Ranking of the 50 most violent cities in the world, where does Mexico rank?

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Mexico is consolidated as the world epicenter of urban violence

– Zamora, with almost 197 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, was the most violent last year.
– The eight most violent cities in the world are all Mexican.
– This is the result of the “hugs, not bullets” policy.


For the fifth consecutive year, a Mexican city is the most violent in the world. In 2021, the most violent Mexican city in the world was Zamora, in the state of Michoacán. The rate of 196.63 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants of this city is the second-highest recorded since this ranking was made, only surpassed by the rate of Juárez of 229.06 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2010. 

These high homicide rates were only observed in cities like Medellín and Cali, between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, when drug traffickers escalated their war against the Colombian state and the killings between rival factions to the maximum.

Of the 14 annual editions of this ranking, in 8 the most violent city in the world has been Mexican (that is, in the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021).

In 2021, the eight most violent cities in the world were all Mexican: Zamora, Ciudad Obregón, Zacatecas, Tijuana, Celaya, Juárez, Ensenada and Uruapan. Mexico is the country with the highest number of violent cities: 18 out of 50.

Mexico has been the world epicenter of urban homicidal violence for three years now. It is not a coincidence, but the result of the policy of “hugs, not bullets”, practiced by the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a policy that consists of leaving criminal groups almost absolute freedom to assassinate, disappear, people, extort and steal.

In addition to the cities included in the ranking, there are other Mexican cities that do not reach 300 thousand inhabitants but have rates above 100 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants, as is the case of Fresnillo, Manzanillo, Guaymas, and Tecate. This city stands out with a rate of 247 homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2021.

And all this without considering the high number of disappeared in Mexico, registered especially since 2007. In 2021, according to official data, 9,473 people were disappeared. Many of these people were deprived of their liberty and later assassinated by hitmen from criminal groups, although their bodies do not appear.

Other novelties presented by the ranking are:

No city in Venezuela was included, not because violence has suddenly and miraculously disappeared in that country, but because there is simply no way to measure it.

The city with the highest crime rate for 2021 is Caracas in Venezuela.

The city was also ranked the least-safe last year.

Venezuela has one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the world.

• Included in the 2020 ranking, the following ten cities left the 2021 ranking: Rio Branco and Maceió (Brazil); Minatitlan and Victoria (Mexico); Barquisimeto, Caracas, Cumaná, Guayana, Maturín, and Valencia (Venezuela).

• The 2021 ranking included the cities of: Macapá and Manaus (Brazil, in both cases it was re-entry); Buenaventura and Palmira (Colombia, the first for the first time and the second re-entry); Milwaukee and Philadelphia (the United States, both for the first time); Port-au-Prince (Haiti, re-entry); Guadalajara and Zamora (Mexico, the first re-entry and the second for the first time). 

• Of the 50 cities in the 2021 ranking, 18 are located in Mexico, 11 in Brazil, 7 in the United States, 4 in South Africa, 4 in Colombia, 2 in Honduras, and there is one from Puerto Rico, one from Haiti, one from Ecuador and one from Jamaica.

• Forty-six cities are located in the American continent and 38 in Latin America.

• In the 50 cities, the average rate was 48.08 (35,032 intentional homicides among 72,856,277 inhabitants). It should be noted that in 2019 (there is still no information on the most recent year), according to the World Health Organization, the world average rate was 6.15 (474,692 homicides and 7,713,468,100 inhabitants).

• Of the 50 cities, half have rates above the average rate of 48.08 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

List of the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2021

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Source: seguridadjusticiaypaz.org.mx, statista.com

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