The 50 most violent cities in the world

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Latin America holds the ignominious distinction of having the most cities on Mexico's Citizens' Council for Public Security's annual ranking of the world's most violent cities for 2016.

Of the 50 cities on the list, 43 are in Latin America, including 19 in Brazil, eight in Mexico, and seven in Venezuela.

The region's violence is in large part drug related, driven by traffickers and supplemented by gang wars, political instability, and widespread poverty that has been exacerbated by sluggish economic growth or economic reversals.

The council's ranking contains cities with populations of more than 300,000 and does not count deaths in combat zones or cities with unavailable data, so some dangerous cities don't appear on the list

In some cases, the Council has determined homicide rates through estimates based on incomplete data.

In Venezuela, for example, the government has not consistently released homicide data (though it did this year), so to find the rate for Caracas, the Council made an estimate based on entries at the Bello Monte morgue — though, as the Council admits, that morgue receives bodies from an area much larger than Caracas itself.

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The 50 most violent cities in the world
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The 50 most violent cities in the world

50. Durban, South Africa, had 34.43 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via Getty Images)

49. Curitiba, Brazil, had 34.92 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Paulo Lisboa/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images)

48. Cucuta, Colombia, had 37 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images)

47. Vitoria, Brazil, had 37.54 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

46. Manaus, Brazil, had 38.25 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

45. Macapa, Brazil, had 30.25 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via Reuters)

44. Armenia, Colombia, had 38.54 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Armenia was the home of Carlos Lehder — a cocaine-addled neo-Nazi who helped start the Medellin cartel.

(Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Duran)

43. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, had 39.19 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Craig Muller/IRONMAN via Getty Images)

42. Goiânia y Aparecida de Goiânia, Brazil, had 39.48 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Cristiano Borges)

41. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, had 40.95 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Francisco Gonzalez Bolon/Expreso)

40. Chihuahua, Mexico, had 42.02 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Read more about the disappeared Ayotzinapa students here and here.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

39. Cuiaba, Brazil, had 42.61 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Ann Gassenheimer)

38. Teresina, Brazil, had 42.84 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

37. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, had 43.63 homicides per 100,000.

Read more about the cartel-related violence plaguing Ciudad Juarez.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

36. Detroit had 44.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

35. Fortaleza, Brazil, had 44.98 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Stringer/Brazil)

34. New Orleans had 45.17 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Alpeyrie/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

33. São Luís, Brazil, had 45.41 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

32. Kingston, Jamaica, had 45.43 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Hans Deryk)

31. Palmira, Colombia, had 46.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga)

30. Gran Barcelona, Venezuela, had 46.86 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Stringer)

29. João Pessoa, Brazil, had 47.57 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

28. Recife, Brazil, had 47.89 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Guga Matos/JC Imagem)

27. Mazatlan, Mexico, had 48.75 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Daniel Becerril)

26. Baltimore had 51.14 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

25. Maceio, Brazil, had 51.78 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit MARCO ANTONIO/AFP/Getty Images)

24. Culiacan, Mexico, had 51.81 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Daniel Becerril)

23. Guatemala City, Guatemala, had 52.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Cocaine seizures in Guatemala, a major drug transshipment point, recently hit a 10-year high.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez)

22. Tijuana, Mexico, had 53.06 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Over the last two years, Tijuana has seen a spike in homicides, as rival cartels compete for control.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jorge Duenes)

21. Cali, Colombia, had 54 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga)

20. Salvador, Brazil, had 54.71 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Lunae Parracho)

19. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil, had 56.45 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Sergio Moraes)

18. Cumana, Venezuela, had 59.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela, had 59.38 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

16. Vitória da Conquista, Brazil, had 60.10 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Marcos Brandao/Obritonews/Handout)

15. Feira de Santana, Brazil, had 60.23 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

14. St. Louis had 60.37 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

13. Cape Town, South Africa, had 60.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Mark Wessels)

12. Aracaju, Brazil, had 62.76 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci)

11. Belém, Brazil, had 67.41 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Ney Marcondes)

10. Natal, Brazil, had 69.56 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

9. Valencia, Venezuela, had 72.02 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

8. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, had 82.84 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo via REUTERS/Comando Venezuela)

7. San Salvador, El Salvador, had 83.39 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Maturin, Venezuela, had 84.21 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

5. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, had 84.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Distrito Central, Honduras, had 85.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

3. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had 112.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

(Photo credit JORDAN PERDOMO/AFP/Getty Images)

2. Acapulco, Mexico, had 113.24 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Acapulco, and Guerrero state as a whole, has been shaken by spiraling narco violence for more than a year.

(Photo credit PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Caracas, Venezuela, had 130.35 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Official data, released by the Venezuelan government for the first time in several years, put Venezuela's 2016 homicide rate at at 70.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world and up from 58 in 2015. 

Another estimate from a nongovernment organization put the national homicide rate at 91.8 per 100,000 people.

Read more about life in Caracas here.

(Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
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SEE THE 2015 RANKINGS: The 50 most violent cities in the world

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