10 Horrifying Cities to Live In

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There are many great cities out there to live in, but there are also some you would rather stay away from. Some are obvious. They’re known for simply having high homicide rates, or perhaps less than great water quality. However, there are also some cities out there that are so bad at certain things, that they would be absolutely horrific, and almost impossible for most people to stand living in. And yet, despite the everyday horrors, some people manage to live in these cities their entire lives, and find a measure of enjoyment in the world around them.

Please note, some of the entries include disturbing subject matter. You have been warned.

10. Cleveland, Ohio Has A Large Concentration Of Serial Killers For A City Its Size

Cleveland, Ohio is a hotspot for serial killers in this country, and may possibly be the most terrifying city in the United States. In fact, while no one seems to have managed to pinpoint any particular reason why, evidence points to Cleveland, Ohio practically being the serial killer capital of the world. TopTenz has even featured an article making that very thesis, for frightening reasons. Among others, Cleveland has played host to the infamous kidnapper Ariel Castro, recent serial killers like Anthony Sowell and Michael Madison, and killers of old like Jeffery Dahmer and the Cleveland torso murderer (fun fact: the lead investigator on that case was none other than Eliot Ness himself).

Somehow, Cleveland manages to regularly churn out horrific killers. Some of these people have been known for dismembering victims and hiding body parts around their property, while others like Castro were more interested in using and torturing live victims. Some of the killers have said they were inspired by killers of the past, but it is still curious that such a large concentration has built up in one area. Unfortunately, the most likely explanation is that Cleveland is a fairly large city that manages to still be somewhat isolated, and is also economically depressed – these are generally factors that lead an area that have a generally unsafe air. Plus, if you live in Cleveland, you’re going to have to root for the Browns. That could drive anyone to murder.

9. Dubai Has Put Tourists In Prison For Reporting Rapes That Occurred While Visiting

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, and their laws are known for being very traditional and very draconian. They are most strict when it comes to laws about women and laws about sex, as their strict interpretation of religious law demands. This has put some foreigners in hot water when visiting the supposedly luxury city of Dubai, and finding that there was very little real protection for them within the law as a woman. Two different high profile cases have emerged where a woman who was visiting Dubai from a country in Europe was raped, reported it, and was arrested herself for her ‘crimes’. The issue is that whether you say you are raped or not, extramarital sex is illegal in the UAE, so the women in both these situations found themselves jailed, with the police telling them they need to learn the law before coming to Dubai.

The first woman was from Norway, and was released after an international outcry, although she was at first sentenced to 16 months in prison – for the crime of being raped and reporting it, because she had sex outside of marriage. Another woman from the UK was raped by two British men while visiting, and upon reporting it to the police, was held and threatened with jail time. With proper international pressure she will likely see release, but the fact that the laws on the books are to jail women for reporting a sexual assault is just insane. To judge someone as committing a crime when someone forced them to do an act against their will makes no sense whatsoever.

8. South Africa’s Largest City, Johannesburg, Has A Serious Issue With AIDS And Baby Rape

You read the title of the entry, so don’t say we didn’t warn you – this entry is about some nasty stuff. South Africa in general has a problem with rape, and has for some time, which has unfortunately also led to an increasing spread of AIDS in South Africa. This is especially apparent in Johannesburg, where the FIFA World Cup was held not long ago, and there were many concerns about athletes and all the people who came with them potentially being raped. However, what went somewhat under the radar in those days is that a big part of the problem is actually child rape, and sometimes even that of infants.

The problem is that once AIDS started to become a problem, people would still go to traditional healers for advice, many of whom would tell them ridiculous things, like that having sex with a virgin would cure their illness. This means many men have gone to increasing lengths to try to cure their AIDS, sometimes raping young children, and in rare cases, even babies who are a few months old, thinking it will be a cure. This has also led AIDS to proliferate even worse in South Africa and in Johannesburg specifically because the quickest way to spread it further is for those infected to have sex with virgins. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the issue is going away anytime soon.

7. Being A Street Kid In Rio De Janeiro Is A Matter Of Life And Death

Recently, Rio De Janeiro hosted the Olympic Games, and they did everything they could to hide the fact that their city is a total shambles, but failed pretty badly on this point. The reputation as a city where constant thievery is the rule of the day, and you can never stop paying attention or your phone will be ripped from your hand, is well cemented in most people’s minds. However, while people think about all the crime, what they often don’t think about is how many crimes against humanity the government of Brazil commits on a regular basis to clean up the streets, and committed especially for the Olympic Games. The issue is that most of the people doing the stealing are homeless children. Kids as young as seven are commonly seen on the roadways begging for change and stealing what they need to in order to survive.

Many consider them a public menace, of course, but these are little children with no guidance, many of whom are just trying to eat. Those who do become addicted to drugs do so to cope, because they are just little kids who have no home and no one to care for them. There have been many reports that in order to clean up the streets, the police have rounded up large amounts and put them in very inhumane prisons for no real crimes at all. There are also UN suspicions and reports that suggest that police in some areas are being directed to quietly clean up the problem, and simply kill many of the homeless children. It is hard to confirm as the government would not want to admit to this openly, but the Brazilian police are known for committing an incredible amount of homicides every year. The truth is that living on the streets of Rio would be horribly grim, and even visiting would likely not be a fun time at all.

6. Fukushima, Japan Has Been Overrun By Radioactive Wild Boars And Citizens Are Scared

We all know about the tragedy that happened at Fukushima, but what many people may not know is that the tragedy is far from over. The damaged reactor is still causing issues and is not fully under control – it could keep releasing contamination for many years to come. However, even worse for the former citizens of Fukushima, they may never get their lives back. At least for now, the Japanese government believes they have things contained, and they believe the radiation levels in Fukushima are starting to drop. They want to start lifting the evacuation order and allowing people to return to their homes, about six years after the disaster happened. However, the truth is that at this point, it may actually be too late.

Even if the citizens aren’t worried about radiation levels being too high, the forest has started to reclaim the city. Huge growth has crept in, and many houses are basically ruined, with forest growing into and through them. To make matters scarier, many citizens are worried because wild boars have thrived in the radiation and made the ruins of Fukushima their home. These creatures are normally more skittish, but the radiation seems to have made them more unafraid, and this could make them much more dangerous and aggressive. To make matters worse, there are some conflicting studies that suggest the disaster could have caused radiation issues in the thyroids of many of the children who had lived in Fukushima – although some argue that this may have been a preexisting issue. Either way, the truth is that Fukushima and its people have been altered forever, and the city may never return to the way it was again.

5. London, Ontario Had A Curiously High Percentage Of Serial Killers Per Capita

From the years of 1959 to 1984, the small town of London, Ontario had the highest concentration of serial killers in the world. And we don’t just mean per capita; we mean as far as recorded, no one has found such a high percentage of killers within one city in any given time period. During the time period where the city was gripped in the hands of so many murderers, there were 29 murders attributed to serial killers, and only 13 of them were ever solved – the thirteen solved were attributed to three vile killers.

A detective named Dennis Alsop, who was working on the cases, kept copious notes in his diary, which have been theorized over very minutely. Peer reviewed studies of these entries done at the University of Western Ontario have suggested that the unsolved murders could have been done by as many as four killers with similar methods, all working at the same time. However, they have concluded that even if it was only one, the city still would have had a higher percentage of serial killers than anywhere else in the world had managed to have at once. This activity seems to have disappeared, suggesting all those involved are long dead or arrested, and haven’t bothered to pass on their evil to any new generations. However, it is still a strange question that may never be answered: why did such a small, unassuming town in Canada play host to so many vicious killers?

4. Residents Of Pyongyang Are Treated To Creepy Synth Music Every Morning Of Every Day

Everyone knows that North Korea is a dictatorship with incredibly draconian and obnoxious rules. They have made it clear that even their most privileged citizens, who perfectly toe the party line, still have to leave with dystopian nonsense that would make most of us cringe. For starters, they have to keep pictures of the dear leaders of past and present in their houses, and they can never turn their backs on them. This, of course, is the same rule required for any pictures of them in public places. However, for some reason, North Korea also decided that their people needed to be reminded every morning, that one of their dear departed leaders – who they are taught is a god – enjoyed writing opera music.

Every morning in Pyongyang, citizens are woken up to an eerie, synth music version of the song “Where are you dear general”, which is from an opera written by the late Kim Jong Il. While the normal version does not sound particularly bad, the synthetic version played over the loudspeakers comes across as incredibly eerie – like something straight out of a really terrifying horror movie set in an alternate reality or future. On top of all the weird music, citizens of Pyongyang get to hear propaganda blasted out of loudspeakers all day as well – just in case the message wasn’t getting across.

3. The Mexican City Of Ecatepec Is A Horrifying Place Where Women Go Missing All The Time

The city of Ecatepec is in the State of Mexico, within the country of Mexico. In In Ecatepec, it is perfectly normal to hear regular alerts for armed robbery in the area, and in recent times, the interior secretary of the entire country has put out alerts specifically warning about the city. When Pope Francis came to visit Mexico, this was one of his stops, because he wanted to see how bad it was up close. It is described as being an incredibly filthy and disgusting city, where most people seem to have given up on their city ever being worth anything. However, the most terrifying thing about this city is that it has the highest rate of disappearances and murders of young women anywhere in Mexico.

Mothers have gone to the police about their daughters disappearing, and never gotten satisfactory answers. Some have had the police tell them they fished them out of a canal, without offering anything in the way of real, material evidence it’s them. For many, there are signs with pictures up all over the city, hoping for information or to one day be reunited. Some have had cartel members contact them asking for ransom, and hang up when it became clear they couldn’t afford a significant sum of money. Many are afraid of the worst, that if they cannot afford to pay a ransom, that their daughter will be killed or sold into slavery. Many wish to leave the city and its horrors behind, but most who live there are also very poor, and do not have the means to move elsewhere – they must endure the horror every day.

2. Onitsha, The Nigerian City With The Worst Air Pollution In The Entire World

When most people are asked about the most polluted cities in the world, they would probably name somewhere in China, or perhaps India. However, the truth is that Nigeria is actually one of the fastest expanding countries in the world, and is going all in on industry. What this means is often massive pollution, and for the city of Onitsha, things are about as bad as bad can get. The city of Onitsha has literally, by far, the worst air quality in the entire world. Dust particles both fine and large are simply everywhere and practically unavoidable. The sanitation efforts in the city are practically nonexistent, and piles of garbage are all over the place.

The main reason for the pollution is that Onitsha, like many areas in Nigeria, is rapidly expanding in terms of industry. This city in particular is doing some of almost every industry you can imagine. If you combine that with poor government controls, you have a city where air quality has gone completely off, and is probably going to be bad for many generations to come. However, the people who live there don’t seem to care. Perhaps they have simply grown up adjusting to it and do not know anything else, but when interviewed by The Guardian, most citizens living in Onitsha didn’t see it as a problem at all. However, while they may not think it is a problem, or at least not one they notice daily, there is more than enough reason to believe that it’s causing a great many premature deaths. It is interesting though, how much human beings can adjust to. For those who have always lived there, they would be surprised to hear it is the city with the worst air quality in the world.

1. Mumbai, India Is Struggling To Deal With Massive Garbage Management Issues

Mumbai, India is being buried in a mountain of its own garbage, and the government of India is desperately searching for a way out. The problem is so vast that every day, hundreds of garbage trucks line up to add more to the main landfill. The main landfill is almost full, and of the other two, one is no longer operating and the other doesn’t have that much space either. Some have suggested simply creating more landfills, but many are worried this does nothing to solve the real problem. Mainly that in Mumbai and much of India, there is no process at all in terms of actually doing anything with the garbage. Nothing that could be recycled or composted is properly processed, and there isn’t anything that can do so anywhere near the city.

Instead, nearly everything is just constantly loaded into trucks and dumped into the junkyards. Because the trash problem has gotten so bad, some have taken to littering the streets with trash as well, and some have tried to burn their own garbage, which worsens air pollution. Experts are worried that if all that comes about from the crisis is another landfill or two, the problem will only get worse over time, instead of better. They believe that with India’s rapid industrialization, the only solution is to create processing centers and habits to help reduce the amount of overall waste being dumped to begin with. With the right change of habits and the right infrastructure, even such a rapidly growing country and city could theoretically get their garbage problem under control.


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