The report, published annually since 2011, bases the ranking on the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2015, Caracas rose to first place with 119.87 homicides per 100,000 people.
Caracas is followed by San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with 111.03 homicides; San Salvador, El Salvador, with 108.54 homicides; Acapulco, Mexico, with 104.73 homicides; and Maturin, Venezuela, with 86.45 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.
Of the 50 cities listed, 41 are located within Latin America, including 21 Brazilian cities. There are also eight Venezuelan, five Mexican, three Colombian, two Honduran, one Guatemalan, and one El Salvadoran city. Kingston, Jamaica is included from the Caribbean, and the remaining eight cities are split equally between South Africa and the United States.
The figures do not include deaths in combat zones.
Experts place drug trafficking, political instability, and corruption among the top reasons for the high numbers in the Latin American region.
The report has caused some controversy and rejections from officials abroad. Fabio Galindo, Secretary of the State of Public Security for the State of Mato Grosso, one of Brasil’s western states whose capital was ranked at number 22 on the list, critiqued the results, stating that the Mexican organisation was working “without methodology and with illegitimate numbers.”
Accompanying the list, the CCSPJP also publishes a document outlining its methodology, in which the organisation states that the biggest obstacle in providing accurate data is the lack of transparency of governments whose cities are included.
Noticeably absent from the list was Rio de Janeiro, set to host to 2016 Summer Olympic Games in the coming months.