Guatemala City, Guatemala
The country of Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in Latin America, and Guatemala city is at the heart of it. Both residents and tourists can be the victims of drug related violent assaults. It is especially not recommended to wander in the city at night as robberies, muggings, and murders are likely to happen. In 2017, a violent armed attack involved a group of tourists, including five British nationals.
According to the British newspaper Daily Mail, someone is murdered in Guatemala every 90 minutes and body parts are regularly left in public places by gangs as a macabre warning to the communities. There are up to 14,000 gang members in the country, and the largest gang is the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), and the Mara-18 (18th Street), which were both formed in Los Angeles by immigrants who returned to Central America. The motto of MS-13 is ‘rape, control, kill’. Described as America’s most violent street gang, MS-13 members have been involved in trafficking cocaine into the US, prostitution rings, robberies, assaults, murders and gun smuggling.
Transport and taxis risk: HIGH
Car-jacking and armed hold-ups commonly occur along the main highways of the city. They are carried out by armed gangs. It’s also not recommended to take a bus or taxi unless your hotel arranged it. There are people who operate fake taxis and buses with the intent of robbing or sometimes raping their victims.
Scams Risk: HIGH
Scammers operating in Guatemala city are often impostors posing as officials to fool people into giving them their belongings or money.
Natural Disaster Risk: HIGH
There are four volcanoes visible from the city, and two of these are active. And, the city’s geographic location causes it to fall victim to earthquakes.