You may think you have it hard where you live. Maybe this morning you almost died when some guy in an F-150 cut you off on the freeway, or when it rained so bad last night that your phone beeped with a flash flood warning. Danger is all around us, wherever we go. People have brought guns into schools, shot planes out of the sky, and even used children to sneak contraband across borders. Luckily, we are always on guard and ready for what danger the world has to give us.
In today’s society we all feel like we are in constant danger when we actually may be safer than any other time in human history. Rarely do we have to worry about our neighbor killing us for our land, or having to fight a family of bears for food. Many of us live in a world of comfort, even if we don’t realize it. But not everyone. There are a lot of places on Earth that no sane person should ever choose to stay. Here are the 10 most dangerous places to live in the world.
10 East St. Louis
Talk to people from St. Louis about what it’s like living there and you’ll probably get a tale from a suburban neighborhood. So how is it that the city ranks at the top of every list for violent crimes in the US? Well, that’s all across the river. East St. Louis is not a place the average person wants to be; not only is it one of the most violent cities in the US, but it ranks as one of the most violent crime filled cities in the world. The murder rate is 101.9 per every 100,000 people in the city. That rate blows past the national average of 5 per every 100,000 people (yeah, you read that right) and tops other cities including Detroit and New Orleans. So if traveling to St. Louis be sure to check out the Arch and stay on the West side.
9 Cape Town
Because of the great vineyards, famous landmarks, and beautiful scenery, Cape Town has become a popular destination. A note for anyone planning to visit the South African city: don’t. The most popular tourist spot in South Africa is also the most dangerous part of the country. Tourists are advised to not leave resort areas, speed through red lights at night, and never, ever, go anywhere alone. After years of forced segregation, the city hasn’t fully recovered. The people living in suburban areas are often living in poverty, which makes the area a refuge for gang activity. The city has seen some of the highest murder rates in the world. While there are a lot of areas that are worth seeing in Cape Town, people better make sure they know what they are getting into before heading down.
The rolling hills, the rich culture, and the cocaine. That’s what people know best about the Capital of Venezuela. Well, that and the kidnappings. Caracas is known as one of the most dangerous places in the world partly from the high murder rate, but mostly for the crazy amount of kidnappings. In Caracas anyone is fair game: men, women, children, tourists, even an MLB player once. The poor economy mixed with the lack of police interference has helped the “kidnapping game” thrive in the city. The drug trade in Venezuela has been so damaging on Caracas that crime has become one of the only ways to make a steady living. Bottom line, if you want to visit Caracas, hopefully Liam Neeson is your father.
Istanbul isn’t on here for violence. While there are some areas in the city with a high amount of violent crime, it is not much higher than the worldwide average. However, the city was built on one of the most dangerous fault lines in the world, the North Anatolian Fault. Since 1939 there have been 3 earthquakes along this fault line that have killed more than 1000 people each. Scientists predict that an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 7.0 will hit the city at some point in the next 15 years. Earthquakes can be one of the most devastating natural disasters, and the ‘promise’ of a huge one hitting at any moment solidifies Istanbul’s placement here.
Speaking of natural disasters, this Indonesian island gets its fill time and time again. Most cities on Sumatra are found at the base of a volcano, on a fault line, or in a hurricane prone area. Tidal waves have been caused here by earthquakes happening across the globe. Hell the whole island is one giant disaster waiting to happen. In 2014 natural disasters displaced more than 2 million people in Sumatra according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. This constant threat of so many kinds of disasters makes Sumatra an incredibly dangerous area to live in, or even visit.
5 North Korea
Very little is known about the closed off country, but what we do know is pretty bad. While you may be less likely to die from being murdered, living in North Korea basically means you’re starving to death. If you try to do anything about the fact that you’re starving, then you have a good chance of being thrown in jail or executed for treason. For example, running a private business, or even making money is considered treason. And you can't really get away, if you travel too far South, you’ll be executed for sympathizing with South Korea. Anything can be considered treason if dictator Kim Jung Un wishes it. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect to being in the country is just being non-North Korean. Foreigners are often held accountable for acts they never committed and have been held for years on these false charges.
This city is so dangerous that many UN affiliated countries advise against anyone going unless absolutely necessary. Since 2012 the amount of attacks meant to overthrow the unstable Iraqi government has skyrocketed. However, the rise in attacks has only led to a rise in casualties. It’s recommended that anyone traveling around the city use a helicopter, or armored car if there are no available helicopters. Every major terrorist group (including ISIS) has ties in the city and has plotted an attack there. If you somehow find yourself in Baghdad, head straight for the International “Green Zone.” It may be the only place you can stay safe.
Comic book heroes often get their powers from nuclear radiation that they somehow came in contact with. However, this phenomenon has happened 0 times in recorded human history. Putting yourself near nuclear radiation will not give you super powers, but it probably will kill you. In 1986, a nuclear power plant exploded in a small city in Ukraine. The entire city was based on manning the plant, known as Chernobyl, so when it exploded the entire population was in the radiated area. While the disaster itself only killed 31 people directly, the long-term effects on those who were living in the city are still unknown. Even though it has been almost 30 years since the disaster, the city of Pipyat still is abandoned and considered highly dangerous for anyone who wishes to visit.
2 The Australian Outback
One thing that everyone seems to have learned about the Outback is that everything there is trying to kill you. This is not 100% true. The Outback has gotten this reputation because it houses the most dangerous snakes and spiders in the world, but they are the least of your worries. There have been 0 reported deaths from either poisonous creature in the past 20 years. It’s the sun that's your greatest foe when in the Outback; it’s the number one killer. People are just not used to the rays when they travel from areas with more shade and sun cover (pretty much anywhere else in the world). If going to the area, be sure to grab a hat and a lot of water. Even if you prepare for the sun correctly, the heat will find you, so always be prepared. And hey, if the sun doesn’t get you, there are always the salt-water crocodiles to try.
1 Ciudad Juarez
No matter how many reports the tourism board of Mexico puts out that Juarez is now safe, it’s hard to believe. Often named as “the most dangerous place on Earth that is not an active warzone,” the drug cartels did severe damage to those who called the city home. Perhaps the most striking problem is the femicide that is so prevalent in the city. Femicide is the act of murdering a woman for no reason other than because she is a women. This by itself has been a major issue for over 20 years. Those women who are not killed are often hooked on drugs or forced to work for one of the warring cartels. And that’s just the women, men don’t have it easy in Juarez. Between the drugs, militant policemen, and high levels of poverty, living in Juarez is dangerous, no matter who you are. They may have cleaned up this month for the Pope's visit, but Juarez is still dangerous enough to top the list.