1. Bogota, Colombia
While security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, violence by narco-terrorist groups continues to affect some rural areas as well as the capital city, Bogota. In August 2010, a car bomb exploded outside the Caracol radio station in Bogota and in October, Colombian authorities claimed that they had foiled another car bomb attack directed at the National Administrative Center in Bogota. Some criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips. The fact that Colombia has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world is quite enough for understanding how dangerous Botota is.
2. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Ciudad Juárez is one of the world’s fastest growing cities in spite of the fact that it has been called “the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones.” Unfortunately, it seems that crime is growing along with the city. There were around 1,400 murders in the city in 2008 and over 2,500 drug-related deaths over the same period in 2010. Public life is almost paralyzed out of fear of being hit by a stray bullet or kidnapped. Over the past 10 years Ciudad Juárez has seen more than 400 women fall victims to sexual homicides.
3. St. Louis, Missouri
According to a latest study analyzing cities based on their FBI statistics for murder, rape, robbery, and assault, St. Louis top the list of the most dangerous city in America, beating Camden, Detroit and New Orleans, last year’s most dangerous cities. After first being pronaunced ‘America’s Most Dangerous City’ in 2006 and coming in second place in 2009, St. Louis has once again reached the top. St. Louis had 2,070.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared with a national average of 429.4. Overall, east St. Louis city is the area of nearly 65% of the crime.
4. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Despite the governmental changes that occurred in 2004, Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of Haiti, still regularly sees violent outbreaks and demonstrations. There is no real police force that keeps the violence under control in the city and the entire country and many towns in Haiti are literally controlled by criminals. Furthermore, while a U.N. force has provided assistance to police in the country since 2004, their presence does not guarantee absolute security for visitors or residents. Haiti is among the four most important countries for drug transit to the U.S. Kidnapping, murders, death threats, drug-related shootouts, car-jacking, armed robberies and home break-ins are common in Port-au-Prince.
5. Mogadishu, Somalia
In August and September of 2010, terrorists launched a military offensive attack against the Transitional Federal Government and African Union. In August, a roadside bomb exploded and damaged three civilian minibuses killing nine people and wounding 25, and in September, two suicide bombers killed themselves in an attack on Mogadishu airport. Murder, kidnapping, illegal roadblocks, banditry, and other violent incidents and threats to American citizens and other foreigners can occur in Mogadishu, as well as in any region of Somalia. Unpredictable armed conflicts among rival militias are prevalent in and around the city. Terrorist attacks, cross-border warring and brutal, violent street crime wrack the country on a daily basis.
6. Caracas, Venezuela
In our previously published article we have listed Caracas among the 10 most dangerous cities in the world in 2010. Well, it keeps its place on the list in 2011. The murder rate in the capital of Venezuela is said to be among the highest in the world, with much of that violence being related to drug trafficking and resulting from the fact that the country is located between the U.S. and Columbia. Armed robberies are common in the city, even in areas presumed safe and visited by tourists. Express kidnappings, in which victims are seized in an attempt to get quick cash in exchange for their release, are a problem. Even worse, police investigations into kidnappings have revealed that police officers are often involved. Crime is even rampant at the airport, which itself is said to be rife with corruption. And of course, pickpockets, hotel thieves, scammers and grifters abound.
7. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Crime is a serious concern throughout Port Moresby, capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea. If you decide to travel there, you are at a greater risk of violent crimes such as rape and robbery. Also, carjackings, stoning of vehicles, pickpockets, armed robberies are problems in and around the city. Visiting unguarded public sites such as golf courses, beaches, parks or cemeteries can be dangerous for visitors. Even public transportation is dangerous, making car rental the safest way to get around the country. Beside the criminal, Papua New Guinea is in an active seismic zone: tsunamis, earthquakes and landslides can occur.
8. Grozny, Chechnya, Russia
In 2003 the UN called Grozny the ‘Most Destroyed City on Earth.’ The city has undergone very destructive warfare since the 1990s, when the Russian army demolished much of the city. Gangsters, mob and corruption create problems for little remaining authority. Organized Crime is rampant. Political and criminal murder, as well as rape rates, are very high and kidnappings are a serious issue. Some destroyed buildings are being rebuilt, but many continue to live without electricity or water. Many Chechens have fled to places like Dagestan or Azerbaijan, as their native country is not safe.
9. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
If you decide to travel to the Dominican Republic this year, you should strongly consider leaving valuable property at home. Crime continues to be a big problem throughout the Dominican Republic. While mugging and pick pocketing are the most common crimes against tourists, reports of violence against both locals and foreigners are growing and reports of car theft have increased. Also, demonstrations, protests and general strikes occur periodically. Although political demonstrations don’t generally occur in areas frequented by tourists and are generally not targeted at foreigners, it is advisable to exercise caution when traveling throughout the country.
10. Muzaffarabad, Kashmir, Pakistan
Although it is considered a “paradise on earth,” primarily known for its captivating beauty serene lakes, dazzling rivers and splendid gardens, Kashmir is thought by many academics to be the place where the next nuclear holocaust will occur. The region is divided among 3 countries (India, Pakistan and China) in a territorial dispute. These 3 countries are Nuclear armed states, and the tension in Kashmir has resulted in nuclear brinkmanship between Pakistan and India on several occasions. Rallies, demonstrations, and processions occur regularly throughout Pakistan on very short notice. Organised crime in Pakistan include drug trafficking, forged Indian currency printing, extortion, murder for hire and fraud. Furthermore, other criminal operations engage in human trafficking, black marketeering, corruption, political violence, abduction, terrorism etc.