Puerto Vallarta (PVDN) – The non-profit organization, Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, annually conducts a comprehensive study, determining the world’s most violent cities. This evaluation is primarily based on the homicide rate per 100,000 residents in urban areas with a population exceeding 300,000, not currently involved in armed conflicts. In their recent 2022 report, the top ten list was overwhelmingly dominated by cities in Mexico, with just a single exception.
- Acapulco de Juárez, Mexico
Despite being a highly sought-after tourist destination, Acapulco de Juárez also ranks as one of the globe’s most violent cities. It stands at number 10 with a reported 65.6 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2022.
Historically, Acapulco was once a glamorous vacation spot. However, drug-related violence has escalated here in recent years. Rival gangs fighting for control of the drug trafficking routes have contributed to the high homicide rate. The city is in the state of Guerrero, known for its poppy production used to create heroin, further fueling violence.
- Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Ciudad Juarez, an industrial hub along the U.S. border, had a distressing rate of 67.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022.
Positioned on the US-Mexico border, Ciudad Juarez is a significant trafficking route for drugs into the US, leading to turf wars among rival cartels. The city has also been notorious for violence against women, with hundreds of unsolved femicides.
- New Orleans, United States
New Orleans is the only city outside Mexico to feature on this grim top ten list. The American city’s homicide rate per 100,000 residents in 2022 stood at 70.6.
- Uruapan, Mexico
Uruapan, situated in Mexico’s western Michoacán state, registered 78.3 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2022, making it the world’s seventh most violent city.
Located in the western state of Michoacán, Uruapan is a hotbed of conflict among cartels over the lucrative avocado trade and other illicit activities. Michoacán has had issues with self-defense vigilante groups, further escalating tensions and violence.
- Celaya, Mexico
Celaya, located in Guanajuato state, secured the sixth spot with 99.6 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022.
Situated in Guanajuato, Celaya has seen an increase in violence due to conflicts between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, fighting over control of fuel theft, known as “huachicol”. Guanajuato is a significant region for fuel pipelines, making it a prime target for such activities.
- Tijuana, Mexico
Tijuana, another Mexican city bordering the United States, reported a striking homicide rate of 105.1 per 100,000 residents in 2022.
As a border city, Tijuana is a strategic location for drug trafficking to the United States. The power struggle between the Sinaloa Cartel and the CJNG has led to an increase in violence. Additionally, human trafficking and violence against migrants are also serious issues in this city.
- Zacatecas, Mexico
Zacatecas, the capital city of the state bearing the same name, is situated in central Mexico. It marked a homicide rate of 134.6 per 100,000 residents in 2022.
The geographical location of Zacatecas, situated in the central region of Mexico, makes it a valuable territory for drug cartels. The dispute between the CJNG and Sinaloa Cartel over these trafficking routes has led to an escalation in violence.
- Obregon City, Mexico
Positioned in northwest Mexico, Ciudad Obregón had a rate of 138.2 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2022.
Located in the state of Sonora, Ciudad Obregón has also witnessed increased violence due to drug cartel activities. The city is on a significant drug route to the U.S, contributing to its high homicide rate.
- Zamora de Hidalgo, Mexico
Joining Uruapan from Michoacán state on this list is Zamora de Hidalgo. With a staggering 177.7 homicides per 100,000 residents, it is the second most violent city globally.
As with Uruapan, Zamora de Hidalgo is in the state of Michoacán. The city has seen a rise in violent crime due to the presence of organized crime groups and their fight for control over drug trafficking and the avocado industry.
- Colima, Mexico
Colima, the state capital located in western Mexico, leads this unfortunate list as the world’s most violent city. The homicide rate here soared to 181.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022.
The state of Colima, although small, is strategically located with a Pacific coast port and proximity to the U.S., making it a contested region for cartels. The fight for dominance between the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG has resulted in high levels of violence.
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