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Most Dangerous Cities to Travel and Live In

Updated on August 31, 2016

Dangerous Cities Best to Avoid

These are all extremely dangerous cities worldwide, and you will want to stay away from them. At least until something changes and the cities get cleaned up by those in charge.

They are amazing and beautiful countries, but the elevated risks involved should remove them from your agenda. Unless you have family living there, you're a news reporter, or a soldier on a mission, It would be best to avoid visiting any of these areas.

The crime rate is very high, especially since you will most likely be a lucrative target, as most foreigners are. Plus, out of town visitors are always easy to spot when in another country.

If you do try to blend in, it will be extremely difficult in most places, unless your some kind of secret agent. You should have other spots, on your to go list. If you absolutely must travel, at least find someone who can act as a guide and accompany you with their knowledge of the immediate areas.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Source

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil, being one of the most beautiful countries in the world, has a negative side to it. The constant crime that goes on day after day.

In most tourist areas you will be fine, since the 2008 PPU crime squad was put together to battle against gangs fighting for drug turf, the police have taken back control of most bigger cities.

But down in the dumps of the "Favelas" or shanty towns overflowing with poverty, you will be like a little mouse walking into the mouth of a tiger in the outskirts of the city. Police have less control than the gang leaders do in these areas. There is just too much going on to handle.

Corruption plays a big role as well, so much reward offered for a simple turn of the head to look the other way, they just can't refuse when struggling with low pay themselves.

Although it is said to be a safer place than it was in recent years, it is still a dangerous city if you make a wrong turn. This has been improved and the country has really cleaned things up and welcomed the 2016 Olympics which are going great by the way, so things are not what they seem in every part of town.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Tegucigalpa, Honduras | Source

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Honduras is considered the murder capitol of the world as a country. Visitors have recommended staying in your Luxury hotel at all times if you're there. Which is not very fun at all.

Criminals have been known to target the most obvious targets and avoid the rest. Those with shiny jewelry and watches. Purses being carried around and single travelers.

With some common sense it's one of the few spots you would avoid becoming a victim for the most part. But it's still a very dangerous place to be. Even the Peace Corps volunteers have off limit areas they wont dare enter. And, they are the Peace Corps.

It is common to see criminals apprehended shortly after kidnappings or other crimes which put police on a chase through the city streets. Automatic firearms and bulletproof vests are taken off of them in most cases. Many other safe cities without the crime would be better spots to visit than Honduras, but this one should be off your list, unless you're extremely cautious.

Juarez City, Mexico with mountains skyline in the background
Juarez City, Mexico with mountains skyline in the background | Source

Juarez City, Mexico

Located right on the U.S. border of the state of Texas. Juarez is known as the infamous murder capitol of the world. The war on drugs has everything to do with it, and those who are making money, will not give up the fight. The traffickers are ruthless and create terror and chaos in the streets.

Gang violence is on the rise daily, a weak and corrupted police force takes a big part of the blame, poverty levels like in most crime infested parts of the world are also a part of it. Violence has stretched over the border into parts of Texas, shopping centers and malls have seen the terror in the past.

They don't care who you are, get in the way of their billion dollar business and nobody can save you. Tourism has died in the area, and local businesses are moving as far away as they can to avoid trouble.

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo | Source

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

With gangs of kids with an average age of 8 years old attacking foreigners at night, how can you feel safe here?

Police corruption as they wrongfully detain tourists and even citizens. They demand money and valuables in exchange for letting there "hostages" free.

Common crimes on the streets in broad daylight include carjackings, armed robberies, and even organised crimes such as criminals luring victims into secluded areas using young girls in need of help as bait, then robbing and/or kidnapping the victims. All of which the poverty rate does no good for.

Street market view in Baghdad, Iraq
Street market view in Baghdad, Iraq | Source

Baghdad, Iraq

There is nowhere at this same moment in time that is experiencing more violence than Baghdad Iraq. Partially because of the wars that constantly go on but prior to the wars there was already much violence going on within the city.

Which is part of the reasoning behind the U.S troops being sent in at the time. The criminals and terrorists are not happy about it, but surely they embrace the violence. This city should be off limits to anyone , and for common folk like yourself and I, entry is not permitted unless you have solid proof and reason to be there.

Constant bombings throughout the day, shootings and kidnapping are only the tip of the iceberg. Some call it "hell on earth", it definitely sounds like it.


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    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 3 years ago from Florida

      I agree with everything you said Lew. Being a "Gringo Presumido", is just asking for trouble. Nobody likes a big shot who looks down at others, especially when you are a tourist. I myself have never had any issues simply using common sense will keep you safe. Not acting scared is also a great way to be, the criminals in these areas sense weakness and fear. A simple courteous attitude like saying good afternoon or "buenas tardes", and perhaps a handshake instead of a rude stare or looking away from neighbors and/or citizens of the country you meet goes very far.

    • Lew Marcrum profile image

      Lew Marcrum 3 years ago from Ojojona, Francisco Moraz├ín, Honduras

      I agree about Mexico. I've never felt comfortable there, but it is a little better since they are using the military for police.

      I live in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and I agree there is a lot of crime, but that is true in all large cities, especially with high rates of poverty. I have never personally had a single problem with robbery, assault, etc. I do know people who have, but it isn't like the criminals are driving down the streets shooting random people. Most crime is due to the drug trade or extortion, or crimes of vengeance for some perceived wrong.

      The new president, Juan Orlando, is making great strides in drug interception and criminal arrests. He has formed an anti-extortion agency that is doing a great job, and the Policía Miltár is making major inroads into eliminating organized gang crime. Much of the crime situation in Honduras has been due to corruption in the judicial system and government. All police now are required to have background checks and polygraphs. If they fail, they're out. Dozens of corrupt judges have been eliminated, some imprisoned, for ties to crime.

      Things are getting better, but it will take time. In the meantime, rural Honduras is friendly and quite safe. Except for some colonial buildings and monuments, there's not a lot to see in the larger cities, but the smaller pueblos are spectacular and safe. If you come to Honduras and don't go out of your way to look and act like a "gringo presumido", you will be fine. If you flash your Rolex watch and rolls of cash, you will be noticed and probably resented. Whatever your wealth, you are not better than these people, so please don't try to impress them. You will only attract the wrong kind.

      Don't be arrogant, and don't try to buy or use drugs, learn a little Spanish, don't wander around the big cities at night, don't act scared, and try to always be with at least one other person, and you will be ok.

    • David Trujillo profile image

      David Trujillo Uribe 4 years ago from Medellin, Colombia

      I hear a lot of terrible things going in Caracas, Venezuela since Hugo Chaves and his party got into power. Everyone I´ve heard off gets mugged in Buenos Aires, although theft is as far as it goes. My own city, Medellin is pretty safe to travel to. There is a gang war going on but it doesn´t leave the "comunas", "favelas" or poor neighborhoods on the hills since the war is about that territory and mostly gang members are the casualties.

    • marwan asmar profile image

      Marwan Asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

      It will be nice to have a wider list because I am sure that there are lots of other places, balance them out maybe, some from Asia, Russia, Europe and I am sure the USA.

    • ShaamCA profile image

      ShaamCA 5 years ago from India

      Corruption plays a big role in most of the countries . Thanks for this great information

    • travelholidays profile image

      travelholidays 5 years ago from India

      Some dangerous cities is still there . Thanks for publishing very informative

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      That all sounds very horrible, good thing you no longer live in Kinshasa. Many times as an American you may be the biggest target in countries like those.

    • profile image

      Em 5 years ago

      I am an American and I used to live in Kinshasa and can attest to the extreme danger and governmental corruption. I was actually held hostage at one time. Other times they tried to pull me out of my car and even tried to impound my car with me inside. I used to hear screams of people along with gunshots from outside our compound's walls.

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 5 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Thanks for sharing this information. Sometimes one does not realise the danger involved in visiting certain places. I am surprised to know about Mexico.

    • CondoLux Rentals profile image

      CondoLux Rentals 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach,South Carolina

      I really enjoyed your article. Although you say Baghdad is "hell on earth", part of me wants to experience that for some reason. I'm sure once you've been there, you leave with a better appreciation for where you live.

    • cheetah786 profile image

      cheetah786 5 years ago

      its bad.. when this world will be entire peace. :(

    • pakibn profile image

      pakibn 5 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

      Great Article...Don't forget to add some Asian countries now :)

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the read Penlady!

      It really does get craaaazzzy out there, there is just too much power in the wrong hands.

    • penlady profile image

      penlady 5 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      I agree with you totally about Mexico. I've read several stories where people 's heads were decapitated, children murdered, the list goes on. And I think was all at the hands of the drug cartel.

      Excellent hub. Voted up and interested.

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      I looked around Stratfor but they denied me accessing full articles. They want to send the articles by email so I passed.

      Anyway, if you find it I'll check it out.

    • profile image

      Marntzu 5 years ago

      The main one I remember off hand was stratfor, but I cancelled my membership after they were hacked. I'll look around, I believe they were citing some UN study in their article.

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      KevinTimothy thanks for reading.

      I have visited the 3 cities in Honduras, Brazil and Mexico.

      Congo and Iraq I have not.

      The list is based on information from MANY MANY different sources.

      Various different news / newspaper sites and magazines, Mercer stats as well as a few travel forums where locals or visitors discuss economic situations where they live or have experienced from recent visits .

      I chose the 5 because of them being common tourist areas people go to. Except for Iraq and Congo, I chose them because of the differences in violence and in common crimes in the way they are conducted on a daily basis, (car bombings and suicidal bombings in Iraq and gangs of young kids leading attacks or crimes committed by police in Congo) So I thought they would be interesting additions.

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for commenting Marntzu however, Mexico city is one of the more safer areas of Mexico right now. It's more attractive to tourists, police have greater control and offer much more security, it's more of a "common sense" spot.

      If you mind your business and enjoy your day at the tourist areas, ruins, museums, resort etc. You'll be fine. Tourism is a HUGE part of Mexicos economy, and the politicians like money too.

      So they have focused on cleaning up the mexico city area and surrounding states for years now, there is less resistance from drug lords and gangs, it will also cost them less, considering the amount of money coming in from tourism for those areas especially since the 2012 "end of the world mayan" stories. Tourism is expected to double or triple for 2012.

      This site shows you the amount of drug related killings for all of mexico by state, notice the darkest shading (=more murders) on top of the map, that's ciudad juarez' state. This map was put together by a security consultant who lives IN MEXICO CITY (which has very little to no shading on the map) and has lived there for several years.

      I myself have been to Mexico city twice this year, and I felt safe and respected by the locals who were friendlier than the rest of Central America I have been to, other than Guatemala (where I am living right now) It's even on this very respectable website's safest cities list for travelers abroad it's dated from 2011 but still very accurate.

      Recent posts to the forums and conversation with locals of Mexico's southern states, plus local newspapers and everything else I have brought up lead me to believe your sources may not be very accurate at all.

      If you by any chance have a link of some sort you can post for me I would check it out for sure, I love a great discussion where we can break things down with the facts, it keeps me updated :-).

      I will have to disagree with your sources until than Marntzu but thank you for stopping by and reading!

    • luisj305 profile image

      luisj305 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the comment Happyboomernurse, glad you enjoyed the read.

    • KevinTimothy profile image

      Kevin J Timothy 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Have you visited these places? What is this list based on? Very interesting piece, however.

    • profile image

      Marntzu 5 years ago

      I've seen a few sources recently that have placed Mexico city above Baghdad in danger level due to the drug war that is going on down there.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Well written hub about some very dangerous cities.

      Thanks for sharing this info. Voted up and useful.