Category Archives: NEWS

How to Buy Travel Medical Insurance, the ‘Other’ Travel Insurance

Travel SERAPH

No one wants to imagine being sick or injured on vacation; but if the worst happens, it pays (literally) to be prepared. Medical travel insurance can save you considerable hassle, time and money, and offer you peace of mind if you encounter health problems while traveling. But it’s also somewhat separate from most standard forms of travel insurance. While most common—and commonly needed—travel insurance is trip-cancellation (TCI) protection, you should certainly consider medical risks when you’re looking at your travel insurance options, up to and including emergency medical evacuation (also called “medevac”) assistance.

Who Needs Travel Medical Insurance?

The quick answer to that question is: Anyone who isn’t covered by their regular medical insurance when they’re traveling. More specifically, that means:

  • Anyone whose regular health insurance/HMO doesn’t pay for services outside the U.S. There was a time when most private health insurance—and most HMOs—covered you (and emergency medevac assistance) wherever you went, but that’s no longer the case. With relentless cutbacks in benefits in recent years, many standard health insurance programs will no longer cover medical bills in foreign countries. And most do not cover medevac.
  • Any senior dependent on Medicare. Medicare will not pay for anything outside the U.S. Even if you have a Medicare supplement that nominally covers foreign travel, benefits are so meager that you might need additional insurance.

Everyone should check their health insurance and travel insurance’s overseas medical benefits before leaving the country for a trip. If coverage is either slim or nonexistent, you likely need travel medical insurance.

It’s also worth noting that the medical benefits in many travel insurance policies are secondary, which means the insurance pays only for what you can’t claim from your regular health insurer/HMO. On the off chance that you already have good foreign-country coverage, additional travel insurance is probably a waste of money.

Bundled Medical Coverage

Almost all travel insurance bundles include a combination of TCI and medical benefits. For example, for a two-week trip to Europe the least expensive bundled policy might be a few hundred dollars (total) for two people. This usually covers a few thousand dollars in TCI plus somewhere around $50,000 in medical/dental emergency costs per person, and $50,000 in medical evacuation expenses per person. That’s about the minimum coverage: If you think you need more, you could buy a policy providing TCI plus $100,000 in medical emergency and $500,000 medevac per person for slightly more money.

But if you don’t want the TCI, you can buy just the medical coverage, and adjust according to your needs. On a sample trip I tested, I could buy greatly reduced coverage ($5,000 medical, $25,000 medevac) for about $100 total. Or, conversely, I could pay $195 for $100,000 in medical coverage, per person, plus unlimited medevac costs.

For travel to developed countries, my opinion is that $50,000 in medical and $50,000 medevac would more than cover any foreseeable risks. Travel to less developed areas, however, might call for slightly higher limits. It’s ultimately your call.

Yearly Medical and Medevac Coverage

If you travel a lot, you might consider buying medical/medevac insurance by the year (or per six months) rather than per trip. A low-benefit policy for frequent travelers offering about $10,000 in medical and $25,000 in medevac on each trip can cost about $100 per year (for one person). A more generous travel medical insurance policy covering $100,000 medical and unlimited medevac per trip costs about double that for one year (for one person). These policies are designed for travelers who make several short trips each year; policies for long-term overseas trips or extended business assignments might be priced differently.

Medevac: The Fine Print

Most medevac policies I’ve seen call for transport to either the nearest appropriate medical facility or back to the U.S., depending on the circumstances. Typically, that means you start at a local or regional hospital. The insurance pays for transport back to the U.S. only when, in the opinion of the attending physician, local/regional facilities are inadequate.

When you need medevac, the insurance company calls all the shots. That means you must, from the beginning, make all arrangements through the insurance company or its local agents. If you jump the gun and make your own arrangements, chances are the insurance company won’t cover them.

Can Your Credit Card Help?

Several premium credit cards provide lesser travel medical insurance in an emergency in a foreign country. Although the language in the card literature might seem to promise a lot, what you typically get is a referral to file claims, and not any genuine assistance.

The fine print for the AmEx Platinum card, for example, says, “Whenever you travel, have peace of mind knowing that you have 24/7 medical, legal, financial, and other emergency assistance while traveling more than 100 miles from home. We can direct you to English-speaking medical and legal professionals and arrange for a transfer to a more appropriate medical facility, even if an air ambulance is required.” Note that it says “arrange for,” not “pay for.” What you get is help in making arrangements; the cost of those arrangements goes right on your credit card bill, unless moving you is deemed “medically necessary.” As far as I know, most other cards operate the same way.

How to Choose Travel Medical Insurance

The medical risks you face when traveling outside the U.S. are hard to quantify. Basically, the chances of facing a major medical problem are small—very small, for medevac—but the financial consequences of a serious event are potentially quite large.

Fortunately, travel health insurance prices are not bad. As with all travel insurance, my suggestion is that you check with one or two of the online travel insurance agencies, enter your personal details, trip details, and the coverages you want, and select the least expensive policy that meets your needs. Some of the major agencies include InsureMyTrip.comSquaremouth, and QuoteWright.

Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

Anti-natalists: Don’t Like Babies And Want You To Stop Having Them!

NOTE: Many of these people suffer from mental health issues, radical – even violent ideas.

Many highly educated leadership type people in the U.S. and EU are childless by choice. This is not only unhealthy but a dangerous trend. Dale Yeager

They believe humans shouldn’t have children. Who are the anti-natalists – and how far are they willing to push their ideas?

“Wouldn’t it just be better to blow a hole in the side of the earth and just have done with everything?”

Thomas, 29, lives in the east of England, and although his idea of blowing up the world is something of a thought experiment, he is certain about one thing – humans should not have babies, and our species should gradually go extinct.

It’s a philosophy called anti-natalism. While the idea dates back to ancient Greece, it has recently been given a huge boost by social media.

On Facebook and Reddit, there are dozens of anti-natalist groups, some with thousands of members. On Reddit, r/antinatalism has nearly 35,000 members, while just one of the dozens of Facebook groups with an anti-natalist theme has more than 6,000.

They are scattered around the world and have a variety of reasons for their beliefs. Among them are concerns about genetic inheritance, not wanting children to suffer, the concept of consent, and worries about overpopulation and the environment.

But they are united in their desire to stop human procreation. And although they are a fringe movement, some of their views, particularly on the state of the earth, are increasingly creeping into mainstream discussion.

While not an anti-natalist, the Duke of Sussex recently said he and his wife were planning to have a maximum of two children, because of environmental concerns.

Philosophical chat

Thomas hadn’t heard of anti-natalism before someone used the term to describe his views in a YouTube comments thread a few years ago. Since then, he’s become an active member of an anti-natalist Facebook group. It provides him with intellectual stimulation and a place to test his debating skills.

“I think it’s awesome, you’re discussing real life problems,” he says. “You’ve got an idea – let’s say humans do go extinct. What if humans then evolve again? Then you haven’t really solved the problem.

“There’s a lot of discussion, some of it gets quite touchy.”

But his passion for anti-natalism isn’t only theoretical. Thomas believes all human life is purposeless and has tried, although not succeeded, in getting a vasectomy on Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). NHS doctors can refuse to perform sterilisation operations if they believe the procedure is not in the best interests of the patient.

Non-violence and consent

Despite some of the nihilist rhetoric in anti-natalist groups, there’s no indication that they’re a violent threat. When they do talk about extinction it often feels as though it’s a debating exercise. No-one in their online communities is threatening murder or violence.

Thomas’s idea of blowing a hole in the side of the earth – he imagines a big red button that would end human life and says he’d “press that in an instant” – is actually highly controversial because of a key anti-natalist principle: consent.

Put simply, it’s the idea that creating or destroying life requires the consent of the person who will be born or die.

Kirk lives in San Antonio, Texas. He says he recalls a conversation with his mother when he was just four years old. She told him that having children was a choice.

“This doesn’t make any sense to me, to voluntarily put someone who has no needs or wants prior to their conception into this world to suffer and die,” he says.

Kirk says that even at that young age, he became an anti-natalist. He opposes the creation of human life because none of us were explicitly asked if we wanted to be here.

“If every person gave consent to play the game of life then I personally wouldn’t have any objection to that,” he concedes. “It hinges on the consent or lack thereof.”

The concept also works in reverse. The problem with that big red humanity-eraser button is that plenty of people enjoy life – and not everyone would consent to it all coming to an end. Instead, Kirk and most anti-natalists want people to volunteer to stop giving birth.

A finger hovering over a end humanity big red button

Mental health issues

There’s another distinct theme common in anti-natalist groups. Posters frequently share experiences of their own mental health, and occasionally condemn those with mental health problems for having children.

One post included a screenshot of a post from another user that read: “I have a borderline personality disorder, in addition to bipolar and generalized anxiety”. The anti-natalist added their own comment: “This individual has two kids. I feel bad for the kiddos”.

In another group, there was also a comment where someone was clearly contemplating suicide.

“I’ve had schizophrenia and depression,” Thomas explains. “Depression does run in my family too. I think if I have kids there’s a high likelihood that they’re going to be depressed and they’re not going to like their life.”

But he also says the community is often wrongly labelled by outsiders.

“People start labelling us crazy psychos,” he says. The truth, he says, is much more complex.

A man holding his head

Saving the earth?

Fuelling anti-natalist arguments in recent years is an increasing focus on the environment and the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

Judging from posts in the anti-natalist groups, there’s clearly a large overlap between their ideas and environmental activism.

“I feel that it is selfish to have children at this time,” adds Nancy a vegan, plastic-free, animal rights enthusiast and yoga instructor from the Philippines.”The reality is that the children being born into the world are creating more destruction for the environment.”

In a Facebook group called “very angry anti-natalists” a petition is being shared which they hope to send to the United Nations. Its title is “Overpopulation root of the climate catastrophe – worldwide birth stop now.” So far it has 27,000 signatures.

The idea of refraining from having children to benefit the environment isn’t a new one. In Britain a charity called Population Matters has proposed this for years – although they are not anti-natalists. In fact, they argue in favour of the sustainability of the human race rather than its extinction.

“Our aim is to achieve harmony between the human race and the planet we’re fortunate to inhabit,” says Robin Maynard, the group’s director. “If we have fewer children across the globe and smaller families we can achieve a much more sustainable population.”

But will an increasing population necessarily lead directly to environmental disaster? According to the BBC’s Global Population Correspondent Stephanie Hegarty, it’s hard to say, because the future is so difficult to predict.

“According to scientific projections, due to economic development and dropping fertility rates, the population of the world is likely to plateau at about 11 billion in 80 years,” she says. “Whether the planet can sustain that or not – we do not know.

“It’s also very difficult to predict how many people the planet can sustain because it’s all about consumption. And that means everything from air, water, food, fossil fuels, wood, plastic – the list goes on and on,” she says. “Clearly some of us are consuming a lot more than others. A family of 12 in a country like Burundi will consume less, on average, than a family of three in Texas.

“There are so many factors that are going to be changing over the next decade and the next century that we can’t predict right now.”

A crowd of people stood outside a factory

Insults and criticism

Among the intense philosophical and ethical debates going on anti-natalist groups, there’s a darker and less edifying undercurrent. Some routinely insult parents – calling them “breeders”. Other slurs are directed at children.

“Whenever I see a pregnant woman, disgust is the first feeling.” wrote one user next to a picture that said: “I hate baby bump”.

But that doesn’t mean that all anti-natalists hate children, according to those who spoke to the BBC.

“I would say I personally like children and it is because I like them that I don’t want them to suffer,” Nancy says. “Maybe bringing them into the world would give me some pleasure but the possible threat is so huge I’m just not sure it’s worth it.”

Media captionGoing childless for the environment

But that’s not the only criticism. In some anti-natalist groups, users allude to the notion that babies shouldn’t be born in war zones, if there is a high chance of disability, or even to low-income parents. At times the rhetoric sounds like selective breeding – or eugenics.

The anti-natalists we spoke to had mixed feelings about those ideas.

“What are their motives behind having a kid?” says Thomas when asked if he’s concerned about children being born in war-torn areas. “In such a country there’s less hope that things are going to turn around.”

He’s more relaxed about children being born into low-income households.

“Obviously I’m against having kids… but I think you can be happy and in a low-income area.”

“My anti-natalism is across the board,” states Nancy. She opposes eugenics. “Why are we picking and choosing some groups because they are in a position of disadvantage?”

So is there a general anti-natalist life philosophy?

“Do the best you can,” says Kirk. “Be kind – and don’t procreate.”

Blog by Jonathan Griffin

Mass Shootings: Millennials’ Loneliness Plague

A third of US millennials feel lonely, per a recent YouGov survey, and a fifth say they have no friends, notes The Week’s Matthew Walther.

And while “we can make facile jokes about avocado toast and baristas with degrees in cultural studies” he is “not sure we should find them amusing.”

The crisis of modern loneliness is but one facet of an atomized, soulless society: “We cannot concentrate on anything. We don’t go anywhere, not even to buy food or diapers. . . . The richer we happen to be, the less likely we are to take time off to enjoy ourselves, despite generous vacation allowances.

The poorer we are, the more likely we are to kill ourselves with drugs, alcohol and guns. Even fornication is boring — we have porn for that.”

Ohio Shooter Extreme Leftist – Texas Shooter Extreme Right Wing: Mass Shootings Not About Politics Something Scarier

Connor Betts / Patrick Crusius

For political types the recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas are about ideology, sadly they are blinded by their own dogma.

Let’s look at the facts:

Dayton, Ohio – Shooter Connor Betts

  • He wore a mask, Ballistic vest and ear protection.

ASSESSMENT He was not a suicide shooter, he planned on escaping and concealing his identity. This is unusual for this type of crime.

  • He came to the event with his sister in the same vehicle but ended up killing her.

ASSESSMENT This means that there was a personal element.

  • He was a Sexual Sadist.

A classmate told the Daily News that Betts had “fantasized about tying her up and slitting her throat” and he told her he was scared he had those thoughts. She said she was included on a hit list, but her concerns weren’t taken seriously when she reported them.

“found a notebook where he reportedly wrote a list of people who he wanted to rape, kill and skin their bodies.”

  • He classified himself on social media as:

“leftist”

“i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.”

he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren

praised Satan, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” 

was upset about the 2016 presidential election results

“I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

  • He was a psychology major.
  • Suspended during his high school years for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

ASSESSMENT while the police investigated, and the school system suspected him. He was not charged allegedly with a crime and after a short time, school officials allowed him back to the school.

  • Graduated From Bellbrook High School, Where Students Considered Him a Bully 

El Paso, Texas – Shooter Patrick Crusius

  • He was a loner.

ASSESSMENT This type of behavior is not healthy or biologically normal. Humans seek connection with others.

  • Manifesto on 8chan was unusual.

Stated his Ideology predated Trump.

MESSIAH COMPLEX “I can no longer bear the shame of inaction knowing that our founding fathers have endowed me with the rights needed to save our country from the brink destruction. 

USES MARXIST TERMS “Our European comrades don’t have the gun rights needed to repel the millions of invaders that plaque (sic) their country. People who are hypocrites because they support imperialistic wars that have caused the loss of tens of thousands of American lives and untold numbers of civilian lives. 

“My death is likely inevitable. If I’m not killed by the police, then I’ll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders. Capture in this case if far worse than dying during the shooting because I’ll get the death penalty anyway. Worse still is that I would live knowing that my family despises me. This is why I’m not going to surrender even if I run out of ammo. If I’m captured, it will be because I was subdued somehow. Remember: it is not cowardly to pick low hanging fruit. AKA Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy. Attack low security targets. Even though you might out gun a security guard or police man, they likely beat you in armor, training and numbers. Do not throw away your life on an unnecessarily dangerous target,” he wrote. “If a target seems too hot, live to fight another day.”

ASSESSMENT He moves from fatalism about his life to regard for life.

  • LinkedIn Page, Cruscius Says He’s ‘Not Really Motivated to do Anything More Than What’s Necessary to Get By’

ASSESSMENT This type of personality trait is common in children who come from overprotective parents who create a codependency in their children or parents who have an emotional disconnect and no accountability for their children’s behaviors. Parenting from the extremes.

Conclusion

In my experience mass shooters have three things in common:

  1. Dysfunctional families. Codependency, lack of accountability and / or abuse.
  2. Mental health issues that are not dealt with by family and school officials.
  3. Isolation.

These shooters are created not born that way. Adults who should act in a mature or professional manner failed these people when they were children.

The use of child welfare laws to hold parents and caregivers accountable will go a long way towards reducing these crimes.

Dale Yeager

Sources:

https://heavy.com/news/2019/08/connor-betts/amp/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/dayton-ohio-shooting-suspect-hit-list

How to Get Through Airport Security Faster

Travel safely with SERAPH

When you’re late for a flight⁠—or trying to make a tight connection⁠—getting through airport security as quickly as possible is key. Beyond enrolling in TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry or Clear, you can get through an airport security line faster by booking your flight at the right time and organizing your carry-on.

Research waiting times in advance

Before you head to the airport, try researching security waiting times to avoid long lines. Apps like MyTSAhave crowd-sourced reports of waiting times at most airports; because they’re crowd-sourced, however, they may not always be reliable. Still, it might help you better assess when to arrive at an airport—it also uses historical data to make estimated waiting times and includes information on airport delays, as reported by the FAA.

Some airports, like JFK and LaGuardia, also have real-time estimates on their websites, too, though you’re less likely to find these stats from smaller airports. You can also do an online search for your airport’s estimated wait times using iFly.com, which uses flight volume data and “predictive modeling” to make make best guesses (though it doesn’t account for real-time reports); just search for your airport and “security lines iFly” and the relevant times should appear in the first page of results.

As USA Today writes, you might want to schedule an early morning flight when airports are likely to be less busy and long security lines might be easier to avoid. As we’ve written before, early-morning flights are alsoless likely to be delayed. Or you can opt to fly out of quieter airports than major ones; in California, you might choose smaller airports like John Wayne Airport or Long Beach to avoid long wait times (and traffic) at LAX.

It also doesn’t hurt to look up your airport’s map if you’re unfamiliar with it to find the security line itself, which is particularly useful for tight layovers.

“I’m LAX based, and the entire airport is divided into separate terminals,” u/PlaneShenanigans, a pilot, wrote on a recent Reddit thread. “… It’s amazing how many passengers flying through LAX leave 30 minutes to make a connection when they’ll have to change terminals, which essentially guarantees you’ll miss your flight. Just a little planning ahead will prevent things like this from happening.”

While on a recent trip through Tokyo’s Narita airport, I also found a number of different security lines spread out throughout the terminal and was able to locate one with a particularly short line.

Compartmentalize electronics and liquids and dress appropriately

Perhaps the easiest way to expedite the security process is to properly compartmentalize any electronics and liquids you’ll have to remove from your carry-on. I always keep my laptop in a removable sleeve and all liquids (under 3.5 ounces, of course) packed in a clear plastic, quart-sized bag toward the top of my carry-on so I don’t have to sift through my belongings at security. As SmarterTravel writes, keeping any liquids or gels deep in in your carry-on might only delay the security process.

Also be sure to remove any liquids larger than 3.4 ounces as well as rechargeable lithium batteries you might find in carry-on bags like Away suitcases; you can place them in a bin, too, so you aren’t held up at security.

The Points Guy has another good recommendation: Dress appropriately. Wear a jacket with pockets for your phone, Passport, ID or wallet, so you can quickly remove them and place them together in a single bin. Also, wear shoes that can easily be slipped off and remove any belts while you’re in line; in other words, do everything you can before you reach the end of the security line.

If you want, you could check your bag to avoid the extra hassle at security, but that’ll only mean another wait at baggage claim at the other end of your trip.

Personally, I’ve also found that lines for full body scanners generally seem to take a much longer time than those with walk-through metal detectors; if you have the option of choosing one, I’d go with the line with the metal detector.

Book a trip with someone who has TSA Pre-Check and download Mobile Passport

While not an official rule, for the most part, you might able able to use someone else’s TSA Pre-Check status (and the privileges that come along with it); for this to work, the passenger with Pre-Check will have to book both flights under the same itinerary. When you check in, both tickets should show up with the Pre-Check status. We should re-iterate: It’s not fail-proof, but it’s worked a handful of times for me in the past. Some credit cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve may also offer TSA Pre-Check registration for free as a perk, so be sure to look up your own card’s benefits.

Lastly, if you’re traveling overseas and want to avoid long customs lines, don’t forget to download Mobile Passport; you can submit your information via the app in advance and easily breeze through customs at a number of U.S. airports.

Josh Ocampo

UK Style Acid Attacks Begin in U.S.

acid-attack NYC

A teen badly injured when she was doused with acid at an East Village party in May is calling on cops to catch the person who left her with debilitating third-degree burns.

Ava Aldrich, 18, spent two nights in the ICU at Weill Cornell Medical Center and underwent skin-graft surgery in June after she was among a dozen teens burned when drain-clearing sulfuric acid was thrown at them during a party at a NYCHA development.

“It was extremely painful,” the young Manhattan woman told The Post. “I felt like my legs were burning. I saw holes in my jeans, and it was eating into my skin.”

Aldrich and more than 100 other teens had shown up at the First Houses on East Third Street on May 4 for a party advertised on social media when paint and a caustic substance — later revealed to be an industrial drain cleaner — started raining down on them from above at around 10 p.m.

Witnesses said it came from a fourth-floor apartment which overlooks an outdoor entrance to the basement where the party was held, according to law-enforcement sources.

At least 10 teens between ages 15 and 18 were hospitalized with minor burns — but Aldrich was severely injured. 

She suffered third-degree burns to her legs and will have to wear compression bandages 23 hours a day for at least the next nine months.

“I’m obviously frustrated because they can’t arrest who did this,” said Aldrich, a recent Eleanor Roosevelt HS graduate.

She plans to attend the University of California Santa Cruz next year, and will spend her first year of college in the bandages.

Detectives from the Ninth Precinct have talked to several people who were in the apartment at the time, but they denied throwing anything, law-enforcement sources said.

A 911 call came from the same apartment, they said. But without someone identifying the attacker, it will be hard to make an arrest.

“It’s hard to not think about it all the time,” Aldrich said. “I just try to deal with it, but sometimes, I’ll get upset or angry.

“I’m not really the person to be like, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

Her mom, Amy Aldrich, praised her daughter’s bravery but said the past three months had been “really terrible” for the family.

“Just about every medical professional, when they see her legs, say, ‘Why hasn’t someone been caught?’ ” the mom said.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information on the assault. Anonymous calls may be made to (800) 577-TIPS.

By Ebony Bowden and Larry Celona

TRAVEL ALERT! The 20 most dangerous cities in the world. Cancún makes List.

Travel SERAPH

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the world’s 20 most dangerous cities – the ones with the highest murder rates – as reported by El Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal (The Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice), a Mexico City-based advocacy group.

 20. Ciudad Obregón, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 52
• Homicides in 2018: 179
• Population: 343,613

This northwestern Mexican city debuted on this annual ranking in 2014 with a homicide rate of 37.7 murders per 100,000 residents, the world’s 31st and Mexico’s fourth most dangerous city that year. After nearly dropping from the list in 2015, ranking 50th that year, the murder rate rose to 52 per 100,000 in 2018 largely due to local rival drug-gang violence.

 19. Kingston, Jamaica
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 54
• Homicides in 2018: 639
• Population: 1,180,771

Local organized crime drove the homicide rate in Jamaica’s capital city to a recent peak of nearly 60 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. That rate has declined to 54 per 100,000 in 2018, pushing Kingston’s ranking up from 16th to 19th in this annual list of the world’s 50 most dangerous cities that started with 2013 data.

 18. Uruapan, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 55
• Homicides in 2018: 189
• Population: 346,640

A recent increase in violent crime has put this highland inland city on this list of the world’s most dangerous cities for the first time since records began in 2013. Violent crime, largely in the form of gun-related homicides, continued in 2019, despite reported heightened security operations. The governor of Michoacán state has pledged to further increase police presence to stem a rising tide of organized criminal activity.

 17. Barquisimeto, Venezuela
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 57
• Homicides in 2018: 683
• Population: 1,205,142

Venezuela’s fourth most populous city became its fourth most dangerous in 2018. The city’s murder rate rose from 8.2 per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 57 per 100,000 residents in 2018. The murder rate has hovered between 46 and 60 per 100,000 residents since 2014.

16. Culiacán, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 61
• Homicides in 2018: 585
• Population: 966,609

The capital of northwestern Sinaloa state has a long history as a center of drug cartel activity, and though it ranks high among Mexico’s most dangerous cities, it’s fallen from second place in 2014 to seventh in 2018. The homicide rate declined in 2018 from 70.1 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. Like other cities in Mexico’s northwest and border regions, Culiacán struggles to contain drug-gang gun violence with only a recent modest decline in killings.

 15. St. Louis, USA
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 61
• Homicides in 2018: 187
• Population: 308,626

Chicago is often derided for its violent crime, but St. Louis has been the murder capital of the United States since 2014, while Chicago has never made this list. The homicide rate in St. Louis declined in 2018 to 61 murders per 100,000 residents from nearly 66 per 100,000 in 2017. The last time the rate was below 50 was in 2013 (the first year of this annual report), when the murder rate was 34 per 100,000 and St. Louis as the fourth most dangerous U.S. city.

 14. Feira de Santana, Brazil
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 63
• Homicides in 2018: 386
• Population: 609,913

Located roughly 60 miles northwest of Salvador, Brazil (ranked 29th on this list), the homicide rate in this inland city increased in 2018 from 58.8 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. This is the fourth consecutive year that Feira de Santana appears on this annual report. The city is a major commercial center for Bahia state, making it an ideal conduit for regional drug trafficking.

 13. Cancún, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 64
• Homicides in 2018: 547
• Population: 848,465

The popular tourist destination of Cancún on the country’s Caribbean coast has emerged for the first time on this annual ranking. The local murder rate more than doubled in 2018 as violence escalated amid a nationwide record-breaking homicide rate in 2018 attributed to drug and non-drug related criminal gang violence. More Mexican cities have appeared on this list for the first time than the number cities that dropped from the list last year.

 12. Belém, Brazil
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 65
• Homicides in 2018: 1,627
• Population: 2,491,052

This eastern gateway city in the lush Amazon region, the capital of Pará (Brazil’s second largest state by landmass) is Brazil’s third most dangerous city for a second consecutive year. The city was the country’s second most dangerous city in 2016 with a rate of 67.4 homicides per 100,000 residents. The rate increased a year later, to 71.4 per 100,000, but the city’s ranking among Brazil’s most dangerous cities fell from second to third place in 2017 because of a sharper increase in murders in Fortaleza (No. 9 on this list) and Natal (No. 8 on this list).

 11. Cape Town, South Africa
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 66
• Homicides in 2018: 2,868
• Population: 4,322,031

South Africa’s legislative capital is consistently also the country’s murder capital, with a homicide rate that hit a record high since the first edition of the annual report by The Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice in 2013. The murder rate increased last year to 66 homicides per 100,000 residents following two consecutive annual declines from 65.5 per 100,000 in 2015. Cape Town also fell in the ranks from the world’s 15th most dangerous city in 2017 to 11th in 2018. In 2015, the city was the top 10 most dangerous cities on this list, at No. 9.

 10. Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 69
• Homicides in 2018: 264
• Population: 382,095

Violent crime has flourished as Venezuela has been in the process of collapsing into a failed state. Ciudad Bolívar, located 75 miles up the Orinoco River from Guyana City (No. 7 on this list), debuted in 2018 on this list of the 50 world’s most dangerous cities. In addition to the rise in violent crime in the city, Bolivar was flooded in August of last year. This may lead to a rise in opportunistic criminal activity.

 9. Fortaleza, Brazil
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 69
• Homicides in 2018: 2,724
• Population: 3,939,460

The murder rate in one of Brazil’s biggest cities dropped from 83.5 homicies per 100,000 residents in 2017, the highest rate for the city in over five years. Located about 1,400 miles north of São Paulo, the capital of northeastern Ceará state, Fortaleza was Brazil’s second most dangerous city last year.

 8. Natal, Brazil
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 75
• Homicides in 2018: 1,185
• Population: 1,587,055

The capital and largest city in Rio Grande do Norte, the second largest oil-producing state in Brazil, experienced a decline in the homicide rate from nearly 103 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 75 per 100,000 in 2018. Fortaleza (ranked ninth on this list) slightly edged out Natal as the country’s most dangerous city in 2015. But since then, Natal, a port city 120 miles up the coast from João Pessoa (44th on this list), has been country’s murder capital for three consecutive years.

 7. Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 78
• Homicides in 2018: 645
• Population: 823,722

This Venezuelan port city on the banks of the Orinoco River is Venezuela’s second most dangerous city for the second consecutive year despite a slight drop in the homicide rate last year, from 80.3 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017. Violent crime appears to be spreading along the Orinoco, with Ciudad Bolivar, 65 miles west of Guyana City, appearing on this list for the first time at No. 10. Like elsewhere in the country, the region’s cities are struggling with food scarcities and high crime amid Venezuela’s years-long and worsening economic and security crisis.

 6. Irapuato, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 81
• Homicides in 2018: 473
• Population: 580,808

A newcomer to this annual ranking, Irapuato has debuted with 81 murders per 100,000 residents in 2018. Suddenly, this lush city in the center of Mexico’s Guanajuato state, known for its scenic gardens, has become Mexico’s fifth most dangerous city. Irapuato has been sucked into a regional rise in criminal gang activity, including kidnappings and extortion.

 5. Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 86
• Homicides in 2018: 1,251
• Population: 1,462,133

This border city of over 1.4 million people across the river from El Paso experienced a sharp increase in murders in 2018, with the murder rate rising from 56.2 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 86 per 100,000. The city appeared first on this list with a homicide rate of nearly 38 per 100,000 residents in 2013, at the time Mexico’s seventh most dangerous city. The city fell off the list in 2015 but reappeared a year later. Since then, the homicide rate has increased in each of the past three consecutive years, and Juárez now has the third highest murder rate in Mexico.

 4. Ciudad Victoria, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 86
• Homicides in 2018: 314
• Population: 365,089

The capital of Tamaulipas state, at Mexico’s northeastern border with Texas, has been ravaged in recent years by turf wars between offshoot gangs that split off from the Gulf and Zeta cartels in the wake of heightened security operations. Killings flared in 2016, when the city’s homicide rate jumped to nearly 85 murders per 100,000 residents from just over 30 per 100,00 a year earlier. Victoria is currently Mexico’s third most dangerous city.

 3. Caracas, Venezuela
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 100
• Homicides in 2018: 2,980
• Population: 2,980,492

Caracas holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s most dangerous national capital each year since data was first compiled for the study in 2013. It’s also been either the most or second most dangerous city on this annual ranking until it fell to third place in 2018, displaced by the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Acapulco.

 2. Acapulco, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 111
• Homicides in 2018: 948
• Population: 857,883

Tijuana may have been the murder capital of Mexico last year, but the touristic western port city of Acapulco has been the most or second most dangerous Mexican city every year since 2013, the first year of this report. Acapulco has racked up a significantly higher body count over the years than other Mexican cities on this list, with homicides rates of between 104 and 113 murders per 100,000 residents in each of the past six years.

 1. Tijuana, Mexico
• Homicides per 100,000 in 2018: 138
• Homicides in 2018: 2,640
• Population: 1,909,424

This Mexican border city 15 miles south of downtown San Diego has long been one of Mexico’s most violent cities. But even by murder-capital standards, Tijuana has an extremely high murder rate, with no signs of the killings abating. Already, 2019 kicked off with three murders on New Year’s Eve. The city’s homicide rate jumped from roughly 100 murders per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 138 per 100,000 in 2018.