The most dangerous city in Mexico is Zamora. Having garnered attention for excessive violence, Zamora has recently been called the most dangerous city in the world. With the highest murder rate on our list, Zamora also sees many other crimes like kidnappings, theft, and assault. The homicide rate in Zamora is over 28 times the average rate in the US – 193 per 100,000 people.
Tijuana is also one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico. Its location near the US/Mexican border makes Tijuana a prime area for drug trafficking and drug-related violence and the second most dangerous city on our list. The US State Department urges Americans to avoid traveling to Tijuana, but if you go, you should stick to the downtown area and practice extreme caution. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Tijuana is 138.
Ciudad Obregón is a beautifully scenic city but one of the most violent in Mexico. It ranks third on our list. Not only are there frequent murders and other violent crimes in Obregon, but it is rampant with other types of crime, including property theft, car theft, and assault. Over the last few years, Obregon was named one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Obregon is 135.
Coming in at number four, Acapulco, located in the Guerrero state, was once known as a beautiful beach resort town and a vacationer’s paradise. However, it has since become one of the most violent cities in the world. Though crime risks are lower in tourist areas like Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco, the US has advised citizens not to travel to the Guerrero state, which includes Acapulco. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Acapulco is 111.
Victoria, Mexico, sits in the northeastern region of Tamaulipas. Currently ranked as the seventh most dangerous city in the world, Ciudad Victoria is another highly violent Mexican city. Much of the violence is drug-related and occurs between cartels and in prisons. Travel is discouraged in all Tamaulipas cities, and even traveling through this state is recommended against. Incidents have occurred where tourist and passenger buses were targeted for robberies, and passengers were taken hostage for ransom. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Victoria is 86.
Our sixth unsafe city in Mexico is Juarez. Bordering the United States at the intersection of New Mexico and Texas, this location is perfect for trafficking drugs in and out of the US and is cause for it being one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Juarez is in Chihuahua, where travel is advised against due to elevated levels of crime and violence. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Juarez is 86.
Located in the central state of Guanajuato, Irapuato has seen high rates of violence and homicide, especially over the last few years. As with other locations throughout Mexico, much of the violence is drug-related. Due to the high number of assaults, armed robberies, and kidnappings, the US discourages travel to Irapuato. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Irapuato is 81.
Also in Guanajuato, only about an hour from Irapuato, Celaya has also seen a rise in crime and violence over the last few years. With two prominent cartels in the area, drug-related crimes are widespread in this Mexican city. Extortion and illegal fuel trade also generate crimes. Ranked on our list at number eight, the homicide rate per 100,000 people in Celaya is 79.
Uruapan is in the state of Michoacán, where the most dangerous city on our list, Zamora, is also located. The US discourages travel to this state. Though Uruapan is known for beautiful handmade crafts and avocado plantations, it is also well-known for its steadily increasing crime rate. Carjackings, muggings, and armed thefts occur frequently here, even in seemingly safe areas. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Uruapan is 78.
Home to the Sinaloa cartel, one of the most powerful drug-trafficking organizations in the world, Culiacán, Sinaloa state, rounds out our list of the ten most dangerous cities in Mexico. The crime rate is high in this city and has escalated over the past few years. Armed robberies and kidnappings are common occurrences. The homicide rate per 100,000 people in Culiacán is 61, nearly 10x the average rate in the US.
Of the six most violent cities in the world, five are in Mexico. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that many Mexican cities pose significant safety risks. Currently, the US advises normal precautions for travel in only two states – Campeche and Yucatan. They suggest exercising increased caution in seventeen states, reconsidering travel in seven states, and outright discouraging travel in six.
Many of the most dangerous areas are located along the US border, but that’s not the sole indicator of a high crime rate. Even the most-visited tourist destinations can be dangerous, so it’s imperative to remain vigilant at all times.
While many parts of Mexico are extremely dangerous, most crime and violence are associated with the drug trade and typically not aimed at tourists. If you travel to Mexico, stay in busy resort areas and do not go anywhere alone. Avoid exploring at night and/or displaying valuables, expensive clothing, or other signs of wealth. By being cautious, you can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime.