(P1) Twenty-one of the world’s 50 most violent cities are in Brazil, a new study says, in A BLOW TO the nation’s image as it prepares to host this year’s Olympic games.

(P2) The STRIKING figure is given in a study released by the Mexico City-based Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, and is based on the number of murders per 100,000 residents during 2015 in cities with a population of more than 300,000.

(P3) None of the Brazilian cities appear in the top 10. They do not include Rio de Janeiro, where this summer’s Olympic games will take place.

(P4) While Brazil appears in the list more frequently than any other country, the DEADLIEST place in the world in 2015 was Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, a city of 3.3 million people which recorded 3,946 HOMICIDES in 2015 – nearly 120 per 100,000 residents.

(P5) Venezuela has a higher level of URBAN violence than Brazil generally, and the worst in the world apart from El Salvador and Honduras, according to Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, the Citizen Council’s president.

(P6) Caracas’ SOARING murder rate meant it OVERTOOK San Pedro Sula in Honduras, which dropped to number two due to a “significant decline” in the murder rate after being the world’s violent city for the four previous years.

(P7) The report blamed Venezuela’s TURBULENT political and economic situation for Caracas’s appearance and that of three other Venezuelan cities, Maturin and Valencia, which featured in the top 10 in the fifth and seventh spots, and Ciudad Guayana, which was the 11th most violent.

(P8) Four cities in the United States appeared on the list, the highest being St Louis, Missouri, where 59.23 murders per 100,000 were recorded. Baltimore was the 19th most violent city.

(P9) The other two American cities listed were Detroit at number 28 and New Orleans at 32.

(P10) 41 of the 50 worst cities are in Latin America, including cities in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and Guatamala. Much of the region’s violence is related to DRUG TRAFFICKING.

(P11) Of the other cities outside Latin America, four – Cape Town (ninth most violent), Durban, Nelson Mandela Bay and Johannesburg – are in South Africa, with the other being Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

(P12) The list excludes cities in COMBAT ZONES and those with unavailable data, explaining why many violent cities in the world’s worst HOT SPOTS (the Middle East, parts of Africa) do not appear.

WORDS: 405



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why are there so many violent cities in the United States, a highly developed and economically strong country?
  3. How can the cities on this list reduce their levels of violence?
  4. Are you afraid of big cities?
  5. How much of a problem is drug crime in your country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • A blow to
  • Drug trafficking
  • Combat zone
  • Hot spot

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