HomeNewsBrief2013 Dangerous Cities List Shows LatAm's Shifting Crime Landscape
BRIEF

2013 Dangerous Cities List Shows LatAm's Shifting Crime Landscape

HOMICIDES / 17 JAN 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

The 2013 list of the world's 50 most dangerous cities, compiled by an NGO from Mexico, shows how shifting criminal dynamics through the year have affected violence in places like Cali, San Salvador, Ciudad Juarez and Medellin.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is the most dangerous city in the world for the third year in a row, according to the Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice. The city posted a homicide rate of 187 per 100,000, up from 169 in 2012.

Caracas, Venezuela has moved from third place to second, displacing Acapulco, Mexico. Cali, Colombia has taken the fourth spot on the list, up from seventh in 2012, while El Salvador's capital San Salvador climbed from 44th on the list to 27th, with a 12-point growth in the homicide rate.

It is also noteworthy that seven provincial Brazilian cities were among the top 15 most dangerous cities in the world, while the traditional epicenters of Brazilian violence, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, were absent.

Meanwhile, major drops occurred in Medellin, Colombia -- which has moved down from 24th on the list to 35th -- and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which is down from 19th to 37th. The nearby city of Chihuahua, on the other hand, rose from 32nd place to 21st place, with a seven point increase in the murder rate.

InSight Crime Analysis

It is unsurprising that San Pedro Sula and Caracas are at the top of the list, as they are located in what have become the region's most dangerous countries. Some of the biggest changes in the list, though, can be seen in the context of a shifting organized crime landscape that has included tenuous peace agreements, criminal migration and turf wars.

In Medellin, homicides dropped dramatically following a criminal pact between the Urabeños and the Oficina de Envigado. Cali, on the other hand, found itself caught in out of control violence as the implosion of the Rastrojos organization sparked a chaotic battle for control of the city and the region's drug trafficking territories.

El Salvador saw a spike in violence beginning in mid-2013, as gang murders in the country rose following an initially drastic fall in 2012 at the outset of the truce between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18 gangs.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Gang Truce: Positives and Negatives

Violence in Ciudad Juarez has been dropping since the Sinaloa Cartel seized tenuous control of the city from the Juarez Cartel, ending the war that saw the city top the most dangerous cities list for two years running. Murders hit a five-year low in January last year. However, there are signs violence may be returning to both the city and the state, and the rising violence in the city of Chihuahua may be a result of this.

Finally, the large number of Brazilian cities high on the list is indicative of the dispersal of violence in the country -- as homicides have dropped in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo they have increased elsewhere amid signs criminal groups have migrated to other areas.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 17 NOV 2022

Hidalgo, Mexico faces a rise in violence connected to a parallel increase in oil theft.

ARGENTINA / 8 NOV 2022

Argentina’s most violent city, Rosario, looks set to beat its homicide record set one decade ago. But the city’s criminal…

ELITES AND CRIME / 15 JUL 2022

Son of former Honduras President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa by a well-armed commando has shocked the country.

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…