13 Dangerous Cities Around the World to Avoid, and 4 Safe Ones to Venture off to Instead

Steve Cummings

Hotel Indonesia

The charm of exploring distant lands and immersing oneself in the unknown is a dream shared by many. This yearning to explore brings with it a wave of excitement and the opportunity to experience the world from a myriad of perspectives. However, the thrill of adventure is often met with the pragmatic concerns of safety. In identifying the world's most dangerous cities, we look beyond the picturesque landscapes and vibrant streets to consider crime rates, safety indices, and travel advisories that paint a more complex picture of these destinations. 

1. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico

Ostimuri Children's Park
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Ciudad Obregon, located in Sonora, Mexico, has a population exceeding 300,000. Despite its picturesque qualities, it was ranked as the second-most dangerous city globally in 2021, with a murder rate of 155.77 per 100,000 people. The city has become crucial in the criminal underworld, particularly in drug and human trafficking, contributing significantly to its gang-related violence. Remarkably, Ciudad Obregon only began to be recognized for its high crime levels in 2014.

2. Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco, Mexico
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Acapulco, once a glamorous destination for celebrities, has drastically changed due to escalating drug-related violence. The city's hillside areas are now dominated by dangerous gangs, such as 221 and Los Locos, involved in various criminal activities, including kidnapping and murder, contributing to a high homicide rate of 111 per 100,000 inhabitants.

This surge in violence has severely impacted the local tourism industry, deterring both visitors and residents alike due to safety concerns. In response to the lack of security, some local business owners have resorted to paying for protection. It's advised visitors seeking to explore Acapulco use bulletproof vehicles for their safety.

3. Legazpi City, The Philippines 

Legazpi City, Philippines
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Legazpi, a city in The Philippines, is situated near the highly active Mount Mayon volcano, which has shown heightened activity over the last decade. A recent eruption forced 16,000 people to evacuate. To mitigate future risks, plans for a large evacuation center have been unveiled to safeguard residents from potential volcanic threats. Despite the inherent dangers of living near an active volcano, over 200,000 people reside in Legazpi, drawn by the city's benefits, including the potential for geothermal energy, showcasing the community's resilience and willingness to coexist with natural hazards.

4. Oklahoma City, USA

Oklahoma City
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Oklahoma City, home to roughly 700,000 people, sits at the heart of “tornado alley,” a region in the USA notorious for its frequent and intense tornadoes. May is particularly vulnerable, averaging more than 24 tornadoes annually In Oklahoma and 5 annually in Oklahoma City since 1950. Despite the significant tornado threat, the city lacks public tornado shelters to avoid potential road blockages during evacuations. Consequently, residents often take matters into their own hands by constructing private shelters to safeguard against the devastating impact of tornadoes. This illustrates the community's resilience and proactive measures in facing natural disasters.

5. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

Ciudad Juarez
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Ciudad Juarez, once a vibrant hub for musical entertainment and nightlife serving El Paso, Texas, has seen a sharp decline in tourism due to soaring crime rates, recording 103.6 murders per 100,000 residents. It's notably the most dangerous city for women in Mexico. The surge in violence, including carjacking, theft, and murder, doesn't specifically target U.S. residents but poses a significant risk to all. Travelers are advised to exercise extreme caution and consider using bullet-resistant vehicles for safety. The reliance on police protection alone is deemed insufficient in navigating the city's security challenges, underscoring the need for heightened vigilance.

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio De Janiero
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Although Brazil hosts several cities with higher crime rates than Rio de Janeiro, Rio remains a focal point due to its tourist popularity. Despite improvements in safety over the past decade, Rio still experiences frequent street crimes, particularly after dark. Visitors can still relish the city's resorts and beaches, but exercising common sense and caution is advisable to navigate these areas safely. The emphasis is on remaining vigilant, especially during nighttime, to fully enjoy what Rio offers while minimizing risks associated with its still-present street crime issues.

7. Baghdad, Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq – January 20, 2014:Aerial photo of the city of Baghdad, and shows where residential complexes and the Tigris River and bridge. and many of cars were passing. The city of Baghdad, capital
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Iraq, and particularly its capital, Baghdad, has long been marked by violence, including bombings and gunfire, leading to a strong advisory against travel for Americans. The country's safety outlook remains bleak, especially with the uncertainty following the departure of U.S. troops. As a nation scarred by conflict, safety concerns persist, making it unlikely to be deemed safe for travelers in the near future. The violence in Baghdad, characterized by sporadic terrorist attacks, further underscores the advisability against visiting unless absolutely necessary, highlighting the country's ongoing struggle with instability and conflict.

8. San Pedro Sula, Honduras

San Pedro Sula
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This city has consistently been listed among the most violent globally, with an alarming homicide rate of 51.2 per 100,000 residents, but was at one point the highest reported worldwide. The widespread issue of arms trafficking has contributed to the rampant availability of illegal firearms across the area. Given these severe safety concerns, it is strongly advised tourists steer clear of visiting this city, where the risk of violence is significantly high.

9. Natal, Brazil

Natal, Brazil
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Natal, despite its appeal as a tourist destination, holds a grim reputation for leading in various crimes, including physical and sexual assault, theft, and carjacking. The city's murder rate stands at a concerning 75 per 100,000 inhabitants. The root causes of this high crime rate are primarily poverty and ongoing conflicts between gangs and prisoners. These factors contribute to an environment where violence is prevalent, making safety a significant concern for both residents and visitors. 

10. Pretoria, South Africa

Pretoria, South Africa
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Pretoria is among the world's most dangerous cities, presenting significant risks to travelers, particularly after dark. The city is plagued by armed robberies and gang violence, making it unsafe to venture out at night, even in groups. Pretoria's high level of danger necessitates extreme safety measures, such as traveling in armored vehicles, to protect oneself from potential attacks. Visitors are strongly advised to exercise caution and prioritize safety due to the prevalent security issues, underscoring the city's challenging security situation and the importance of taking preventive actions to avoid becoming victims of crime.

11. Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia
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Jakarta faces a critical challenge, with nearly half of the city situated below sea level, rendering the northern parts particularly prone to flooding. The situation is exacerbated by inadequate sewerage systems and infrastructure that cannot handle high volumes of water. Consequently, residents are becoming increasingly familiar with frequent flooding, which has become an annual ordeal. Recent studies have highlighted an alarming trend of the city sinking at a rate of 5 to 10 centimeters annually. This worrying development has intensified the search for more effective solutions to address the escalating flood risk and the city's ongoing subsidence.

12.Teresina, Brazil

Teresina, Brazil
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Teresina, renowned as Brazil's hottest city, experiences intense summer temperatures averaging 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius), seldom dipping below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Its sweltering and humid conditions have earned it the title of the world's most lightning-struck city. Situated in Brazil's ‘flash lightning flatlands' or ‘chapada do corisco,' this region ranks third globally for the frequency of lightning strikes. Besides its climatic extremes, Teresina also grapples with significant crime issues, notably appearing in the top 50 cities worldwide for homicide rates in 2017, reflecting the multifaceted challenges faced by its residents.

13. Baltimore, USA

Baltimore, Maryland
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Baltimore is a popular destination renowned for its vibrant art scene and diverse cuisine. Despite its attractions, the city deals with significant crime issues, including high levels of violent crime, with a notable murder rate of 56 per 100,000 people. Tourists are generally safe but must remain vigilant against pickpockets, even in secure areas. While most visitors can enjoy what Baltimore offers without serious incident, they are advised to steer clear of the city's more hazardous areas to avoid potential risks.

Safest Cities in the World

Melbourne, Australia
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Here are the four safer options that you may want to choose while you select your next travel destination.

1. Melbourne, Australia 

Melbourne, Australia
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Melbourne is celebrated as one of the top 10 safest cities globally, distinguishing itself with remarkably low levels of violent crime compared to other major cities. Its reputation for safety is bolstered by efficient emergency response systems and proactive policing, ensuring the well-being of its residents and visitors.

Additionally, the city is known as Australia's cultural capital, offering an array of picturesque parks that enhance its appeal as a livable and inviting destination. This combination of safety, cultural richness, and natural beauty contributes significantly to Melbourne's status as a preferred location for both living and visiting.

2. Stockholm, Sweden

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Stockholm, Sweden's capital and largest city stands out for its beautiful waterways, progressive ideals, and exceptionally low violent crime rates. The city's effective law enforcement and civic services are crucial in maintaining high safety standards. Thanks to stringent gun control measures, minimal assault and homicide rates, and robust emergency response systems, Stockholm assures a secure environment for both its residents and visitors. This allows everyone to fully enjoy the city's stunning architecture, cultural museums, diverse dining options, and shopping experiences without concerns about crime, contributing to the overall quality of life and visitor satisfaction.

3. Toronto, Canada

Toronto city skyline, Ontario, Canada
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Toronto stands out as one of the safest cities in North America. It boasts low levels of violent crime and offers a vibrant cultural scene and high-quality amenities. Despite minor petty crimes, the city ensures a feeling of security among residents and tourists alike, supported by diligent policing and the maintenance of safe community environments. The peace and safety of Toronto's streets are further reinforced by strict gun control laws, contributing to the city's overall sense of well-being and security.

4. Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan
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Osaka, recognized as the second-safest city in Japan and ranking third globally, is acclaimed for its remarkably low violent crime rates, making it an attractive destination for tourists. Despite its status as a major commercial center bustling with activity, Osaka's streets and communities are characterized by orderliness, a testament to Japan's efficient law enforcement and comprehensive surveillance systems. The city's commitment to personal safety is further bolstered by stringent gun control laws, ensuring a secure environment for residents and visitors, exemplifying urban safety and security.

Stay Safe While Traveling

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Do not put your lives at risk and travel to these thirteen cities that might be dangerous for you. Instead, travel these beautiful four safer options and enjoy your trip. 

The 16 Friendliest Countries in the World to Visit

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Traveling requires many different things, but when you arrive in a new country, there can be some culture shock. It is a good feeling when you arrive, and people are friendly and willing to help you. As you travel, this list of the friendliest countries in the world can help you decide on the destinations you want to travel to. 

The 16 Friendliest Countries in the World to Visit

The 13 Most Peaceful Countries in the World To Visit

Salzburg Austria
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The world is a mosaic of cultures and landscapes, each with a unique allure. Amidst this diversity, certain countries stand out for their exceptional peace and calmness. These 13 most peaceful countries offer more than just breathtaking scenery; they are havens of stability, safety, and serenity. From the serene fjords of Scandinavia to the vibrant communities in the heart of Asia, each destination promises a journey through picturesque landscapes and a peaceful way of life.

The 13 Most Peaceful Countries in the World To Visit

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