The countries with the highest murder rates may surprise you. It’s a known fact that the modern world is everything but a safe place. But it’s shocking to see just how unsafe the world can be.
On today’s list, we are going to take a look around the world using the international homicide rate statistics. Based on the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants per year, these statistics will allow us to see which countries have the highest murder rates.
Do you want to know which countries have to deal with the most murders? Then we present to you the 25 countries with the highest murder rates in the world.
Originally called “Swaziland,” their king announced last year that their country would change its name to Eswatini. Regardless, brutal crimes are rampant with assailants carrying edged weapons to attack their victims. Urban areas are especially dangerous at night. Their murder rate currently stands at 17.29 per 100,000 people.
Once a Dutch and British colony, Guyana gained their independence in 1966. Since then, they’ve been ruled by socialist governments. Today, they have a population of 740,685 and a murder rate of 18.37 per 100,000 people. Despite strict firearm regulations, assailants use handguns, machetes, and blades to attack their prey. Foreigners are the most common targets.
Puerto Rico, 18.51
A territory of the United States, Puerto Rico has a population of roughly 3,294,626 people. After the devastation of Hurricane Maria and their downward spiral into unsustainable debt, Puerto Rico’s lawlessness and murder rate spiked, bumping them into rate of 18.51.
Once a British colony, they gained their independence in 1978 and formed a parliamentary democracy. While they have a murder rate of 18.65 per 100,000, it should be taken into account that their population is only about 12,000 people.
A former Dutch colony in the Caribbean that became the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao has seen a steady increase in gang violence, resulting in a high murder rate. They have a 19.19 murder rate per 100,000 people.
With a total area of almost 2 million square kilometers (over 760,000 square miles) the fifth largest country in the Americas by area, Mexico is notorious for its enormous problems with drug trafficking and related criminality that very often also involves homicides. These – sometimes very brutal – murders are often used to intimidate rival gangs.
Saint Lucia, 19.27
With a population of about 175,000 people, Saint Lucia is another little Caribbean country that is, apart from amazing natural beauties and marvelous beaches, known for a very high homicide rate. And, sadly enough, the number has been still growing. While in 2007, there were “only” 27 murders reported in the country, just four years later, it was almost twice as many.
Central African Republic, 19.76
A former French colony, this country has seen many years of political unrest and turmoil, adding to its already high crime and murder rate of 19.75 per 100,000 people. While the newly elected president has tried to fix things, poor infrastructure and little options for their youth have driven many to seek out rebel groups.
For much of the 18th century, the English and French fought over possession of this small island. On top of that, they’ve had to endure several volcanic eruptions. With a poor economy, poor living conditions, and a small population, the murder rate stands at 19.88.
Situated in the northwest of South America, Colombia is notorious for its drug production and trade. This, combined with the highly segregated society, split between the rich families of Spanish descent and the majority of poor Colombians, has led to many locals getting involved not only in murders but also kidnappings, robberies, aggravated assaults and other crimes.
With a population of almost 16 million, Guatemala is the most populous country in Central America. With an average of about 100 murders committed every month, Guatemala has ranked as the country with the 5th highest homicide rate in the world. In the 1990s, for example, the city of Escuintla had an annual rate of 165 murders per 100,000 people.
A popular Caribbean beach and resort spot, Anguilla boasts plenty of luxury tourism but still has a higher than average murder rate. To make matters worse, their infrastructure was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Currently, their murder rate is 27.66 per 100,000 people.
The Bahamas, 28.40
A former British crown colony, the Bahamas is an island country consisting of more than 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being relatively rich country with its economy based on tourism and finance, Bahamas has been unsuccessfully dealing with the same problem as their Caribbean neighbors. In 2013, for example, 120 people were killed in the country, which contributed to the average homicide rate of almost 30.
With a population of over 200 million, Brazil is one of the largest and most populous countries in the list as well in the world. But the huge number of inhabitants brings about a dramatic amount of murders – just in 2012 alone, almost 65,000 people were killed in the country. It is believed that drug trade and alcoholism are among the major causes of the high homicide occurrence.
Trinidad and Tobago, 30.88
Although Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country per capita in the Americas after the U.S. and Canada, this Caribbean country has been listed among those with the highest homicide rate in the world. Even worse, the murder rate has climbed in the recent years. On average, more than 30 out of 100,000 people have been murdered annually.
South Africa, 33.97
Despite its nicely-sounding nickname “The Rainbow Nation,” South Africa, home to about 54 million people, has a very high rate of murders, assaults, rapes and other violent crimes. Statistics published by local police suggest that in South Africa, around 50 people are murdered every day, which is really alarming number. Fortunately, the homicide rate has slowly been decreasing.
Saint Kitts and Nevis, 34.23
Located in the West Indies, Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. But even among their 50,000 people, there is a significant number of those who obviously don’t mind killing others. With an average rate of 33.6 homicides per 100,000 people, Saint Kitts and Nevis ranked 9th.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 36.46
Occupying a total area of just about 390 square kilometers (150 square miles), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is another small Caribbean country with extremely high homicide rate. INTERPOL statistics suggest that – apart from the murders – rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries are also quite common crimes committed there.
With an area of 22,800 square kilometers (8,800 sq mi) and a population of about 340,000 people, Belize is the least densely populated country in Central America. But despite its amazing natural beauties and wildlife, this country is far from being a good place to live. Enormous homicide rate of almost 45 murders per 100,000 people makes Belize one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The homicides are particularly frequent in the Belize City district where, in 2007, for example, half of all that year’s murders occurred.
Apart from location and size, Lesotho shares one more thing with Swaziland – an uncontrollable homicide rate. Almost half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line which is partly responsible for its enormous criminality and annual murder rate.
Occupying an area of 11,000 square kilometers (4,250 square miles), Jamaica is another representative of the Caribbean. For many years, the country has been notorious for having one of the world’s highest homicide rates. The latest statistics by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has confirmed it. The murders and violent crimes are particularly frequent in large cities such as Kingston, the capital.
Virgin Islands, 49.26
Despite being a U.S. territory and a hot spot for tourism and cruises, the Virgin Islands rank at the top of the most violent islands in the Caribbean. This rate has increased each year from 32.9 in 2015 and now 49.26 in 2018.
Located on the northern coast of South America, Venezuela has been known as one of world’s major oil exporters but also as a country with pervasive and unusually high occurrence of homicides. Last year, only 19% of local residents felt safe when walking alone at night and they had a good reason for that – every year, more than 50 people out of 100,000 are killed in Venezuela and the number has been constantly growing over the last decades.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Honduras, home to about 8.25 million people, has one of the highest homicide rate of all countries in the world. It once held the top spot for many years with a ghastly 86.5 average murder rate. That has dropped significantly, but only enough to bring it down to the second spot. It’s current rate is 56.52 murders per 100,000 people. Since Honduras is a popular holiday destination, tourists are often targeted as victims of various violent crimes.
El Salvador, 82.84
Deeply affected by the long-term and devastating civil war (1979 – 1992), El Salvador is a Central American country and a home to about 6.3 million people. The extremely high homicide rate in this country is marked by significant occurrence gang-related crimes and juvenile delinquency. In 2004, for example, as much as 60% of the murders committed in Salvador were carried out by local gangs competing for power and territory.