People travel for many reasons.
Whether you’re planning a business trip, a fun vacation, or a therapeutic excursion, one thing is clear – some cities can be significantly more dangerous than others, and it’s important to be aware of the risks involved before taking a trip.
Let’s take Tijuana, for example.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s website, travelers should reconsider traveling to this city or its surrounding areas due to a staggeringly high rate of violent crimes like kidnap and murder.
And it’s because of this very reason, that we’ve placed Tijuana at the top of the list.
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities in the World
- 5 Safety Trips for Traveling to One of These Cities
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Most Dangerous Cities in the World
1. Tijuana, Mexico
On average, Tijuana has 138 homicides per 100,000 people.
Between January and April of this year, 603 homicides were reported in this city, and the crime rate has not decreased since then.
Comparably, last year alone, more than 2,000 homicides were reported in Tijuana.
According to the Mexico Peace Index 2023, Baja California – the state in which Tijuana is located – had the second-highest rate of homicides in 2022.
The most dangerous parts of the city are the “colonias” (slums) due to their proximity to the U.S. border.
Tourists are advised to stay away from these areas specifically since they have a reputation for high rates of gang crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and homicide.
2. Caracas, Venezuela
This city has a crime index of 83.09, with crime rates increasing in the past three years.
Those visiting or relocating to Caracas should be highly vigilant.
Visitors are exposed to a high risk of crimes like pickpocketing, scams, and armed attacks.
And to make matters worse, gangs have been exponentially growing in power in the city over the past years.
As a result, the Venezuelan government oftentimes struggles to contain the crime rate within the city; this results in a corrupt and underdeveloped system in which crime flourishes.
If you decide to visit Caracas, make sure to store your valuables safely, avoid unknown areas, especially at night, and travel responsibly.
3. Zamora, Mexico
The crime rate in Zamora has grown so much within the past decade and a half that the city was ranked as the most violent city in the world in 2021.
According to statistics, that same year, Zamora recorded a murder rate of 196.6 per 100,000 residents.
Most of these were committed as a result of violence among rival gangs.
Like with other cities on this list, those who plan on going to Zamora are advised by the authorities against it.
If, however, canceling your trip is not possible, make sure always to know your surroundings, avoid unsupervised travel (especially in unknown areas), and always have an exit plan.
4. Ciudad Guyana, Venezuela
This city has a crime index of 85 due to its high rate of gang crime, grand theft auto, robberies, and home invasions.
Authorities advise against visiting this city at all costs.
If, however, you find yourself needing to take a trip to Ciudad Guyana, here are a few safety tips:
- Always beware of your surroundings and, if possible, do not travel unsupervised
- Leave most of your valuables behind, and avoid carrying non-essential items when traveling.
- Never leave anything of value in your car; the city has a high rate of car break-ins
5. Maturin, Venezuela
Next on our list is another Venezuelan city known for its high rate of violent crime.
This city has a crime index of 84.93 and a reputation for violent crimes like robberies, armed robbery, and vandalism.
If you’re considering visiting or relocating to Maturin, keep in mind that this city is in the top 10 most violent cities in the world due to the high number of violent crimes committed here.
On average, the city has 500 murders for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Similar to other cities in Venezuela, Maturin has a reputation for its violent crime rate, which is why visitors should:
- Always be aware of their surroundings and announce someone before they go outside
- Avoid walking alone, especially at night
- Only bring essential items (e.g. phone, wallet, passport, medication), and do not carry valuables
6. Belem, Brazil
Belem made it on this list due to its high rates of violent gang crime and drug trafficking.
The city can be so dangerous, in fact, that those planning to visit are strongly advised against doing so.
If you find yourself deciding to take a trip to Belem despite the risks involved, you will need to take precautionary steps such as:
- Make sure that any taxi you take is licensed, or avoid cabs altogether and use apps like Uber instead.
- Avoiding certain parts of the city – like the city center – and traveling with a guide at all costs, if possible
- Announcing your local embassy the details of your trip and your return date
7. Cape Town, South Africa
With a population of almost 5 million, Cape Town is as dangerous as it is beautiful.
According to statistics, violent crime rates have increased by 4% since 2022.
More than 6,000 murders were reported between January and March alone, many of which were due to gang violence.
And it’s due to crimes like these that the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice has placed Cape Town eighth on its list of the most violent cities in the world.
When visiting Cape Town, you should:
- Avoid carrying large amounts of money or valuable items when going outside; leave them at the house or hotel room, instead
- Stay away from unknown areas of the city and avoid ever going outside at nighttime
- Always tell someone where you are going and your estimated time of arrival; or better yet, avoid traveling unattended
8. Barquisimeto, Venezuela
With a crime index of 79.30, Barquisimeto is one of the most violent cities in Venezuela.
Those living in the city or simply visiting are at high risk of becoming victims of robberies, grand theft auto, or attacks.
The high crime rates go hand-in-hand with rampant police corruption to create a volatile and dangerous environment.
This is why traveling to Barquisimeto is generally advised against.
Those traveling to this city should:
- Never leave valuable items in the car
- Avoid sharing personal details with strangers
- Avoid leaving the house/hotel room after dark
9. Durban, South Africa
Next on our list is a city that has a safety score of 19.22, and has been ranked as the country’s murder capital.
Between April and June of this year, more than 80 murders were reported.
In 2018, the average murder rate in Durban was 39 per 100,000 people, which has been steadily increasing ever since.
Residents and visitors face a very high risk of becoming the victims of violent crimes like robberies and muggings.
For this reason, if you plan on visiting Durban, make sure to:
- Always know your surroundings and tell someone where you are going
- Avoid traveling after dark at all costs
- Know ahead of time which areas to avoid at all costs
10. Fortaleza, Brazil
Located in the northeastern part of the country, this city has a murder rate of 69 per 100,000 people and a crime index of 77.
Over the past years, the rate of violent crimes like assault, robberies, and murders has increased.
And the corruption among law enforcement adds fuel to the flame, transforming Fortaleza into the ideal city for criminals.
Therefore, your safety should be your main focus when traveling to Fortaleza:
- Make sure to always lock your car and never leave valuables in it
- Avoid leaving the house at night
- Be conscious of your surroundings at all times and never reveal personal details to strangers.
5 Safety Trips for Traveling to One of These Cities
- Plan ahead: Like with any trip, it’s better to know ahead of time where you’re going to stay, how you’re going to get around, and who is there to help guide you. This is especially true when traveling to a dangerous city.
- Inform someone before leaving: Make sure to mention where you’re going, the expected return time, and who is joining you
- Know your surroundings: This is crucial. Learn ahead which areas of the city to avoid, and be aware of where you are, who is around you, and where your important items (e.g. documents, money, phone, etc.) are in case you need to get away.
- Be aware of scams: Learn the common travel scams around the area to avoid falling victim.
- Pay attention to the taxis: Avoid calling a taxi from the street; opt to have the hotel call you one. Also, make sure they are licensed before getting in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to check the safety tips for that city?
Check the U.S. Department of State’s website for additional information regarding the safety of traveling to a dangerous city.
What are my essentials?
Safety is the most important thing.
Whatever, happens, it is essential that you have these three on you:
What vaccinations are required?
For information about the required vaccinations for traveling to a specific country, check the official website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cdc.gov.