The study of homicide statistics is a morbid undertaking as such statistics deal with numbers representing real people who were homicide victims.
So why even study it? It is hoped that the discovery of patterns and trends might help in the reduction of homicides.
There are various ways to crunch the numbers. You can compare and contrast homicide rates by country or by divisions within a country. (See Looking at Mexico’s Latest Homicide Stats and those of others in the Americas.)
Or homicide rates can be ranked by city.
A Mexican NGO called the Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y Justicia Penal, A.C. (Citizen Council for Public Security and Penal Justice), whose president is Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, released a list of the world’s 50 cities with the highest homicide rates in 2015.
In order to be on the list, the city must have at least 300,000 inhabitants. The ranking is based on homicide rates calculated per 100,000 inhabitants. (Cities in war zones are not included in the ranking.)
Of the 50 most murderous cities, 41 are in Latin America. (47 were on last year’s list.)
The country with the most cities on the “Top Fifty” list was Brazil, with 21, which is up from 19 last year.
Venezuela was in second place with 8 cities on the list (double from 4 last year).
Mexico was in third place with five of the world’s most murderous cities, which is half of last year’s Mexican city tally of ten.
The United States and South Africa were tied at four cities each, followed by Colombia with 3, Honduras with 2, and El Salvador, Guatemala and Jamaica with 1 city apiece.
Caracas, Venezuela, was the world’s murder capital with a rate of 119.87 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Caracas replaced San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which had been the world’s murder capital for four years straight. In this year’s tally, San Pedro Sula is in second place with a homicide rate of 111.03 per 100,000.
The third most murderous city was San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, with a homicide rate of 108.54 per 100,000. That’s not much higher than the murder rate for the whole country of El Salvador, 103 per 100,000.
The fourth most murderous city, and Mexico’s highest ranked city, is Acapulco, on the Pacific Coast, with 104.73 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Maturin, Venezuela was #5; followed by Tegucigalpa Distrito Central, Honduras at #6; Valencia, Venezuela at #7; Palmira, Colombia at #8; Cape Town, South Africa at #9; and Cali, Colombia at #10.
Mexico has five cities on the Top 50 list:
- Just as last year, Acapulco was the Mexican city with the highest homicide rate, #4 on the list, with a murder rate of 104.73 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
- Just as last year, the second most murderous city in Mexico was Culiacan, capital of the western state of Sinaloa. Culiacan was #17 on the world list, with 56.09 homicides per 100,000, an increase from 42 per 100,000 last year.
- The border city of Tijuana was #3 in Mexico, and #35 on the world list, with a homicide rate of 39.09 per 100,000.
- In 46th place on the world list was Ciudad Victoria, capital of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, with a homicide rate of 30.50 per 100,000.
- The fiftieth most murderous city on the Top Fifty list was Ciudad Obregon, in the northern state of Sonora. It had a homicide rate of 28.29 per 100,000.
Five Mexican cities dropped off the Top Fifty list this year: Chihuahua, Cuernavaca, Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Torreon.
As for the United States of America, it has four cities on the list: They are:
- St. Louis, Missouri, #15 worldwide, with a homicide rate of 59.23 per 100,000.
- Baltimore, Maryland, #19, with a homicide rate of 54.98.
- Detroit, Michigan, #28, with a rate of 43.89.
- New Orleans, #32, with a homicide rate of 41.44.
Note that St. Louis has a higher homicide rate than any city in Mexico with the exception of Acapulco.
As for Baltimore, Detroit and New Orleans, each has a higher homicide rate than any city in Mexico except for Acapulco and Culiacan.
By Allan Wall
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