At VIFreepBreaking NewsCrime NewsEnvironmental NewsHealth NewsPolice NewsSt. Croix NewsSt. John NewsSt. Thomas NewsTourism News

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 Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr. did not comment on the United Nations report.

To read more:

Previous post

Women's Coalition Bookkeeper Faces 10 Years In Prison If Convicted of Federal Theft and Money Laundering Charges

Next post

Ferrol Trucking Vessel Runs Aground In East Gregory Channel St. Thomas Today ... Coast Guard Is On Scene

The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.


  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,


    • kyle L petillo
      March 14, 2019 at 2:41 AM — Reply

      How long ago did you live there? I might live to red hook. I just noticed that pedophile island is close to there. It was little saitn thomas island.
      Is the crime basically undercover and in the allies. I grew up in Vegas so I have seen a lot of the tourist crime. Wich that’s easy to avoid.

    • Jerry
      July 23, 2019 at 4:07 AM — Reply

      How do you come to this kind of conclusion if your not living in the Caribbean?

      Statistics. It doesn’t matter if you live there or on the moon. The numbers are what they are. They have more murders per capital no matter where the writer lives.

    • Anjuli Ambani
      July 30, 2019 at 10:20 AM — Reply

      “How do you come to this kind of conclusions if your (sic) not living in the Caribbean?”

      Are you serious? Did you not read the article? Do you think that he made up those numbers???

      And why would living there give anyone more authority over published statistics, than someone from say Michigan, referring to those exact same reports?

  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!

    • l
      June 19, 2018 at 11:31 AM — Reply

      would love to talk to you about living there

  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

    • Dre Ballantine
      March 23, 2018 at 11:34 AM — Reply

      Dude I was born and raised in st.Croix I tellin u Ayo dont know Wha Ayo talkin bout I am 15 and I cant talk to most a my friends no more not cause we fall out because they dead 15 I tellin you your in the dark just cause it never happended around u dont mean its not happening so don’t comment on stuff you have no idea about shit crucial down hea mean know where u been

      • Athrun Z
        April 2, 2019 at 3:11 PM — Reply

        Maybe because your are part of targets, criminals know too well, don’t target whites, rich Asian and rich Latinos and rich or establish whatever. If you do, you die faster or didn’t twice or three times longer in prison with no fair trial.

        We live in a world where if you have money, influence and power, you have the state’s protection, wby do you think that black men and women work so hard to get into the professional world? To get status, power, wealth, so cops can treat them like humans instead of human debris that get false charges or killed, per the systemic racism the US invented and Eurocentric cultures fostered.

  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.

    • Sasha
      June 18, 2019 at 2:56 PM — Reply

      They cover it up! You are warned not to report it to the police if you want to live. If you do report a crime there is retaliation. The reports do not reflect the evident facts. The police recreate alternate records if necessary. USVI does not have an American Consulate. They do however, have a very nice victim advocate.

  6. Annette
    February 26, 2018 at 2:21 AM — Reply

    Sad to read these statistics and be from the Virgin Islands! Born and raised, though I am living away on the mainland! It makes for bad publicity for an island that thrives on tourism! Who wants to take a vacation or come to an island where your chances of getting murdered is one in 2,000! The government of the VI and the police department needs to step up and do something about these statistics! The beauty of our islands are being overcome with drugs and gun violence! Please let’s do something to stop the madness!

    • Linky
      February 23, 2020 at 9:54 PM — Reply

      Hey this shit has been going on for years corruption bribery fuckery , fake ass masons and stars alike. It’s a group of us up here in Babylon from ST.Thomas that is getting ready to take our shit back. Tru Native Sons. Stay tuned.

      • Richard
        March 1, 2020 at 10:25 PM — Reply

        In which way do you mean? I hope your actions bring true peach to the island and make it a safe place to visit or place to live. My hope is that everyone does what he or she can to leave the world better then how they found it.

  7. LInda
    March 6, 2018 at 9:59 PM — Reply

    Such islands and so sad to hear of such violence. Sadly my brother was a murder victim on St. Thomas in Charlotte Amalie when he was visiting the islands in 1996 to help as an electrician in the aftermath of a hurricane. He and 2 others were ambushed after a night out to celebrate a birthday the day before he was to fly home. The case has never been solved and those involved suspected local law enforcement was involved.

  8. Norman A George
    March 26, 2018 at 11:24 AM — Reply

    God help us we will Be Strong and Courageous it’s time to do some soul searching God I ask, for forgiveness for me people we are a people that refuse to ask you God to forgive our sin and fail to repent. So, I will repent of our sins and thank you for hear my supplication to give our people a fresh start in you that we will stop being a muderous people. We need to Love our God .

    Norman A George
    Aka GazaKing
    Gaza Commandment
    Be Strong and Courageous VI

    • David
      March 28, 2018 at 5:54 PM — Reply

      Good luck with that and I hope he answers your prayers. Please mark the date of your prayers, March 26, 18, even though I’m sure you pray every day, and let’s see if they help any.

  9. March 26, 2018 at 7:42 PM — Reply

    This article is very misleading. And more so the UN report is disingenuous.

    I’m MOT defending the crime in the USVI. But the USVI is a Territory being judged as a Country.

    What this should alarm us to is this: International bodies are viewing us as a country, treating us as a country, even though we don’t have any representation in their bodies, as a country.

    Nevertheless, see this list of cities in the world with the highest murder rate per capita:

    Now imagine if any of those American cities were being treated as countries?

    As Marley say: don’t let them fool ya!

    Don’t believe the hype about Black criminality. Neither should you believe the propaganda that tries to make the USVI a third-world/Global South Country…explaining the substandard quality of life – despite the FACT arhat we are “American citizens.”

    That Beloved is the real issue…

    Virgin Islands for the Virgin Islanders…those at home and those abroad!

    • Shelley Moorhead
      March 29, 2018 at 7:15 PM — Reply

      Well said!

    • AGIQ
      October 10, 2018 at 12:29 AM — Reply

      Regardless of the designation as a city or a country, the numbers are the numbers. And by the way, it said, IF the USVI was a country! So we are not a country, but our murder rate is gather than most countries in the world, and this should be ok, why? This kind of recognition should really keep our leaders up at night, but from the looks of things, seems like they are sleeping well. Police involved crimes are a real problem for tourism and anything else for that matter! What a waste of a beautiful place!

  10. Kim
    March 27, 2018 at 7:28 AM — Reply

    If you come as a tourist- your odds of getting murdered are not 1 in 2,000. This number increases significantly with the other 20,000+ people/ day entering the territory. One tourist murdered since 2011 by stray bullet. How many other Caribbean nations can say that? Don’t buy drugs after 11pm & you’ll be fine.

  11. Mark chance
    March 28, 2018 at 6:19 PM — Reply

    St. Maarten can say that and we are a country.

  12. Jason
    March 30, 2018 at 5:40 AM — Reply

    I’ve lived in the U.S.V.I. for almost 20 years and I’ve never had any problems with crime especially violent crime. If you approach life here just as you would stateside than you shouldn’t have any issues but if you drink and party every night and go to neighborhoods you shouldn’t be in when you shouldn’t be there than inevitably it will catch up to you. It’s the stupidity that accompanies the drugs and alcohol and unfortunately the amount of people that are constantly cycling through are so easy to identify that it’s become cliche. Most people can’t handle the amount of freedom that living here comes with and so they almost all meltdown and implode. I personally can’t imagine the U.S.V.I not being home and in my 20 years I’ve seen lots of articles with lots of stats but very little in physical proof that the islands are “bad”. Our crime isn’t random, it’s almost always drug and gang related or retaliatory so don’t be stupid and you’ll stay safe.

    • David Jones
      March 3, 2020 at 10:41 PM — Reply

      Not too long ago: The owner of the jewelry store in Christiansted, who was recently robbed and killed; the FEMA worker who was killed during a robbery at a bar; the old man who was robbed and killed in his apartment; old man hacked to death with machete visiting his wife’s grave… Lots more I can mention. They were NOT doing anything to bring harm to themselves! The reality seems more REAL when it hits home. Glad you’re safe. I am safe too (for TODAY). But, never lose sight of REALITY > lots of evil, hate-filled people here in USVI, at ALL levels…

  13. Anita
    April 29, 2018 at 6:08 PM — Reply

    I Recently moved my family from Trinidad to Barbados. My mother always said growing up Barbados was the best caribbean island. Only 29 murders last year 300.000 people population. Barbados no were to be found on the list and there go my Trinidad shame. My trini people have become so uncivilized it saddens me.

  14. BED
    May 24, 2018 at 9:27 AM — Reply

    As I read all of the comments, it saddens me to know that tge Virgin Islands have so many blind people. I am a resident of St. Croix, V.I., and nothing that is being reported is incorrect. The crime rate is extremely high for such a small place, and I refuse to pretend otherwise. The V.I. Government needs a total overhaul in order for things to change. I have two sons residing in St. Croix too, and I pray every day that the Good Lord will protect them because you don’t have to know someone to become a victim of gun violence in the V.I. Please people, wake up, and stop looking for excuses about what is going on in our lovely islands. Be that someone who will help in making a change since Governor Kenneth Mapp and Commissioner Delroy Richards have failed to protect our love ones from the criminals. I ensure that my home is always properly protected because those criminals have no respect for the law in the Virgin Islands.

    • Sasha
      June 18, 2019 at 3:02 PM — Reply

      100% Truth!

  15. Ari
    May 31, 2018 at 11:44 AM — Reply

    I recently received gov’t assisted housing… a project voucher. I believe it is called Christiansted Crossings? I also am an addict, 8 years clean, but would currently on methadone. I know there is a clinic in Christiansted as well. This is why I applied for housing. I am from suburbs north of Boston. Lynn MA, Salem MA, Lawrence MA. Places where the “ opioid crisis” is rampant. Obviously I have been around crime, know how to handle myself, and mind my own business. Now being white, with these things in my life, heavily tattooed for a girl, my husband is covered, tattooed on his face even. Does anyone thing we’d be targets, being from the mainland, moving into the projects, and on the methadone clinic?? We’re not into gangs, guns. Just some grown punk rock kids, with a child I would love to raise in paradise.The thought never bothered me before, I just don’t know how much of this is inflated/ gossipy news, or if there is a lot of truth. Every city has bad areas, but does it go beyond that? My aunt and a few friends lived in St.John and never complained about anything like that. My aunt lived there for about a decade. My two friends, a couple years a piece. Just wondering what is best for my child and my family. Thanks.

  16. Billy Menefee
    September 4, 2018 at 11:54 AM — Reply

    My wife & I lived on St Thomas, full time, for two years and we NEVER saw or experienced a crime!
    Visit the wrong neighborhood in Miami, Jacksonville or Tampa Florida and the odds are your going to see where they record the TV show, First 48 Hours…
    Most major crimes occurs after midnight, in or near the neighborhood night clubs!!
    Be street smart and aware of your surroundings, at ALL times!!!!!!!!

  17. Joe
    September 27, 2018 at 8:42 PM — Reply

    I lived there over 10 urs and my close friend was murdered in his house in front of his two small boys on a Sunday afternoon. Police chief said wrong place wrong time and that corrupt muddascunt was right. Because of him and his “police force” being home on a Sunday afternoon was the wrong place at the wrong time. I witnessed gangbangers shoot up 4 winds while little girls were singing inside there. My friend Bobby was murdered in Wet Willys during a robbery. My friends husband was killed at East End BG in a robbery. Place is mashed up. Very sad. I left because it was not safe to raise kids i felt at the public school , could not afford antilles. Still i love St Thomas and i miss the ocean and the good people every day. Im just sharing my experience.

    • Sasha
      June 18, 2019 at 3:07 PM — Reply

      I do not use drugs nor am I into partying. I did however make a great deal of money through employment while living in St. Thomas. My experience is very similar to yours. I know people murdered, shot and their business’ burned down. I personally escaped the island after a violent attack from two men with a gun, while walking past the Montessori School. ( Sober )

  18. October 3, 2018 at 6:04 PM — Reply

    With heroin on the rise in this country, I can only imagine everything, everywhere is going to get a lot worse before it ever gets better. I am in Arizona, and in Healthcare, the ER’s in the valley are overloaded. With that, the lack of police and community structure to get involved, USVI is going to need us all to pray for the people there to sustain the paradise for all.

  19. Tourist
    October 24, 2018 at 6:26 PM — Reply

    Tourist. We’re planning a trip to X in 3 weeks. Thanks for the warning but we’re flying out of Las Vegas….. The safest place to vacation is Iceland and Hong Kong but China has holes in the floor for toilets. See yuall, in beautiful, St. Croix.

  20. BAG
    December 13, 2018 at 8:19 AM — Reply

    Thank you all for your engagement on that topic. The issue with statitistics is that it is, well statistics. Many comment as tourists, which I am too. I agree with those who say you can positively influence where you fall in the statistics by staying away from trouble areas and common sense. I am still troubled by the absolute numbers of death among the citizens of USVI caused by violence being it due to gang activities or drug related. All these have deeper roots and its complicated. Here the government and its authorities play a role. Not commenting on these questions raises suspicions. Why would a politician not want a safe country, territory, state or city in which businesses of all kinds can grow? (I guess I know the answer). Tourists like us spend more money when they feel safe i.e. we go to town, we dine, we visit, we buy rather than sitting on our boat in a safe distance. We come to the BVI very often and I would like to come over to the USVI but I don’t even feel welcome. Not even by the border authorities of my country, the USA.

  21. BAG
    December 13, 2018 at 7:43 PM — Reply

    Thank you all for your engagement on that topic. The issue with statitistics is that it is, well statistics. Many comment as tourists, which I am too. I agree with those who say you can positively influence where you fall in the statistics by staying away from trouble areas and common sense. I am still troubled by the absolute numbers of death among the citizens of USVI caused by violence being it due to gang activities or drug related. All these have deeper roots and its complicated. Here the government and its authorities play a role. Not commenting on these questions raises suspicions. Why would a politician not want a safe country, territory, state or city for their citizens in which businesses of all kinds can grow and provide opportunities? (I guess I know the answer). Tourists like us spend more money when they feel safe i.e. we go to town, we dine, we visit, we buy rather than sitting on our boat in a safe distance or pass-by altogether. We come to the BVI very often and I would like to come over to the USVI but I don’t even feel welcome. Not even by the border authorities of my country, the USA.

  22. NewIslander
    January 17, 2019 at 3:36 PM — Reply

    This article should be re-published, along with comments.

  23. NewIslander
    January 22, 2019 at 3:46 PM — Reply

    With 5 murders committed in the first 17 days of January 2019, it looks like we’re on course to move up a notch or two by the end of the year as the deadliest place on the planet.

  24. Graig
    January 26, 2019 at 8:00 PM — Reply

    Sad to hear this about the VI I spend 5 years when I was a kid. Never remember it being this crucial. I guess things have changed. Sad part is that the economic status will worsen if tourist read about this. Bad economy means more desperate people trying to survive, and desperate times calls for desperate measures! I if this is accurate something can be done to change the views of future tourists. St.thomas is a Beautiful place so is St. John. Haven’t had the pleasure of visiting St Croix.

  25. Bianca Smith
    January 31, 2019 at 2:10 AM — Reply

    Sounds like the police aren’t doing their jobs. At all.

    I lived there too, for 8 yrs. This type of thing is why I left. The police dept there is a joke.

    • Sasha
      June 18, 2019 at 3:10 PM — Reply

      There is deep corruption for sure. Along with lack of accountability!

  26. movingtoSTX
    June 18, 2019 at 3:46 PM — Reply

    hello thoughtful people –
    what are the solutions?
    how can this be transformed?
    What is the true root?

  27. August 29, 2021 at 9:46 AM — Reply

    […] and assault became commonplace (a United Nations report notes the US Virgin Islands now has the fourth highest homicide rate in the world). One year out, the US Virgin Islands labor commissioner testified his surprise that there hadn’t […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *