These were the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2018

brazil gangstaA Brazilian drug gang member nicknamed Giant, 17, poses with a gun atop a hill overlooking a slum in Salvador, Bahia State, April 11, 2013.Reuters

  • In 2018, 42 of the world's 50 most violent cities were in Latin America. Four were in the US, with another in Puerto Rico.
  • The region is the world's most violent, excluding war zones, with bloodshed driven by organized crime and exacerbated by chronic instability, poverty, and corruption.

In 2018, Latin America retained the ignominious distinction of being home to most of the cities on Mexico's Citizens' Council for Public Security's annual ranking of the world's most violent cities, released on Tuesday.

Of the 50 cities on the list, 42 are in Latin America. Fifteen were in Mexico, 14 in Brazil, and six in Venezuela. Two Colombian cities were on the list, as were two Honduran cities, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Jamaica all had one. San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, was also on the list.

Four US cities were listed: St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans.

Read last year's list: These were the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2017

The list is limited to cities with more than 300,000 people and doesn't include cities in war zones, such as Syria or Ukraine. The council said that went assessing cities, it sought to include "localities that form a unique urban system, clearly distinguishable from others, independent of the geographic-administrative divisions inside the countries."

Violence in Latin America is in large part driven by drug trafficking and organized crime. Insecurity is also exacerbated by political instability, poverty, and poor economic conditions. Corruption, abuses by officials, and impunity also facilitate crime.

Mexico has seen profound increases in deadly violence in recent years, driven in large part by the fragmentation of criminal groups. This year Mexico displaced Brazil as the country with the most cities on the list, despite Brazil having some 80 million more residents. One of Mexico's most popular tourist cities, Los Cabos, topped the list last year but is not on it this year, which the council attributes to one criminal group winning control of the area.

See the 2016 rankings: The 50 most violent cities in the world in 2016

Incomplete data also challenges the council's tabulations, particularly in Venezuela, where the government has in the past not released homicide data, and where other estimates, such as those by newspapers, are incomplete or inconsistent.

Venezuela's "growing inability to count its dead" underscores the very serious crises it faces, the council states.

Here's the top 50:

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50. New Orleans, Louisiana, had 36.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.

50. New Orleans, Louisiana, had 36.87 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, New Orleans had a population of 393,292 people and 145 homicides.

29. Chihuahua, Mexico, had 37.50 homicides per 100,000 residents.

29. Chihuahua, Mexico, had 37.50 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Chihuahua had a population of 938,713 people and 352 homicides.

48. Teresina, Brazil, had 37.61 homicides per 100,000 residents.

48. Teresina, Brazil, had 37.61 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Teresina had a population of 861,442 people and 324 homicides.

47. Durban, South Africa, had 38.51 homicides per 100,000 residents.

47. Durban, South Africa, had 38.51 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Durban had a population of 4,055,969 population and 1,562 homicides.

46. Detroit had 38.78 homicides per 100,000 residents.

46. Detroit had 38.78 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Detroit had a population of 673,104 people and 261 homicides.

45. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, had 39.16 homicides per 100,000 residents.

45. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, had 39.16 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Nelson Mandela Bay had a population of 1,220,616 people and 478 homicides.

44. João Pessoa, Brazil, had 41.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

44. João Pessoa, Brazil, had 41.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, João Pessoa had a population of 1,112,304 people and 460 homicides.

42. Reynosa, Mexico, had 41,48 homicides per 100,000 residents.

42. Reynosa, Mexico, had 41,48 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Reynosa had a population of 711,130 people and 295 homicides.

41. Valencia, Venezuela, had 42.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

41. Valencia, Venezuela, had 42.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Valencia had a population of 1,600,662 people and 678 homicides.

40. San Juan, Puerto Rico, had 42.40 homicides per 100,000 residents.

40. San Juan, Puerto Rico, had 42.40 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, San Juan had a population of 337,288 people and 143 homicides.

39. Distrito Central, Honduras, had 43.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

39. Distrito Central, Honduras, had 43.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Distrito Central had a population of 1,242,397 people and 538 homicides.

38. Recife, Brazil, had 43.72 homicides per 100,000 residents.

38. Recife, Brazil, had 43.72 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Recife had a population of 3,975,411 people and 1,738 homicides.

43. Guatemala City, Guatemala, had 43.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

43. Guatemala City, Guatemala, had 43.73 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Guatemala City had a population of 3,226,974 people and 1,411 homicides.

37. Manaus, Brazil, had 44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

37. Manaus, Brazil, had 44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Manaus had a population of 2,145,444 people and 944 homicides.

36. Tepic, Mexico, had 44.89 homicides per 100,000 residents.

36. Tepic, Mexico, had 44.89 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, the metropolitan area of Tepic had a population of 512,387 people and 230 homicides.

35. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil, had 46.28 homicides per 100,000 residents.

35. Campos dos Goytacazes, Brazil, had 46.28 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Campos dos Goytacazes had a population of 503,424 people and 233 homicides.

34. Ensenada, Mexico, had 46.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.

34. Ensenada, Mexico, had 46.60 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Ensenada had a population of 542,896 people and 253 homicides.

33. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had 46.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

33. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, had 46.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, San Pedro Sula had a population of 777,877 people and 363 homicides.

32. Celaya, Mexico, had 46.99 homicides per 100,000 residents.

32. Celaya, Mexico, had 46.99 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Celaya had a population of 510,787 people and 240 homicides.

31. Cali, Colombia, had 47.03 homicides per 100,000 residents.

31. Cali, Colombia, had 47.03 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Cali had a population of 2,570,905 people and 1,209 homicides.

30. Macapa, Brazil, had 47.20 homicides per 100,000 residents.

30. Macapa, Brazil, had 47.20 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Macapa had a population of 493,634 people and 233 homicides.

29. Salvador, Brazil, had 47.23 homicides per 100,000 residents.

29. Salvador, Brazil, had 47.23 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Salvador had a population of 3,914,996 people and 1,849 homicides.

28. Maturin, Venezuela, had 47.24 homicides per 100,000 residents.

28. Maturin, Venezuela, had 47.24 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Maturin had a population of 544,069 people and 257 homicides.

27. Palmira, Colombia, had 47.97 homicides per 100,000 residents.

27. Palmira, Colombia, had 47.97 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Palmira had a population of 310,608 people and 149 homicides.

26. Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, had 48.35 homicides per 100,000 residents.

26. Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, had 48.35 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, the metropolitan area of Coatzacoalcos had a population of 335,077 people and 162 homicides.

25. Aracaju, Brazil, had 48.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

25. Aracaju, Brazil, had 48.77 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Aracaju had a population of 949,342 people and 463 homicides.

24. San Salvador, El Salvador, had 50.32 homicides per 100,000 residents.

24. San Salvador, El Salvador, had 50.32 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, San Salvador had a population of 1,800,336 people and 906 homicides.

23. Baltimore, Maryland, had 50.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

23. Baltimore, Maryland, had 50.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Baltimore had a population of 611,648 people and 309 homicides.

22. Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, had 50.75 homicides per 100,000 residents.

22. Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, had 50.75 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Vitoria da Conquista had a population of 338,885 people and 172 homicides.

21. Maceio, Brazil, had 51.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

21. Maceio, Brazil, had 51.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Maceio had a population of 1,012,382 people and 521 homicides.

20. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, had 52.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

20. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico, had 52.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Ciudad Obregon had a population of 343,613 people and 179 homicides.

19. Kingston, Jamaica, had 54.12 homicides per 100,000 residents.

19. Kingston, Jamaica, had 54.12 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Kingston had a population of 1,180,771 people and 639 homicides.

18. Uruapan, Mexico, had 54.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

18. Uruapan, Mexico, had 54.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Uruapan had a population of 346,640 people and 189 homicides.

17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela, had 56.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela, had 56.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Barquisimeto had a population of 1,205,142 people and 683 homicides.

16. Culiacan, Mexico, had 60.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

16. Culiacan, Mexico, had 60.52 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Culiacan had a population of 966,609 people and 585 homicides.

15. St. Louis, Missouri, had 60.59 homicides per 100,000 residents.

15. St. Louis, Missouri, had 60.59 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, St. Louis had a population of 308,626 people and 187 homicides.

14. Feira de Santana, Brazil, had 63.29 homicides per 100,000 residents.

14. Feira de Santana, Brazil, had 63.29 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Feira de Santana had a population of 609,913 people and 386 homicides.

13. Cancun, Mexico, had 64.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

13. Cancun, Mexico, had 64.46 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Cancun had a population of 848,465 people and 547 homicides.

12. Belem, Brazil, had 65.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

12. Belem, Brazil, had 65.31 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Belem had a population of 2,491,052 people and 1,627 homicides.

11. Cape Town, South Africa, had 66.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

11. Cape Town, South Africa, had 66.36 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Cape Town had a population of 4,322,031 people and 2,868 homicides.

10. Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, had 69.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

10. Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, had 69.09 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Ciudad Bolivar had a population of 382,095 people and 264 homicides.

9. Fortaleza, Brazil, had 69.15 homicides per 100,000 residents.

9. Fortaleza, Brazil, had 69.15 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Fortaleza had a population of 3,939,460 people and 2,724 homicides.

8. Natal, Brazil, had 74.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

8. Natal, Brazil, had 74.67 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Natal had a population of 1,587,055 people and 1,185 homicides.

7. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, had 78.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

7. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, had 78.30 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Ciudad Guayana had a population of 823,722 people and 645 homicides.

6. Irapuato, Mexico, had 81.44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

6. Irapuato, Mexico, had 81.44 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Irapuato had a population of 580,808 people and 473 homicides.

5. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, had 85.56 homicides per 100,000.

5. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, had 85.56 homicides per 100,000.

In 2018, Ciudad Juarez had a population of 1,462,133 people and 1,251 homicides.

4. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, had 86.01 homicides per 100,000 residents.

4. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, had 86.01 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Ciudad Victoria had a population of 365,089 people and 314 homicides.

3. Caracas, Venezuela, had 99.98 homicides per 100,000 residents.

3. Caracas, Venezuela, had 99.98 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Caracas had a population of 2,980,492 people and 2,980 homicides. The Venezuelan capital has been among the world's most violent cities for years.

2. Acapulco, Mexico, had 110.5 homicides per 100,000 residents.

2. Acapulco, Mexico, had 110.5 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Acapulco had a population of 857,883 people and 948 homicides.

1. Tijuana, Mexico, had 138.26 homicides per 100,000 residents.

1. Tijuana, Mexico, had 138.26 homicides per 100,000 residents.

In 2018, Tijuana had a population of 1,909,424 people and 2,640 homicides.

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