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Cruise Ship Port Crime
Crime Statistics in Cruise Ship Ports

Cruise Bruise Investigates Cruise Ship Port Crime

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Cruise Ship Port Crime
Crime Statistics in Cruise Ship Ports

Cruise Bruise Investigates Cruise Ship Port Crime

There have been a flurry of website owners and bloggers warning about crimes in foreign cruise ship ports and blasting the cruise lines for continuing to call at what they have labeled crime-ridden cruise ports. Some bloggers go so far as to call the ports dangerous and the cruise lines irresponsible for taking their passengers to known crime-filled ports.

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World Cruise Ports
Homicides 2015

Cruise Bruise took a look at the issue of cruise port crime. Crime is a worldwide problem, a problem no nation can avoid. Generally, crime in cruise ship ports is lower because tourism is a high priority for city administrators who allocate funding to protect tourism income for the city. Protecting tourism revenue is a priority for elected officials around the world. In the cruise industry, taking cruise ship passengers to destinations which produce a positive guest experience is is the highest priority. Changes in itinerary can have a dire effect on port tourism revenue when one or more cruise lines pull out due to high port crime.


Cruise Port Murders


Cruise Port Rapes


Cruise Port Assaults


Cruise Port Robberies


Cruise Port Thefts


Cruise Port Auto Thefts

Before we looked at the crime in foreign ports, we began looking at crime in American ports, where the majority of the critics are based. In order to compare a wide range of port crime, we began looking at cruise industry home ports within the United States. Port crime was compared base on reported crimes per 100,000. This allows us to compare cities both large and small and see which cities actually have a higher reported crime occurrence than others.

We looked at six crime categories where a cruise ship passenger might become a victim while in the port. Murders, rapes, assaults, robberies, thefts and automobile theft were closely examined as they have the strongest impact on cruise ship passenger safety while in port.

We studied the latest, most complete crime statistics (2013) for crime rates in twenty cruise ship ports including Anchorage, Alaska, Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Galveston, Texas, Jacksonville, Florida, Key West, Florida, Long Beach, California, Los Angeles, California, Miami, Florida, Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana, New York City, New York, Norfolk, Virginia, Portland, Maine, San Diego, California, San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida.

The results are sorted by port high too low for each crime category, based on rating per population of 100,000 including small and large cruise ports, so they could be compared equally.

We also looked at the 2015 murder rates in 24 cruise ports around the world. We sorted them by cruise region, United States, Caribbean, South America and Africa. For our study, Venezuela which geographically is part of South America, is listed as Caribbean because of the location at the top of South America, it is included in many Caribbean cruises.

For the world hot spots in the category of Murders we note which cruise lines sail those destinations.

For St. Louis, Missouri American Cruise Lines sails to both St. Louis and New Orleans with their Mississippi River cruise itinerary. The cruise includes two world rated cruise port murder hot spots, with St. Louis having a world murder ranking of 15 and New Orleans having a ranking of 32. This makes those cruises from New Orleans to St. Louis very dangerous unless you stay aboard the cruise ship.

Carnival Cruise Lines has a cruise ship home ported in New Orleans and AIDA Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and P&O Cruises call at the port.

Baltimore, Maryland, which overall has the worst crime rating for a U.S. port and is rated #19 in the world for 2015 murders, has two cruise lines which call there, Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. If you want to avoid a cruise port based on crime, this should top your list for home port departures to avoid. With Norfolk Virginia only 240 miles to the south and New York City only 190 miles to the north, there are safer departure choices as our crime statistics show. Before Americans point the finger at other ports around the world, they need to address their violent crime problem in the worst American ports.

Detroit, Michigan listed as #28 for murders in the world, has only one cruise line sailing there, Great Lakes Cruise Co. Although there are numerous other local cruises out of Detroit.

For the 2015 most murders cruise port city in the world, Acapulco, Mexico which is #4 on the world list for all cities with 86.5 murders per 100,0000, most cruise lines have dropped the city with only Voyages of Discovery and Phoenix Reisen booking for 2016 calls at the port.

Kingston, Jamaica landing at #33 for 492 murders or 41.1 murders per 100,000, cruise ships typically call at Falmouth, Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, which are all located on the back side of the island facing Cuba. It's not advised to wander off on your own to the other side of the island.

Cape Town South Africa falling in at #9 with 2451 murders in 2015, more than any other cruise port on our list, is still a favorite destination among passengers boarding Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard Line, Fred Olsen, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, P & O Cruises, Phoenix Reisen and Princess Cruises. Brazilian ports have the highest numbers of murders collectively of any around the world. Brazilian ports racked up 10,806 murders in 2015, landing five of their ports in top 20 most murderous cities and eleven of their ports in the top 50 most murderous cities in the world. Cruise lines sailing to Brazil are Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

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Anchorage Alaska
Crime Statistics Map

Anchorage, Alaska Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Anchorage, Alaska was a big surprise to us. With a population of only 300,950, it has big city problems. Anchorage ranked low at #15 in cruise port murders, with only 14 murders in the city for 2013, but it ranked #1 for rapes with 408 rapes or 136.2 per 100,000 residents and combined with the #3 ranking for assaults is still one of the most violent cruise ports in the U.S. and far exceeds any other Alaskan port. Beyond the physical violence, stealing is a real problem in Anchorage, Alaska. It ranked #13 for robberies, #8 for thefts and #1 for auto thefts.

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Baltimore Maryland
Crime Statistics Map

Baltimore, Maryland Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

The very violent city of Baltimore, Maryland got our vote for the worst American cruise port city. With a population of 622,104 it made the top 50 most murderous cities in the world ranking #19 above larger U.S. cities like New York and Los Angeles. It ranked #2 for American cruise port murders, #4 for rapes and #1 for assaults. Coupled with their #1 rank for robbery, #2 rank for thefts and #2 for auto thefts, we don not know why any passenger would use this port.

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Boston Massachusetts
Crime Statistics Map

Boston, Massachusetts Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Boston, Massachusetts has a population of 645,966 which is similar to that of Baltimore, Maryland, yet it is much less violent, ranking #12 for murders, #7 for rapes and #4 for assaults. Boston's position among other American cruise ports at #6 rank for robbery, #15 rank for thefts and #15 for auto thefts, means your personal property is fairly safe in this cruse port city.

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Charleston SC
Crime Statistics Map

Charleston, South Carolina Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Charleston, South Carolina has a population of 127,999, making it one of the smaller cruise port cities and based on crime statistics it is the best southern cruise port for embarking on a Caribbean cruise. The murder ranking of #14 is less than all the southern ports with the exception of Key West which isn't a home port for any major cruise line. It ranks #14 for rapes and came in last at #20 for assaults and Robbery. With thefts ranked #14 and auto thefts at #18 it is not hard to see why Carnival Cruise Line chose this port for Caribbean cruises.

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Fort Lauderdale Florida
Statistics Crime Map

Fort Lauderdale, Florida Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Fort Lauderdale, Florida has a population of 172,389 making it one of the smaller Florida cruise home ports. The port crime rate is better than Miami, the most popular Florida cruise port. While close to Miami, it ranks #8 for both cruise port murders and rapes and #7 for assaults. For property crimes it ranks #4 for robberies, it #12 for both thefts and auto thefts. Given the distance between the two cities is less than 30 miles, it is hard to see why anyone who considers crime important, would cruise out of Miami instead of Fort Lauderdale.

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Galveston Texas
Crime Statistics Map

Galveston, Texas Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Galveston, Texas has a population of 48,733 making it the smallest gulf cruise port. It has won out over Houston in the cruise industry as a cruise ship port. Based on crime alone, it's a clear choice over Houston. It had 3 murders (Houston had 214), ranking it #11 for cruise ship port murders in the U.S, but it ranked #2 in rapes with 56 rapes (Houston had 618) because of the small size of the town there were 116.5 per 100,000 residents. Galveston's reputation was somewhat redeemed with their #17 rank for assaults, having only 84 assaults. For property crime, robberies ranked #11, thefts and auto thefts both ranked #10.

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Jacksonville Florida
Crime Statistics Map

Jacksonville, Florida Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Jacksonville, Florida has a population of 842,583 making it the largest city in Florida, more than twice the size of Miami. Jacksonville ranked #6 in murders (Miami ranks #3), but Jacksonville ranks #4 for rapes (Miami ranks #13) and for assaults Jacksonville ranks #8 (Miami ranks #2). For property crime Jacksonville, ranks #14 for robberies, #12 for thefts (Miami ranks #6)and #16 for auto thefts (Miami ranks #7).

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Key West Crime
Statistics Map

Key West, Florida Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Key West, Florida has a population of 25,550 making it the smallest cruise ship port in Florida and the southern most cruise port in an American state It is only 106 miles from Havana, Cuba. It came as no surprise that Key West had a low violent crime ranking with no murders ranking it #20, nor that it ranked #20 for rapes, with only 20 crimes reported and for assaults the tiny town came in at #17. For property crimes it doesn't fair as well, with a # 17 ranking for robberies, #9 rank for auto thefts and #1 rank for thefts. You will want to keep a close eye on your belongings while in Key West.

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Long Beach California
Crime Statistics Map

Long Beach, California Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Long Beach has a population of 469,428 and ranks #9 for 34 murders and proportionately Los Angeles ranks #10 for 251 murders. Long Beach rakes #16 for 103 rapes, Los Angeles ranks #17 with 764 rapes. For assaults the ranks are similar, Long Beach #15 for 1091 assaults, Los Angeles #16 for 7624 assaults. For property crimes the two cities are also proportionate, Long Beach 1,118 robberies ranked the city #8. Los Angeles's 7,885 robberies ranked it #10. The ratio stays similar with 6,868 thefts in Long Beach and 55,734 in Los Angeles. As well as 2,355 auto thefts in Long Beach and Los Angeles with 14,382.

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Los Angeles California
Crime Statistics Map

Los Angeles, California Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Los Angeles with population of 3,884,307 is 8 times greater than sister city Long Beach, California with a population of 469,428. The ports are so close together, only 12 miles, you really can't consider a cruise departure from one, without considering the other. The two city's crime statistics are comparable, making a port decision based on which cruise ship departs from each port, the most intelligent decision. See comparisons at Long Beach above.

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Miami Florida
Crime Statistics Map

Miami, Florida Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Miami, Florida population is 417,650 and the port is the busiest cruise ship port in the U.S. Miami ranks #3 for cruise port murders with 71 in 2013. For rapes it ranks #13 below Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale. But, for assaults it ranks #2 with 2,562 assaults. For property related crimes Miami ranks #2 for robberies with 2,000, thefts and auto thefts both ranked ranked #7,with 15,031 thefts and 1,914 auto thefts.

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Mobile Alabama
Crime Statistics Map

Mobile, Alabama Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Mobile, Alabama is located on the Gulf of Mexico coast, with a population is 194,899. Mobile is 144 miles East of New Orleans. Given the crime in both cities, Mobile is better choice if crime is a consideration for choosing a Gulf cruise port. At the time of our research no cruise line had cruise ships calling there, though Carnival Cruise Lines was looking to return in 2016. Mobile ranks #5 for cruise port murders with 29 in 2013. For other violent crime, Mobile has a rather low #9 rank for both rapes and assaults with 88 rapes and 965 assaults. For property related crimes, Mobile ranks #12 for robberies with 459 crimes, #5 for thefts with 9,123 thefts and #14 for auto thefts with 681 auto theft reports.

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New Orleans Louisiana
Crime Statistics Map

New Orleans, Louisiana Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

New Orleans, Louisiana is located on the Gulf of Mexico coast, with a population of 378,715. New Orleans has a 2015 world murder ranking of 32, only one of four American port cities which made the embarrassing top 50 list. In addition to the world list, it is #1 with 156 murders in our top 20 American port cities crime statistics. New Orleans ranks #6 for both rapes and assaults with 176 reported rape cases and 1492 assaults. For property crimes New Orleans ranked #13 for thefts with 9179 reports and #5 for both robberies and auto thefts with 1138 robberies and 2143 auto thefts.

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New York City
Crime Statistics Map

New York City, New York Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

New York City, New York is the largest cruise ship port in the U.S., with a population of 8,405,837. It's one of the safest cruise ship reports, consistently ranking low in the top 20 American ports for all types of crime. New York City ranks #16 for murders, #19 for rapes and #10 for assaults. New York City ranks #9 for robberies with 228.3 per 100,000 residents, #20 for both thefts and auto thefts with 117,931 thefts per 100,000 and 88.5 auto thefts per 100,000.

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Norfolk Virginia
Crime Statistics Map

Norfolk, Virginia Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Norfolk, Virginia has a population of 246,139. Norfolk is 438 miles north of the next cruise ship port of Charleston, South Carolina and 240 miles south of the cruise ship port at Baltimore, Maryland. Norfolk ranks #4 for 28 murders, compared to Charleston which ranks #14 for 7 murders. Norfolk ranks #3 for 134 rapes with 54.3 rapes per 100,000 and #11 for 842 assaults or 340.5 per 100,000. For property related crimes, Norfolk ranks #15 for robberies, #10 for thefts and #13 for auto thefts.

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Portland Maine
Crime Statistics Map

Portland, Maine Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Portland, Maine has a population of 66,318. Located 175 miles south of Bar Harbor, Maine which is a popular stop for Acadia National Park excursions, for cruises to Canada and for fall foliage cruises. Portland is ranked #19 for one cruise port murder, #10 for 21 rapes and #19 for 70 assaults. For property crimes Portland ranks #18 for 85 robberies, #9 for 2,150 thefts and #19 for 69 auto thefts.

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San Diego California
Crime Statistics Map

San Diego, California Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

San Diego, California has a population of 1,355,89. San Diego is located 106 miles south of Long Beach, California which has a population of 469,428. San Diego is ranked #18 for 39 cruise port murders or 2.9 murders per 100,000. #12 for 316 rapes and #14 for 3,492 assaults. For property crimes San Diego ranks #19 for 1,456 robberies or 107.9 per 100,000, ranks #19 for 19,230 thefts and #8 for 6,143 auto thefts.

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San Francisco CA
Crime Statistics Map

San Francisco, California Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

San Francisco, California has a population of 837,442. San Francisco is 406 miles north of cruise port Los Angeles and 812 miles south of cruise port Seattle, Washington. For violent crimes, San Francisco is ranked #13 for 48 murders, #18 for 161 rapes and #12 for 2,653 assaults. For property crimes San Francisco is ranked #3 for 4,202 robberies, #2 for 36,527 thefts and #3 for 5,886 auto thefts. While you are less likely to become a vicim of a violent crime in San Francisco, you are highly likely to lose things of monetary value.

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Seattle Washington
Crime Statistics Map

Seattle, Washington Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Seattle, Washington has a population of 652,405. The next major cruise port is San Francisco, 406 miles to the south. Seattle ranks #17 for 19 murders or 3.0 per 100,000, ranks #11 for 153 reported rapes and #13 for 1,985 assaults. For property related crimes, Seattle warrants keeping a ****close eye on your belongings, ranking #7 for 1,601 robberies, #3 for 24,189 thefts and #4 for 4,310 auto thefts.

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Tampa Florida
Crime Statistics Map

Tampa, Florida Cruise Port Crime Statistics Map

Tampa, Florida has a population of 352,957. It is the only Florida Gulf port. By road, it's a 514 mile miserable vehicle ride or a nice three hour flight from Mobile, Alabama. Tampa ranks #7 for 28 murders, #15 for 78 rapes and #5 for 1,411 assaults. For Tampa property related crimes your belongings are fairly safe. Tampa ranks #16 for 580 robberies, #16 for 6,320 thefts and #17 for 553 auto thefts.

Supporting Information & Resources:
Featured or New CBI Crime

Related Cruise Bruise Investigations

Suggested Reading

Statistics Resources
  • City-Data.com
  • Wikipedia - List of cities by murder rate