increase of petty crime including muggings and car jacking. Visitors are advised to use caution and remain aware of potential demonstrations and protests.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Despite its beauty, Rio De Janeiro is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, largely due to a high level of corruption. Most of the city is covered in drug-infested favelas, or slums, and the underpaid police force has been known to frame foreigners in order to elicit bribes.
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Although Bangkok has a relatively low level of violent crime as compared to other Southeast Asian cities, it has a notoriously infamous criminal underground centered around prostitution and human trafficking. And, like most of the cities on our list law enforcement is nonexistent.
Capetown, South Africa
While it is possibly one of the most beautiful cities in Southern Africa, it is also the most dangerous city. Partly, this stems from the fact that South Africa has large social and economic disparities. As a result, certain parts of the city have a very high rate of kidnapping, murder and robbery.
The northernmost city in the world with over 100,000 residents, it was founded about a hundred years ago as a slave labor camp. Norilsk houses the world’s largest smelting complex and due to a lack of regulation the pollution has brought the life expectancy to a whopping 40 years. Not only that, the average temperature is -10 Celsius and there is not a single living tree within 30 miles of the city.
As one of the four most important countries for drug trafficking into the United States, Haiti has always been home to a vast criminal underworld. Couple that with a non-existent police force, severe fallout from the earthquake in 2010, and a high prevalence of disease, it’s easy to understand why this city is ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
St. Louis, United States
Right up there with Detroit and New Orleans, St. Louis’ violent crimes rate is significantly higher than the national average (429.4 per 100,000) coming in at 2070 per 100,000 residents.
While security in Colombia has improved in recent years, violence continues to plaque the capital. Run by drug lords and with one of the highest violent crime rates in the world, it has become famous for its “kidnap culture”.
Although its been called the Paris of the middle east due to its beauty, in recent years it has descended into violence and war, being bombed repeatedly, and now rated by Mercer as one of the most dangerous cities in the region.
Located in Kashmir, the beauty of the region has led many to call it “paradise on earth”. Ironically, however, many academics believe this shatterbelt will be responsible for igniting the next global holocaust.
Port Moresby, Papau New Guinea
As the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea there is a high prevalence of violent crimes including rape and armed robbery. According to a survey of world cities by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist, Port Moresby is one of the world’s “least livable cities”.
New Orleans, United States
As one of the poorest cities in the country, the murder capital of the United States has 95 murders reported for every 100,000 residents.
Johannesburg, South Africa
To South Africans, a major point of contention is whether you are more likely to get robbed in Johannesburg or in Cape Town. Although most would probably still point to Johannesburg, after hosting the World Cup and making several attempts to improve its image, the tide may be turning.
As one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world it has a history of political and ethnic tension. Suffering heavily from organized crime there are also significant long-standing differences between various populations that often lead to tension and violence. It’s also widely known as a human trafficking hotspot and the primary gateway for smuggling sex slaves into the West.
To the residents of this city, blood is nothing new. According to Mercer’s 2008 global index this war-torn capital was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. And with a history of violence and war, Saddam’s execution has done little to improve its condition.
Detroit, United States
Topping Forbes list of most dangerous cities in America, “Motor City” averages 1,220 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
The Foreign Policy magazine dubbed Caracas as the “Murder Capital of the World” at the end of 2008. In December of that year alone there were 510 people murdered, and ever since Chavez took the reigns the rate has allegedly increased by 67%.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Due to a high level of drug violence accompanied by less than adequate political and legal institutions, Guatemala City is one of the most volatile in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors are urged to avoid public transportation and not to look as though they are lost mainly because of drug related violence that can potentially affect tourists and a high prevalence of bus-jacking.
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
As the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo it is plagued by internal problems such as gang violence, rape, property damage, poor sanitation and disease. To make things worse, it’s surrounded by constant civil unrest due to warring rebel factions as well as a relentless fight to control the nations diamond mines.
In 2003 Grozny was named “Most Destroyed City on Earth” by the United Nations. Primarily as a result of two prolonged wars with Russia, most of its residents have either fled or continue to live in the shells of their old homes under constant threat from the mafia and local gangs.
Although it is considered the capital, since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country’s territory. Characterized as a failed state, Mogadishu is situated in one of the most lawless parts of the world.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
The insanely dangerous border town of Juarez lays claim to one of the highest murder rates in the world. In 2009 2,600 people were killed due to drug related violence alone. The police force is almost non-existent as most of its high-ranking members have been assassinated and not even the military is any match for the powerful drug cartels.
Were you surprised at any of the most dangerous cities listed on this list?