The 13 most dangerous countries in the world

The 13 most dangerous countries in the world

The major risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft has compiled a list of countries with the highest risk of violent crime — essentially, a roundup of some of the world's most dangerous countries.

The consultancy's Criminality Index focuses on countries where there is a widespread prevalence of drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, and other activities that involve or lead to violence.

Each country is given a numerical risk figure, ranging from 10 (low risk) t0 0 (high risk). Verisk Maplecroft also splits the countries it assesses into several risk profiles, ranging from low to extreme. The consultancy does not, however, give away its exact methodology.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most dangerous nations are in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, where economies are generally less developed and political systems are more volatile. This environment helps to create a climate where violence is prevalent. Latin America is a particular risk area thanks to its role in the global drug trade.

Verisk Maplecroft classes 13 countries of having an extreme risk of violent crime. Check them out below:

13. Nigeria: 2.37 — Africa's largest economy has made big strides in recent years, but with the prevalence of the terrorist group Boko Haram and insurgents like the Niger Delta Avengers, the threat of violence in Nigeria remains extreme.

12. Colombia: 2.31 — Colombia is one of the gateways to drug-trafficking routes into the US, with the nation producing a substantial portion of the world's cocaine. The prevalence of drug gangs makes the nation extremely dangerous.

11. Libya: 2.30 — Since the destruction of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, a power vacuum has emerged in Libya, and the nation has become a hotbed of ISIS activity.

Forces loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) hold a position amid the rubble of destroyed buildings in Sirte's Al-Giza Al-Bahriya district

10. Pakistan: 1.98 — Political and religious tensions are widespread in Pakistan, and the country is frequently plagued by terrorist atrocities. As recently as Monday, a militant group attacked an army base in the Kashmir region of the country.

9. Somalia: 1.75 — Somalia is one of the world's most unstable nations and is by some criteria a failed state. Somalia is the centre of the piracy epidemic that hit the Indian Ocean in recent years and is also home to the terrorist group al-Shabab.

8. El Salvador: 1.55 — Located in the heart of Central America, El Salvador is plagued by gang violence and drug trafficking. It is less than a quarter of a century since the end of a brutal 12-year civil war in the country.

City of San Miguel, El Salvador (House109/Creative Commons )

7. Venezuela: 1.46 — Like Colombia, Venezuela is one of the gateways to drug-trafficking routes into the US. The country's economy has virtually collapsed since the price of oil fell in 2014, leading to widespread food shortages and a lack of basic amenities for many people. This, in turn, has led to growing violence.

6. Honduras: 1.44 — In 2015, Honduras had a homicide rate of 60 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world. The country is dominated by violent street gangs, including the two most powerful in the country, Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18.

T-4. Syria: 1.19 — Torn apart by a horrific and devastating war between rebel forces and the government of President Bashar Assad, Syria is facing an enormous humanitarian crisis. In major cities, airstrikes are a near permanent fixture, killing thousands. Almost half a million people have died since the Syrian conflict began in 2011. ISIS' huge presence in the nation makes the situation even worse.

T-4. Iraq: 1.19 — More than a decade after the beginning of the Iraq War, the Middle-Eastern nation is still haunted by the conflict. Iraq may now have a Western-backed government, but ISIS is rampant in some regions and violence predominates in much of the country.

Displaced people fleeing from Islamic State militants in Tahrir neighborhood, walk in Mosul, Iraq

3. Mexico: 1.17 — As the hub for trafficking drugs between South America and North America, Mexico has a significant problem with violence. "With the security forces facing budget cuts, a deterioration in the overall security environment is likely, leaving investors exposed to risks such as extortion, theft, and potentially the kidnapping of personnel," Verisk's Mexico analyst Grant Sunderland says.

2. Guatemala: 0.72 — Like El Salvador and Honduras, Guatemala is a Central American nation plagued by the drug-trafficking industry. In 2015, Guatemala reported an average of 91 murders a week.

1. Afghanistan: 0.71 — The country where violent crime is by far the most likely, according to Verisk Maplecroft, is Afghanistan. The country is still ravaged by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, while the heroin trade is also rampant, adding to violence.

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