Urban areas tend to attract crime and violent activity, but there are some cities in particular where the general levels of violence are surpassed by a long way. These are those kind of places where yelling out loud, letting everyone know your a tourist or that you have valuable possessions upon yourself might get you into trouble.
In some of these dangerous towns and cities, the rule of law no longer applies and criminal gangs or cartels control everything. So, these are places that, for obvious reasons, you should avoid; and here’s why we’ve decided to feature this list ofg 10 such cities, controlled by gangs. Keep away!
The capital of Kosovo, which only declared itself an independent country in 2008 after years of ethnic conflict between Serbs and Albanians, Pristina is not a pleasant place to live. Thousands have been leaving the city to search for a better life in other European countries. The dominance of criminal elements has proved disastrous for the population, who lack some of the most basic social necessities of life and face extremely high unemployment rates.
Last September, 43 protesting student teachers disappeared in the city and were never again seen alive. Their bodies were subsequently recovered, showing signs that they had been tortured and executed. This was just the latest example of the firm grip of drug gangs on the city and surrounding area, who act in close collaboration with the local political structure.
Culiacan is the home city of the Sinaloa drug cartel and organised crime syndicate, one of Mexico’s most violent criminal groups. The US has described the cartel as one of the most powerful drug smuggling organizations in the world, and it has operations in a total of 17 Mexican states. Reports have suggested that they have connections in a number of large US cities, where Colombian cocaine and heroin from Asia is distributed in large quantities.
7. San Pedro Sula
This Honduran city is another that has been caught up in drug wars and is largely under the control of drug gangs. There are some parts of town where it is impossible for residents to leave to take up jobs in other areas, due to the rules imposed by the gangs. But the strength of the gangs also comes from the fact that there are very few employment opportunities there.
6. Guatemala City
The capital of Guatemala lacks the structures and political controls to impose the rule of law, with the result that well-connected gangs and organized crime groups can run rampant. The key problem in Guatemala is that the country was embroiled in a long-running civil war that only came to an end in 1996. The drugs trade, arms are trafficked through the city, and gangs also are involved in people smuggling.
Historically, Cali was home to one of Colombia’s largest drug trafficking cartels. Today, it is still the scene of violent clashes involving competing criminal organizations for control over the city for their illegal business operations. One of the organizations involved is called the Urabenas, a high level of armed groups in the region.
4. Casal di Principe
The small Italian town with a population of just over 20,000, may not seem at first glance to be a place where you should be fearful of criminal control. But it happens to be the home town of the most dangerous clan of the Camorra mafia. While the clan’s leader has been jailed, the mafia continues to wield significant influence over economic life in the town.
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria, one of the most impoverished countries in Europe. An indication of the impunity enjoyed by the local crime scene was provided in 2008, when the US embassy released a list of 140 contract killings that had taken place there since the 1990s. Not a single figure within the organized crime scene had been held accountable for any of these deaths.
Over the course of two wars fought by Russia against Chechen separatists beginning in the 1990s, Grozny was virtually obliterated as a city, with many of its buildings destroyed. Although some efforts have been made to reconstruct parts of the city since the conflict came to an end in the early 2000s, the leadership of this at the local government level has been overseen by elements with close ties to the Chechen mafia, one of the largest organized crime groups in Russia.
1. Ciudad Juarez
Located on the US-Mexico border, Ciudad Juarez has become a hub for the massive drug smuggling trade that supplies narcotics to one of the world’s biggest markets. The police force in the town laid off over 800 officers in a bid to tackle the pervasive corruption that existed with officers having been paid by the warring drug cartels, while two drug cartels, the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels, fought bitterly for control of the city beginning in 2007.