Aside from food and shelter, one of the basic rights afforded to all humans is the right to live freely and safely. Unfortunately, this does not hold true in the majority of the cities around the world. Every day, news reports are filled with killings, bombings, stealing, and rape that are threatening society as a whole. Even if police visibility has been increased in these areas, violence continues to prosper. As a result, more and more people fear for their lives and move to different places if they can in order to give them peace of mind.
Aside from fleeing families, businesses in the area are likewise affected. When you’re a business owner, you want to make sure that your business will boom and eventually gain profits. But transacting in an area where violence is very much prevalent, you would rather do business in safer areas. And if there is no business in the city, the local economy will also be affected.
Below is the list of 5 of the most violent cities in the world, all of which are located in Central or South America.
1. Torreon, Mexico
Torreon is one of the biggest metropolitan areas and one of the most important economic and industrial centers in Mexico. The city also caters to various industries related to textile, clothing, and metals processing. It also has an airport which has flights in various cities in the country and in the United States.
Despite the status, Torreon is considered one of the most violent cities in the world. With a population of more than 1.1 million people, Torreon became Mexico’s new heart of violence with reported homicides of 1,087 as of 2012. And during the first 9 months of the same year, 830 murders were reported in the city alone.
It started in 2007 when a gang known as Zetas Cartel started a killing factory without regard to innocent civilians.
The group is also involved in various activities such as kidnapping, beheading, and dismemberments. Worse, the police force cannot pacify the situation, including the city’s main prison. As a result, locals and business owners left the city in order to escape from the threats.
2. Distrito Central, Honduras
Distrito Central’s wealthy business district is safe. But when you start going to the outskirts of the city, that’s where violence begins. In fact, Tegucigalpa in Distrito Central is considered Honduras’ most dangerous municipality as the area is exclusively governed by gangs, particularly MS-13. Members of the gang were deported from the United States and decided to go back to their home country in order to impose a sense of authority among the people.
Tactics include extorting taxes from homeowners and imposing curfews. If a local refuse to give in, then gang members will inflict punishment through torture, blackmail, and worse, death. As of 2012, there are 1,149 reported homicides and 101.99 murders per capita.
3. Caracas, Venezuela
Located in the Northern part of the country, Caracas is Venezuela’s capital as well as the country’s largest city. It is also known as the Central American business epicenter where numerous industries such as banks and malls and universities are located. Despite the city’s major contribution to the economy of the country, Caracas is still considered one of the most violent cities in the world. The disparity between the rich and poor are very much obvious in this area and as a result, those living in poverty are getting involved in various criminal activities. It is also not advisable to roam around the poor neighborhoods in the city due to the danger it brings. As a matter of fact, 3.862 homicides were recorded with a murder per capita of 118.89 as of 2012.
Further, most of the murder cases and other crimes in the city remain unsolved. But the police forces are doing the best they can in order to bring down the crime rate. As a result, 101 policemen were killed in 2012 alone while on duty.
4. Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco traces its roots as early as the colonial period when Mexico was still under Spanish rule. Its port is used for transporting goods and considered one of the most important ports in the earlier times due to its galleon trade with the Philippines. Over the years, Acapulco became known for its beaches where Hollywood celebrities and wealthy families all over the world visit the city for leisure and relaxation during the 1950s. Aside from the beaches, the city is also known for its nightlife, attracting thousands of visitors all over the world.
At present, the glitz and glamour of Acapulco is long gone. The city is no longer known for its beach resorts and instead, is considered as the world’s second most violent city with 1,170 homicides reported last 2012.
Its port is also used to transport drugs wherein various groups fight in order to gain control of these routes. The city is also known for body dumping, beheading, and drive-bys, making it hard for the local officials to bring back the city’s glory days.
5. San Pedro Sula, Honduras
For two years in a row, San Pedro Sula in Honduras is dubbed as the most violent city in the world. Located in the northwest of the country, San Pedro Sula is Honduras’ second-largest city as well as a major industrial center. It also serves as a major transportation hub. Economically speaking, the city produces commercial products such as coffee, banana, sugar cane, and tobacco among others.
Nonetheless, it is still the world’s most violent city. There are 1,218 reported homicides in 2012 alone and per 100,000 residents, 169 are murdered.
This means that every day, 3 people are being killed for no reason. No one is spared from the killing spree – residents, gang members, tourists, and even ex-pats. As a result, the Peace Corps pulled out its volunteers and various countries all over the world are raising travel warnings and a possible travel ban towards the city.
Whether the national government is doing something about the situation remains a puzzle to many. Until the situation gets better, we can only pray for the people in those cities.