Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Using a 2008 FBI crime report, Forbes Magazine recently released its list of America's most dangerous cities. By compiling rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, it came up with the following:

  1. Baltimore, Md.
  2. Nashville, Tenn.
  3. Charleston, S.C.
  4. Little Rock, Ark.
  5. Orlando, Fla.
  6. Stockton, Calif.
  7. Las Vegas, Nev. 
  8. Miami, Fla.
  9. Memphis, Tenn.
  10. Detroit, Mich.

The same study found that all of these cities have one thing in common -- they are all transit points for Mexican drug cartels [source: Greenburg].

Some of the World's Most Dangerous Places

The countries that rank at the bottom of the Global Peace Index (GPI) -- meaning the countries least at peace -- include Sudan, Israel, Somalia and Afghanistan. Let's take a look at what exactly makes these countries so dangerous.

Sudan, located in northeastern Africa, is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis and internal strife. The majority of the conflict occurs in Darfur, where there's little safety or security. Because of the violence, access to water and electricity is sporadic. This fighting has displaced approximately 2.7 million people and contributed to more than 30,000 deaths -- deaths many claim are the result of genocide [source: Radia]. The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. travelers to defer all travel to Sudan due to uncertain security conditions and the possibility of violence and harassment that targets Westerners.

In Israel, violence and homicides are relatively low within the general population, but the risk for terrorist acts is high. The U.S. Department of State urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Gaza Strip completely and to remain mindful of security measures when traveling elsewhere in Israel.

Somalia, on the east coast of Africa, saw its government collapse in 1991. Since then, the country has been plagued by violence and instability. Internal conflicts have displaced 8.5 million people. More than 100 pirate attacks occurred off the coast in 2008, continuing into 2009. Terrorist attacks and kidnappings are common. The U.S. Department of State recommends Americans avoid any travel to Somalia.

Afghanistan has been in conflict for the past 20 years. More recently, a Taliban-backed insurgency has contributed even more to violence and terror attacks within the country. Levels of violent crime and violent demonstrations are also rising, and relationships with neighboring countries remain tense. Afghanistan's "respect for human rights" score is the lowest on the GPI. The U.S. Department of State warns strongly against any travel to Afghanistan, due to high risk of kidnapping, assassination and terrorist attacks.

These places are all quite dangerous, but which country is the most dangerous?