Countries With the Highest Rate of Violent Crime [Top 30 List]


Countries With the Highest Rate of Violent Crime
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In this article, we’ll explore the 30 Countries With the Highest Rate of Violent Crime. We won’t delve into an extensive analysis of violent crime statistics and how they affect business activity. Instead, let’s take a closer look at these nations and their challenges with violent crime.

The National Institute of Justice defines violent crime as any crime involving harm or the threat of violence. These crimes include murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, and robbery. The prevalence of violent crime in a country can serve as an indicator of its overall law and order situation. Nations with strong governance and the rule of law tend to attract investments and foster business growth, while areas grappling with deteriorating security conditions often repel potential investors.

Take countries like Singapore, Denmark, and New Zealand, for instance. They boast some of the lowest crime rates globally and consistently rank high in ease of doing business. Over the past decade, Singapore has managed to draw investments from over 4,500 US-based corporations. A remarkable success story is Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), which has established several Google data centers in Singapore.

In 2011, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) acquired 2.45 hectares of land to establish its inaugural data center in Singapore and Southeast Asia. This facility became operational in 2013. Just two years later, in 2015, Google inaugurated its second building, and by 2022, its third data center in Singapore was up and running. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has invested a substantial sum, up to $850 million, in data centers in Singapore. In fact, a significant number of US corporations have chosen Singapore as their headquarters.

Conversely, several African countries grapple with some of the highest rates of violent crime globally, making it challenging to lure foreign investments. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) underscored this issue in its World Investment Report for 2023, revealing that investment flows to the continent are expected to decrease by $45 billion in 2022.

Business Impacts of Violent Crime

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) has announced its intention to shut down 16 of its stores in the Los Angeles and Seattle metropolitan areas in 2022. The reason behind this decision is the surge in violent crime and drug-related issues in the vicinity of these stores. Data provided by the local police departments in both Seattle and Los Angeles seems to back up Starbucks Corporation’s (NASDAQ: SBUX) concerns. Property crimes, including armed robberies and burglaries, have seen a significant increase in Seattle, nearly 20% higher than in the previous year. A similar trend is observed in Los Angeles, with such crimes up by 14% compared to the previous year.

In a letter addressed to its employees, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) explained the store closures, stating that they cannot continue to operate as a partner if they do not feel safe at work.

Back in 2017, Mexico faced a setback in its growing reputation as a film production hub. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), known for its crime drama series “Narcos,” experienced a tragic incident. A location scout working on scouting locations in central Mexico for the upcoming season of “Narcos” was shot and killed. Carlos Muñoz Portal was found dead in his car in Temascalapa, one of the most violence-prone cities in the country. “Narcos,” a global hit produced by Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), focuses on the drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico.

The Approach We Follow

We’ve compiled a list of 30 countries with some of the highest rates of violent crime, using data primarily sourced from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the year 2021. In cases where 2021 data wasn’t available from the UN, we utilized the most recent data from the previous year.

Our ranking criteria are based on four key metrics: murder, sexual violence (encompassing rape), aggravated assault, and kidnapping. Each metric is measured per 100,000 of the population. To provide a comprehensive view, we’ve assigned weights to these metrics. Murder carries a weight of 50%, while sexual violence holds 30%. Aggravated assault and kidnapping are each weighted at 10%. This weighting reflects the severity of these crimes, with murder and sexual violence being of greater concern.

We calculated weighted scores for each metric and then combined these scores to determine an overall ranking. The countries listed in this article are arranged in ascending order based on these scores. In cases where two or more countries had identical overall scores, we differentiated them by considering higher homicide rates.

Top Countries with the Highest Rate of Violent Crime

1. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 30.67
  • Serious Assault: 528.52
  • Kidnapping: 9.56
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 258.00
  • Overall Score: 0.947

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a small southern Caribbean nation with a population of just 0.1 million, unfortunately stands at the top of the list when it comes to countries with the highest rates of violent crime. One concerning trend on the island is the increase in reported cases of rape, affecting victims ranging from five-year-old girls to 85-year-old women.

2. Saint Lucia

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 38.96
  • Serious Assault: 712.49
  • Kidnapping: 5.57
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 225.99
  • Overall Score: 0.944

Saint Lucia secures the second spot on our list, and unfortunately, statistics affirm a significant presence of violent crime on the island. Instances of homicide, armed robberies, and sexual assaults are regrettably common occurrences in this nation.

3. South Africa

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 41.87
  • Serious Assault: 295.46
  • Kidnapping: 9.63
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 175.08
  • Overall Score: 0.924

Taking the third spot on our list is South Africa, which grapples with a substantial rate of violent crime. This includes a range of offenses, from murders and rapes to kidnappings and robberies. It’s concerning to note that in a mere three-month period from July to September 2022, over 7,000 people lost their lives to murder in South Africa.

4. Saint Kitts and Nevis

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 29.41
  • Serious Assault: 378.10
  • Kidnapping: 4.20
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 163.84
  • Overall Score: 0.881

Saint Kitts and Nevis ranks among the countries with one of the highest rates of violent crime globally. In 2021, the nation witnessed a troubling 40% increase in the number of murders compared to the previous year.

5. Jamaica

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 52.13
  • Serious Assault: 116.63
  • Kidnapping: 0.57
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 128.51
  • Overall Score: 0.846

Jamaica is internationally recognized for its iconic celebrities such as Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, and Chris Gayle. However, the country frequently makes headlines for its ongoing issues with crime. Homicide and sexual violence persist as significant concerns on the island.

6. Dominica

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 13.81
  • Serious Assault: 59.38
  • Kidnapping: 8.29
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 248.58
  • Overall Score: 0.846

Dominica, nestled in the Caribbean and renowned for its hot springs and lush rainforests, unfortunately grapples with one of the highest rates of sexual violence globally.

7. Bahamas

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 29.17
  • Serious Assault: 772.48
  • Kidnapping: 3.95
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 87.77
  • Overall Score: 0.825

In the Bahamas, a concerning statistic reveals that 60 out of every 1,000 individuals fall victim to crime each year. Among the various crimes reported, robberies stand out as one of the most prevalent in this island nation.

8. Guatemala

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 19.99
  • Serious Assault: 121.84
  • Kidnapping: 0.80
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 126.10
  • Overall Score: 0.795

In 2021, Guatemala witnessed a tragic toll with over 2,800 recorded homicides, representing a rate of approximately 19.99 persons per 100,000 population. This marked a distressing 5.43% increase compared to the previous year, emphasizing the severity of the situation.

9. Costa Rica

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 11.41
  • Serious Assault: 138.84
  • Kidnapping: 0.27
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 263.41
  • Overall Score: 0.784

Costa Rica grapples with a significant crime issue, with American tourists often falling prey to criminal activities. In the year 2022, more than two-thirds of all reported murder cases were associated with organized crime, shedding light on the challenges faced in the country.

10. Belize

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 31.25
  • Serious Assault: 251.23
  • Kidnapping: 1.00
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 57.50
  • Overall Score: 0.782

Belize, situated along the Caribbean coastline in Central America, holds the unfortunate distinction of ranking 10th among countries with some of the highest rates of violent crime.

11. Ecuador

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 14.02
  • Serious Assault: 35.20
  • Kidnapping: 4.51
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 154.40
  • Overall Score: 0.780

Situated along South America’s western coast, Ecuador finds itself among the nations grappling with elevated rates of violent crime, a fact underscored by compelling statistics that reveal notably high levels of homicide and sexual violence.

12. El Salvador

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 18.17
  • Serious Assault: 100.71
  • Kidnapping: 0.16
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 191.09
  • Overall Score: 0.779

El Salvador has faced persistent challenges with gang violence over the past several years. In 2021 alone, the country recorded a staggering 1,147 homicides, highlighting the severity of the issue. Additionally, incidents of sexual violence continue to be a matter of concern.

In response to this crisis, President Nayib Bukele has initiated a crackdown on gang members within the country. This effort has resulted in the imprisonment of at least 70,000 individuals this year as part of broader measures to address the issue.

13. Trinidad and Tobago

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 29.36
  • Serious Assault: 47.92
  • Kidnapping: 1.33
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 90.01
  • Overall Score: 0.770

Trinidad and Tobago have been witnessing a concerning trend of rising homicide rates since 2014. Compounding the issue, incidents of sexual violence and violence against women have surged to alarming levels, reaching an all-time high.

14. Panama

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 12.64
  • Serious Assault: 107.85
  • Kidnapping: 0.05
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 305.75
  • Overall Score: 0.767

Panama grapples with a series of distressing crimes, including shootings, robberies, rapes, and express kidnappings often taking place near ATM facilities. The gravity of the situation is underscored by the fact that over 550 people fell victim to murder in the country in 2021.

15. Namibia

  • (Rate per 100,000 population)
  • Homicide: 12.45
  • Serious Assault: 374.09
  • Kidnapping: 2.73
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 97.62
  • Overall Score: 0.759

Namibia secures the 15th position on the list of nations facing high rates of violent crime. In this African country, the overall crime rate was estimated at 12.45% in 2021, reflecting a slight increase from the 12.17% reported in 2020.

16. Eswatini

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 12.66
  • Serious Assault: 352.10
  • Kidnapping: 4.53
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 84.80
  • Overall Score: 0.758

Eswatini, previously known as Swaziland, is a southern African nation nestled between Mozambique and South Africa. Unfortunately, Eswatini grapples with prevalent issues such as homicide, armed robberies, and carjackings.

17. Antigua and Barbuda

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 17.16
  • Serious Assault: 3.26
  • Kidnapping: 3.24
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 130.00
  • Overall Score: 0.746

Antigua and Barbuda experienced a troubling surge in its homicide rate, witnessing a significant 55% increase between 2020 and 2021. This mirrors a common trend in many other Caribbean islands, where the rate of violent crime per 100,000 population remains notably high.

18. Botswana

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 10.55
  • Serious Assault: 745.32
  • Kidnapping: 0.09
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 211.90
  • Overall Score: 0.746

Situated in southern Africa, Botswana contends with one of the world’s highest crime rates, particularly in urban centers like Gaborone, Francistown, and Maun. It’s worth noting, however, that attacks on tourists are infrequent in this country.

19. Barbados

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 11.38
  • Serious Assault: 281.65
  • Kidnapping: 1.42
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 110.24
  • Overall Score: 0.743

Barbados has witnessed a consistent decrease in violent crime figures since the early 2000s. Nonetheless, this Caribbean island nation still maintains a status as an area with relatively high crime rates.

20. Mexico

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 28.18
  • Serious Assault: 53.99
  • Kidnapping: 0.81
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 84.50
  • Overall Score: 0.742

Mexico faced a grim reality in 2021, with nearly 40,000 reported murders. Government data also reveals a distressing statistic: almost half of Mexican women have experienced sexual violence in some form during their lives.

21. Honduras

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 38.25
  • Serious Assault: 25.19
  • Kidnapping: 0.33
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 67.70
  • Overall Score: 0.734

Under the leadership of Xiomara Castro, the Honduran government has achieved notable strides in curbing homicides. Nevertheless, in 2021, with a rate of 38.25 murders per 100,000 people, Honduras still found itself among the most perilous countries in the Americas.

22. Bermuda

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 10.91
  • Serious Assault: 58.47
  • Kidnapping: Not Available
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 222.77
  • Overall Score: 0.706

Bermuda, celebrated for its picturesque pink-sand beaches, unfortunately garners attention for its elevated incidence of violent crimes. On our list, this island nation secures the 22nd position.

23. Grenada

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 4.01
  • Serious Assault: 1587.35
  • Kidnapping: 0.01
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 601.88
  • Overall Score: 0.705

Regrettably, Grenada holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of sexual violence and serious assault cases globally. Additionally, it has the most alarming record for rape among Caribbean nations.

24. Suriname

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 5.71
  • Serious Assault: 246.10
  • Kidnapping: Not Available
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 329.00
  • Overall Score: 0.702

Despite the absence of specific kidnapping data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Suriname maintains its position among nations grappling with high rates of violent crime, primarily attributed to a significant number of sexual violence cases. Furthermore, Suriname is a notable destination market for human trafficking, as indicated by the 2021 Organized Crime Index.

25. Guyana

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 16.28
  • Serious Assault: 100.05
  • Kidnapping: 0.01
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 108.13
  • Overall Score: 0.70

Guyana, an island nation in South America celebrated for its beaches, cricket, and vibrant calypso music, also grapples with persistent crime issues. In a travel advisory dated July 17, 2023, the US Department of State advised American nationals to carefully consider travel plans to Guyana, citing concerns about the threat of violent crimes.

26. Argentina

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 4.62
  • Serious Assault: 340.57
  • Kidnapping: 0.25
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 167.27
  • Overall Score: 0.672

Argentina has witnessed a decrease in its crime rate, dropping from 5.37% in 2020 to 4.62% in 2021. However, concerns regarding law and order persist. Just last month, a tragic incident unfolded in Buenos Aires where an 11-year-old boy lost his life during a robbery. The shocking and gruesome nature of this killing led to a significant response, with all major political parties in the country pausing their ongoing election campaigns.

27. Chile

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 3.63
  • Serious Assault: 57.30
  • Kidnapping: 1.81
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 197.35
  • Overall Score: 0.672

Chile has experienced a troubling trend in the past decade, with the homicide rate nearly doubling. This rise in crime levels is a concerning development for a country that was once regarded as one of South America’s safest places to live.

28. Colombia

(Rate per 100,000 population)

  • Homicide: 27.48
  • Serious Assault: 198.24
  • Kidnapping: 0.62
  • Sexual violence, including rape: 15.30
  • Overall Score: 0.668

Colombia continues to grapple with a notable presence of violent crimes. Notably, the nation is known for being a stronghold of some of the world’s most infamous drug trafficking cartels.