Mexico’s Ciudad Juárez Is No Longer the Most Violent City in the World

The Mexican murder capital has lost the dubious honor to another Latin American city.

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Stringer / Reuters

Policemen stand guard while conducting an operation during a riot at a prison in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on May 16, 2012

Mexico’s notoriously dangerous Ciudad Juárez may be a household name — for all the wrong reasons — but Honduras’ San Pedro Sula has ousted the Mexican metropolis as the world’s most violent city. Statistics from 2011 reveal that the city in northwest Honduras has beat out Ciudad Juárez as the murder capital of the world, the New York Daily News reports.

Referring to a study by the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, a private think tank within the Mexican Employers’ Association, the New York Daily News reports that 1,143 of San Pedro Sula’s 719,447 residents were killed in 2011 — a murder rate of 159 for every 100,000 people. Although Ciudad Juárez — which the study says has a murder rate of 148 people per 100,000 — has been ranked the most violent city for the past three years, San Pedro Sula has now surpassed it in a very bloody way.

(PHOTOS: Coming of Age in Ciudad Juárez)

The study named the Honduran district of Cortés, where San Pedro Sula is located, as the most violent district in the world, with 122 murders per every 100,000 people overall. In 2010, the Citizen Council found that Mexico’s Chihuahua state was the most violent jurisdiction, but it has since reduced its murder rate from 200 killings per 100,000 citizens to 94, the New York Daily News notes.

Of the world’s 50 most violent cities, 40 are in Latin America; 14 are in Brazil, 12 are in Mexico and five are in Colombia. Mexico lays claim to five of the top 10 urban areas listed in the study.

According to the report, the U.S.’ most violent city is New Orleans, which was ranked 21st on the list. New Orleans has a rate of 58 murders per 100,000 residents. Detroit, St. Louis and Baltimore also made the top 50.

Researchers behind the study warn that the rankings may not be flawless, as governments can skew figures in their favor, the New York Daily News reports. In the study, the authors specifically mention that even though evidence suggests Ciudad Juárez killings have dropped, officials could have adjusted numbers to hide hundreds of deaths.

2011 U.N. global study on homicide offers another grim assessment of Honduras’ violence, stating that the country’s murder rate more than doubled from 2005 to 2010. The Associated Press notes that the Honduran homicide rate is more than 20 times that of the U.S.

(MORE: Gangs: The Mara Salvatrucha)

The New York Daily News suggests that San Pedro Sula earned the undesirable first-place ranking because of a spike in drug-related violence. An Associated Press story from April tells of the city’s problems with gangs, drug cartels and extortion operations. Cash-strapped law-enforcement forces and corrupt officials only compound the problem, according to the AP report.

MORE: What’s the Most Dangerous City in the U.S.?

7 comments
jmendoza0812
jmendoza0812

it doesn't make Juarez any safer being number 2 on the list it is still dangerous so proceed with caution and don't trust anyone

Disquskurr
Disquskurr

Viva Latina America and its great people !!!!!

Now you know why the prison population in the US predominantly Latin and Black !!!!

There is nothing free America !!!!!

All the free slave labor and the $3/hour Latin workers come with a price : They make America a unsafe place to live !!!!!!!!!!!!!

esti000
esti000

@Disquskurr : sorry buddy, not more unsafe than San Pedro Sula!!!!! God Bless America!!! :-)

Andres Saenz
Andres Saenz

This is a response to the Oct. 15th Time magazine issue(t0day's issue) that I just read at Walmart, in particular to the Alex Altman report on Romney and Obama. There were some misleading statements in his report:

1. He dismissed the claim that Obama is a Muslim as "fiction". But it's a fact that Obama IS a Muslim. Please watch this video: 

Obama admits he is a Muslim

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

2. Romney is correct when he said that Obama hasn't done anything on immigration reform. I should know, I live here in AZ. Gov. Jan Brewer has been very persistent with SB 1070 because she believes that the feds in Washington, DC have not done their job of securing the border. Her and Obama are not too fond of each other. Also, I lived in ABQ, NM most of my life, illegal drugs are trafficked across the border and it seems the federal gov't is not doing anything to reduce this illegal activity. I should know because my own brother became a pot addict, now he's in recovery. 

CarolynMarisa
CarolynMarisa

I, too, live in Arizona - am a NATIVE Arizonan and senior citizen - and you, sir, are full of s***!   You're ESPECIALLY full of it with regard to President Obama being a Muslim - obviously another extreme right-winger spouting the usual lies - which I find unusual for someone who has lived in Albuquerque. As for Janice Brewer, she is one of the WORST governors Arizona has ever had - nasty old cackly witch who has never been qualified for the job of governor.  You are OBVIOUSLY a Wal Mart shopper, having obviously taken leave of your thinking processes.  Also, there is no such thing as a "pot" addict (marijuana is NOT an addictive drug, unlike cocaine, meth, heroin, etc.), and legalizing marijuana, which should have been done years ago, would hit the profits of the drug cartels HARD.  You need to check your facts before giving silly opinions which have no merit.

Andres Saenz
Andres Saenz

WOW, and they say old people are nice and respectful? Just watch that video, please. It's a FACT that BHO is a Muslim. His Kenyan father, Barack Obama, Sr., is a Muslim. Most of Africa is Muslim. He bowed down to a Muslim king, he constantly quoted the Qur'an. Please don't stereotype me as an "extreme right-winger", that's just ridiculous and unacceptable. 

Explain to me one last time how my shopping at Walmart translates into a lack of critical-thinking skills? I've supported local AZ businesses, so you obviously don't know me and And don't you dare tell me that pot addictions are not real. You don't know what me and my family have been through with my brother becoming a pot addict. 

SC
SC

@Andres Saenz You are so misinformed it's frightening. On everything you said. The worst is claiming Barack is a Muslim. You're kicking a dead horse. By the way, because it's on youtube doesn't make it accurate. Too much Fox News. And then we have the acclaimed "pot addict." Are you kidding? Pure ignorance. Your brother may be a "pothead," but not "addict." There's a difference. Technically by definition, an addict has physical withdraw symptoms if they abstain from whatever it is they're addicted to. Caffeine has more addictive properties than marijuana. I won't even get into alcohol and tobacco, which claim countless lives on a daily basis. As for marijuana--not one. Look it up. Do some research before you start regurgitating every fallacy you hear. I agree FULLY agree with everything CarolynMarisa has said. Specially concerning legalization of marijuana which would reduce some of the cartels' power and cut expenses in the States while at the same time generating HUGE profits. It's only a matter of time before more and more see the light. You my friend, are still very much in the dark. Colorado and Washington will soon reap the benefits.