The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Talkers

October 10, 2012

The world's 10 deadliest cities

(Continued)

That makes Belém, where the homicide rate has hit 78 murders per every 100,000 residents, an attractive piece of real estate, and violence has increased there accordingly. The city also bears the downsides of Brazil's rising prosperity. As the country has grown richer, its inhabitants have consumed more and more cocaine. The Financial Times has called this rise in cocaine consumption — Brazilians now snort or smoke some 18 percent of the global supply — the "most worrying side-effect of the country's recent consumer boom."

Beyond Latin America: New Orleans, Kingston, Jamaica, and Mosul, Iraq

No. 21: New Orleans, United States

New Orleans has made massive strides in rebuilding since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the murder rate — 58 homicides per 100,000 residents — stubbornly remains the highest in the United States. Although the city suffers from the same poverty and easy gun access that afflict many of the world's murder capitals, it isn't known for the kinds of organized gangs that have sent the homicide rates of many other cities skyrocketing.

A 2011 federal government report concluded that murders in New Orleans mainly stem from personal disagreements that spiral out of control, or, as Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas called it, "uncommon endings to very common fights." A flummoxed city administration has sought to stop the killing by deploying "interrupters" to cool tensions on the streets after shootings and prevent more retaliatory violence. When it comes to murder, however, New Orleans remains unlike any other city in the United States.

No. 33: Kingston, Jamaica

At No. 33, Kingston has the highest homicide rate in the Caribbean. Gangs have been entrenched in Kingston for decades, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods such as West Kingston and Grants Pen. But the violence has received renewed attention in recent years as a result of the government's more confrontational attitude toward the country's gangs. A manhunt for one notorious gang leader, Christopher Coke, drew worldwide attention in 2010 when it resulted in more than 70 deaths in the Tivoli Gardens area, where Coke had established his stronghold.

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