World Homicide Data Visualizes “Hot Spots”

We’re fond of the notion that maps tell a story. A spreadsheet can be a great way to organize data, but it also obfuscates insights that are made clear visually. Sometimes the underlying story is a good one, like the 36 hours of #love. Other times, as with the map of worldwide homicide data below, the story can expose some negative trends. A lot of good can come from telling a bad story. It can open eyes, inspire change, or simply start a conversation.

View Homicide Rates of World Cities in a full screen map

All of the cities on the homicide map have higher murder rates than anybody wants, though some are much worse than others. The homicide rate typically used to compare cities is the number of murders per 100,000 population of a city. This allows for more direct comparisons than actual homicide numbers.

Although, no matter how you look at the data, Mexico and south in the Americas have some serious issues. The highest homicide rate is in Iguala, Mexico. Its 183 murders for just 118,102 population put it at a rate of 154.95. Another 11 cities also have a rate of at least 100. The largest city in the bunch, San Pedro Sula in Honduras saw 2,777 murders in 2013 (the most recent data) for its population of just over 2 million. That’s a rate of 127.45 per 100,000.

In terms of raw homicide numbers, the only places outside of the above region with more than 1,000 murders is Karachi, Pakistan (population 21 million), and the three largest cities in South Africa.

By comparison, the United States looks tame, with every city on the lower end of the homicide rate. That said, the US has more cities on this map than any other country, with 16. The next highest is Columbia (15), then South Africa (12), Mexico (12), and Brazil (11). To appear on the list at all, these cities have some of the highest violent crime in the world.

Of course, these numbers are all self-reported. There is huge unrest in some African countries, for example, that isn’t tracked here. Also, areas at war are not included.

There are many other insights to be found in this map, or any map you make. Use BatchGeo’s grouping feature to filter and expose the stories within your data. Then go tell them.