• In 2018, 42 of the world’s 50 most violent cities were in Latin America. Four were in the US, with another in Puerto Rico.
  • The region is the world’s most violent, excluding war zones, with bloodshed driven by organized crime and exacerbated by chronic instability, poverty, and corruption.

In 2018, Latin America retained the ignominious distinction of being home to most of the cities on Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security’s annual ranking of the world’s most violent cities.

Of the 50 cities on the list, 42 are in Latin America. Fifteen were in Mexico, 14 in Brazil, and six in Venezuela. Two Colombian cities were on the list, as were two Honduran cities, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all had one. San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, was also on the list.

Four US cities were listed: St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans.

Read last year’s list: These were the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2017

The list is limited to cities with more than 300,000 people and doesn’t include cities in war zones, such as Syria or Ukraine. The council said that went assessing cities, it sought to include “localities that form a unique urban system, clearly distinguishable from others, independent of the geographic-administrative divisions inside the countries.”

Violence in Latin America is in large part driven by drug trafficking and organized crime. Insecurity is also exacerbated by political instability, poverty, and poor economic conditions. Corruption, abuses by officials, and impunity also facilitate crime.

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Mexico has seen profound increases in deadly violence in recent years, driven in large part by the fragmentation of criminal groups. This year Mexico displaced Brazil as the country with the most cities on the list, despite Brazil having some 80 million more residents. One of Mexico’s most popular tourist cities, Los Cabos, topped the list last year but is not on it this year, which the council attributes to one criminal group winning control of the area.

See the 2016 rankings: The 50 most violent cities in the world in 2016

Incomplete data also challenges the council’s tabulations, particularly in Venezuela, where the government has in the past not released homicide data, and where other estimates, such as those by newspapers, are incomplete or inconsistent.

Venezuela’s “growing inability to count its dead” underscores the very serious crises it faces, the council states.

Here’s the top 50:

50. New Orleans, Louisiana, had 36.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Orleans Parish mounted police officers marching down Bourbon Street in the French Quarter announcing the official end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 2006.sourceReuters

In 2018, New Orleans had a population of 393,292 people and 145 homicides.

29. Chihuahua, Mexico, had 37.50 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Demonstrators wear paper masks with the name of one of 43 Ayotzinapa trainee teachers who were abducted in September 2014, during a march in Chihuahua, November 15, 2014.sourceREUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

In 2018, Chihuahua had a population of 938,713 people and 352 homicides.

48. Teresina, Brazil, had 37.61 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Residents on a street that was flooded by the Poti River in Teresina in the northeastern Brazilian state of Piaui on May 8, 2009.sourcePaulo Whitaker/Reuters

In 2018, Teresina had a population of 861,442 people and 324 homicides.

47. Durban, South Africa, had 38.51 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Strikers from the South African Municipal Workers Union march through Durban in 2011.sourceReuters

In 2018, Durban had a population of 4,055,969 population and 1,562 homicides.

46. Detroit had 38.78 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police officers outside the scene of a multiple shooting in Detroit in 2013.sourceAP

In 2018, Detroit had a population of 673,104 people and 261 homicides.

45. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, had 39.16 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police on horseback next to a man in a park in Port Elizabeth, in South Africa’s Nelson Mandela municipality, June 23, 2010.source(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

In 2018, Nelson Mandela Bay had a population of 1,220,616 people and 478 homicides.

44. João Pessoa, Brazil, had 41.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Authorities in João Pessoa, Brazil.sourceFlickr/Ben Tavener

In 2018, João Pessoa had a population of 1,112,304 people and 460 homicides.

42. Reynosa, Mexico, had 41,48 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Mexican federal police patrol the border city of Reynosa, Mexico, January 10, 2008.sourceAP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

In 2018, Reynosa had a population of 711,130 people and 295 homicides.

41. Valencia, Venezuela, had 42.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Venezuelan army tanks take part in a military parade to celebrate the 188th anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo in Valencia, some 112 miles west of Caracas, June 24, 2009.sourceREUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

In 2018, Valencia had a population of 1,600,662 people and 678 homicides.

40. San Juan, Puerto Rico, had 42.40 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: National Guardsmen arrive at Barrio Obrero in Santurce to distribute water and food to those affected by Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 24, 2017.sourceCarlos Giusti/AP

In 2018, San Juan had a population of 337,288 people and 143 homicides.

39. Distrito Central, Honduras, had 43.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A member of a forensic team in a repair shop where three men were shot dead by unknown attackers, in Comayaguela, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 14, 2017.sourceREUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

In 2018, Distrito Central had a population of 1,242,397 people and 538 homicides.

38. Recife, Brazil, had 43.72 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A demonstrator chasing vandals during a protest against the Confederations Cup and the government of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in Recife City in 2013.sourceReuters

In 2018, Recife had a population of 3,975,411 people and 1,738 homicides.

43. Guatemala City, Guatemala, had 43.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police escort suspected drug trafficker Jairo Orellana at Aurora international airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 24, 2015.sourceREUTERS/Josue Decavele

In 2018, Guatemala City had a population of 3,226,974 people and 1,411 homicides.

37. Manaus, Brazil, had 44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police officers below members of different Amazonian tribes occupying the headquarters of Brazil’s Indian affairs bureau to protest a court decision evicting them from a nearby plot of land, in Manaus in 2013.sourceReuters

In 2018, Manaus had a population of 2,145,444 people and 944 homicides.

36. Tepic, Mexico, had 44.89 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A bullet-ridden SUV seen after a gun battle in which a man identified as head of the Beltran Leyva cartel and several accomplices were killed by Mexican marines, in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, February 10, 2017.source(AP Photo/Chris Arias)

In 2018, the metropolitan area of Tepic had a population of 512,387 people and 230 homicides.

35. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil, had 46.28 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A worker cuts sugar cane in Campos dos Goytacazes in Rio de Janeiro state, November 10, 2010.sourceREUTERS/Sergio Moraes

In 2018, Campos dos Goytacazes had a population of 503,424 people and 233 homicides.

34. Ensenada, Mexico, had 46.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Soldiers uproot marijuana plants to destroy a plantation during an operation in Sierra Juarez, in the Ensenada municipality of Baja California state, Mexico July 16, 2018.sourceREUTERS/Jorge Duenes

In 2018, Ensenada had a population of 542,896 people and 253 homicides.

33. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had 46.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A man lies dead on the floor of a shoe shop in the San Francisco neighborhood of San Pedro Sula, September 7, 2010. Two gunmen killed 18 people in an incident reportedly related to drugs.sourceREUTERS/Diario La Prensa/Handout

In 2018, San Pedro Sula had a population of 777,877 people and 363 homicides.

32. Celaya, Mexico, had 46.99 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Soldiers leave an area where four gang members were killed during clashes with police in Celaya, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, March 11, 2009.sourceReuters

In 2018, Celaya had a population of 510,787 people and 240 homicides.

31. Cali, Colombia, had 47.03 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Colombian police officers arresting three men during a raid, at Comuna 20 in Cali in 2013.sourceReuters

In 2018, Cali had a population of 2,570,905 people and 1,209 homicides.

30. Macapa, Brazil, had 47.20 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Security officers around the coffin of yachting legend Peter Blake prior to being loaded on a Brazilian air force plane in Macapa, December 9, 2001. Blake was killed by pirates on December 6, 2001.sourceREUTERS/Gilmar Nascimento/AE

In 2018, Macapa had a population of 493,634 people and 233 homicides.

29. Salvador, Brazil, had 47.23 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police patrol the Nordeste de Amaralina slum complex in Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil, in 2013.sourceReuters

In 2018, Salvador had a population of 3,914,996 people and 1,849 homicides.

28. Maturin, Venezuela, had 47.24 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: The skyline in Maturin, Venezuela, with the cathedral in the background.sourceBLMurch/Flickr

In 2018, Maturin had a population of 544,069 people and 257 homicides.

27. Palmira, Colombia, had 47.97 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A soldier standing guard alongside explosives confiscated by soldiers during a raid in Palmira, Colombia.sourceREUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

In 2018, Palmira had a population of 310,608 people and 149 homicides.

26. Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, had 48.35 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police stand outside a jail after 12 inmates escaped in Coatzacoalcos, September 19, 2011.sourceREUTERS/Sergio Dario Balandrano Casas

In 2018, the metropolitan area of Coatzacoalcos had a population of 335,077 people and 162 homicides.

25. Aracaju, Brazil, had 48.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Prisoners on the roof of the Advogado Antonio Jacinto Filho state prison, with military police officers gathered nearby, in Aracaju, Brazil, in 2012.sourceSecretaria de Estado de Seguranca Publica de Sergipe/AP

In 2018, Aracaju had a population of 949,342 people and 463 homicides.

24. San Salvador, El Salvador, had 50.32 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police investigators and forensic technicians at a crime scene where two construction workers were killed in San Salvador, El Salvador, October 12, 2016.sourceREUTERS/Jose Cabezas

In 2018, San Salvador had a population of 1,800,336 people and 906 homicides.

23. Baltimore, Maryland, had 50.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police stand in formation as a curfew approaches in Baltimore, April 29, 2015.sourceAssociated Press/Patrick Semansky

In 2018, Baltimore had a population of 611,648 people and 309 homicides.

22. Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, had 50.75 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Vitória da Conquista, seen at night in 2012.sourceJP Negri/Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Vitoria da Conquista had a population of 338,885 people and 172 homicides.

21. Maceio, Brazil, had 51.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Hooded police officers on strike stand guard at a balcony during a clash with Brazilian troops in downtown Maceio, in the northern state of Alagoas, some 1,500 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, in 1997.sourceAP

In 2018, Maceio had a population of 1,012,382 people and 521 homicides.

20. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, had 52.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Patrons eat at a taco stand next to the body of a man on the pavement, in Ciudad Obregon, August 10, 2010. According to local media, the man died after a heart attack.sourceReuters

In 2018, Ciudad Obregon had a population of 343,613 people and 179 homicides.

19. Kingston, Jamaica, had 54.12 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Jamaican police officers patrolling a market area near the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica, in 2010.sourceHans Deryk/Reuters

In 2018, Kingston had a population of 1,180,771 people and 639 homicides.

18. Uruapan, Mexico, had 54.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A police officer at a checkpoint set up after 13 people were killed in battles between rival gangs in two states in central and western Mexico, in Uruapan, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, September 13, 2017.sourceREUTERS/Alan Ortega

In 2018, Uruapan had a population of 346,640 people and 189 homicides.

17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela, had 56.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A rescue worker walks with an unidentified injured man during an uprising at the Centro Occidental (Uribana) prison in Barquisimeto, January 25, 2013. A jail riot broke out after news of an inspection to confiscate weapons at the prison.sourceREUTERS/Diario el Informador

In 2018, Barquisimeto had a population of 1,205,142 people and 683 homicides.

16. Culiacan, Mexico, had 60.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A Mexican marine looks at the body of a gunman next to a vehicle after a gun fight in Culiacan, Mexico, February 7, 2017.source(AP Photo/Rashide Frias)

In 2018, Culiacan had a population of 966,609 people and 585 homicides.

15. St. Louis, Missouri, had 60.59 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A man seen in early 2014 during rioting after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.sourceReuters

In 2018, St. Louis had a population of 308,626 people and 187 homicides.

14. Feira de Santana, Brazil, had 63.29 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: The phrase “against the organization of misery,” a reference to the work of Pablo Neruda, written on a wall in Feira de Santana, Brazil.sourceAndrevruas/Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Feira de Santana had a population of 609,913 people and 386 homicides.

13. Cancun, Mexico, had 64.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: People react as soldiers patrol outside Plaza Las Americas mall following reports of gunfire in Cancun, Mexico, a day after a deadly shooting at a music festival in a nearby town, January 17, 2017.source(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

In 2018, Cancun had a population of 848,465 people and 547 homicides.

12. Belem, Brazil, had 65.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Demonstrators clash with police during an anti-government protest in Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil, June 20, 2013.sourceReuters

In 2018, Belem had a population of 2,491,052 people and 1,627 homicides.

11. Cape Town, South Africa, had 66.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police officers firing on demonstrators in 2013 during a strike by farm workers at De Doorns on the N1 highway linking Cape Town and Johannesburg.sourceReuters

In 2018, Cape Town had a population of 4,322,031 people and 2,868 homicides.

10. Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, had 69.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Demonstrators clash with security forces near the regional office of the National Electoral Council, in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, October 16, 2017.sourceREUTERS/William Urdaneta

In 2018, Ciudad Bolivar had a population of 382,095 people and 264 homicides.

9. Fortaleza, Brazil, had 69.15 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police officers searching participants of a demonstration in Fortaleza, Brazil.sourceREUTERS/Stringer/Brazil/Nereu Jr

In 2018, Fortaleza had a population of 3,939,460 people and 2,724 homicides.

8. Natal, Brazil, had 74.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Riot policemen do a head count of inmates during an uprising at Alcacuz prison in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil, January 24, 2017.sourceREUTERS/Nacho Doce

In 2018, Natal had a population of 1,587,055 people and 1,185 homicides.

7. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, had 78.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Jesus Itriago rests in front of a mural of late President Hugo Chavez, after lunch at the Sidor steel plant, in Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar state, Venezuela, November 7, 2017.sourceAP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

In 2018, Ciudad Guayana had a population of 823,722 people and 645 homicides.

6. Irapuato, Mexico, had 81.44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Members of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America to the US rest at a provisional shelter in Irapuato, Mexico, November 11, 2018.sourceREUTERS/Go Nakamura

In 2018, Irapuato had a population of 580,808 people and 473 homicides.

5. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, had 85.56 homicides per 100,000.

Foto: Forensic technicians at a crime scene where unknown assailants left the body of a man wrapped in blankets on the side of a road on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 22, 2017.sourceREUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

In 2018, Ciudad Juarez had a population of 1,462,133 people and 1,251 homicides.

4. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, had 86.01 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A soldier standing guard at the site of a car-bomb attack outside the broadcaster Televisa in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico.sourceReuters

In 2018, Ciudad Victoria had a population of 365,089 people and 314 homicides.

3. Caracas, Venezuela, had 99.98 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Demonstrators scuffle with security forces during an opposition rally in Caracas, Venezuela, April 4, 2017.sourceThomson Reuters

In 2018, Caracas had a population of 2,980,492 people and 2,980 homicides. The Venezuelan capital has been among the world’s most violent cities for years.

2. Acapulco, Mexico, had 110.5 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: A police officer inspects a body as another body is carried away after they were shot in central Acapulco, Mexico, August 29, 2017.sourceAP Photo/Bernandino Hernandez

In 2018, Acapulco had a population of 857,883 people and 948 homicides.

1. Tijuana, Mexico, had 138.26 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Foto: Police stand guard while forensic investigators exhume a mass grave believed to have been used to bury unidentified victims of drug violence, in Tijuana, August 16, 2017.sourceREUTERS/Jorge Duenes

In 2018, Tijuana had a population of 1,909,424 people and 2,640 homicides.