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UNITED NATIONS REPORT: U.S. Virgin Islands Is The New Murder Capital of the Caribbean … And Fourth Overall in the World

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The U.S. Virgin Islands has the fourth highest murder rate in the world, according to a study done by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Only El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela have more murders per capita than the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the latest statistics from the UNODC.

“Apparently, all else being equal, you have a one in 2,000 chance of being murdered,” the Virgin Islands Free Press’ crime expert said. “Not a large probability. But, imagine if that were the odds of dying in a plane crash every flight — nobody would be flying — that is for certain.”

In fact, the Caribbean has three countries in the Top 10 for murders. The U.S. Virgin Islands ranked fourth with 52.64 murders per 100,000 people, followed by Jamaica in fifth place with 43.21 and St. Kitts and Nevis was ninth with 33.55 murders per 100,000 residents.

Another six Caribbean countries made the rankings in top 20 — including Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla and St. Lucia.

In the study, El Salvador was first with 108.64 murders per 100,000 people, Honduras was second with 63.75 murders per 100,000 residents and Venezuela was third with 57.15 murders per 100,000 people.

“Nearly one in three said they had lost someone to violence. Guns are used about twice as often in robbery and three times as often in assault in the Caribbean as compared with the global average,” the UNODC report said. It also found that almost half of all crimes go unreported to the police.

In terms of murder rates, as measured by the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), three of the top 10 for most murders per 100,000 inhabitants were Caribbean islands.

A study published last year by the Interamerican Development Bank warned that while non-violent crime in the region was low, violent crime rates “are among the highest in the world.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands had 51 official murders in 2017, not including one vehicular homicide.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said the U.S. Virgin Islands had the highest murder rate in the United States per capita in 2016 (see article below).

Gov. Kenneth Mapp and Virgin Islands Police Department Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr. did not comment on the report.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.


  1. Rebecca
    January 24, 2018 at 11:17 PM — Reply

    Wow sad to hear . I lived there quite awhile in St.Thomas Single woman from the States never had a problem.
    I guess things really changed thers.How do you come to this kind of conclusions if your not living in the Caribbean? Very curious to know.

    Thank you,


  2. Dennis
    January 25, 2018 at 8:47 PM — Reply

    Bull you know what! I have lived in St Thomas for the last year and most of these if not all are drug or gang related! Just like any city there are hotspots for violent crime you dont hangout in certain areas! I write this as i have been living without locks on my doors for almost a year and feel safer than in Florida which i called home for 25 years!

  3. Zany Joseph
    January 26, 2018 at 9:56 AM — Reply

    I have lived here for 14 years never had a problem with any one I walk the streets any hour of the day and night with no fair love the Island

  4. Brianna
    January 27, 2018 at 3:30 PM — Reply

    Glad u all havnt had any bad experiences. My husband is from there and when we go on vacation he makes sure to point out certain areas we drive through not to stop for nothing even if I’m lost. it’s sad multiple times throughout the year when he hears about someone he grew up with or know getting murdered rather they were the intended target or not. Even a tourist from the cruise ship was killed one year while on an excursion from a stray bullet. So u don’t have to be “hanging out” in a certain area or part of a gang to get caught up. it’s a beautiful island don’t get me wrong but the violence has gotten worse over the years. And it makes it look worse because is such a small island.

  5. Unisha
    January 30, 2018 at 5:28 PM — Reply

    What is the Government doing about it? Are they part of the problems or are they going to come up with a way to fix this problem?

    • January 30, 2018 at 5:41 PM — Reply

      Unfortunately, the Virgin Islands Police Department has gone rogue in the person of VIPD spokesman Glen Dratte and does not even release information to our newspaper. The VIPD does not approve of stories like the one you are commenting on. Publicly, people who know Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr. say that he has failed at every task he has undertaken. It doesn’t get much worse than these statistics … and Police Commissioner Richards has “led” us there. It wasn’t this before before he was installed by Gov. Kenneth Mapp.

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