25 Cities On The Brink Of Disaster: "Don't Be Here When Things Get Violent, Unsafe, & Fragile"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,

The 21st Century is inching ever closer towards chaos… and the time to get out of the big city is upon us.

With economic conditions, growing crises, desperate populations looking to scratch by, and more hatred and division than at any previous point in American history, the city has become a dangerous and unruly setting – and finding yourseld in one that is falling apart could be the worst mistake you ever make.

People are living in bigger urban zones than ever before… these megacities are the hotspots of global activity. But many are also proving to be the most dangerous place to be in a collapse. Crime is rampant, order is shaken and many people become willing to take advantage of the situation. Many areas are vulnerable to natural disasters, and have already lost control during past emergencies.

In other places, widespread unemployment is simply taking its toll through increases in theft and violence. Whatever the reason, there are many places where things are falling apart, badly.

As Wired reported, disaster is looming on a worldwide basis, but some are approaching total collapse, thanks to a storm of factors:

Using data on 2,100 cities, Robert Muggah has found which factors make an area more likely to become violent, unsafe and fragile. The data show 30 cities on the brink of disaster and what could cause it.


Infographic via Signal Noise.

Cities were rated based on factors including: conflict, fragility, population growth, unemployment rate, access to services, income inequality, air pollution, homicide rate, killings in terrorist attacks, political violence and the risk of natural disaster.

Natural disaster has proved very disruptive lately, as tsunamis and earthquakes have recently devastated New Zealand and rattled nearby Australia. Though things are fairly stable in these Western democracies, their geographical vulnerability to serious tectonic activity makes their civilization far than stable. Auckland, New Zealand made the list for risky cities.

But Haiti was even harder hit. The 2010 earthquake caused widespread devastation in a place that was already one of the poorest on the planet. The 2016 hurricane in Haiti proved that despite billions of dollars in donation, philanthropy and intervention by the likes of the Clinton Foundation, Haiti was still extremely vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of people were once again displaced as their homes were destroyed; local governments and global NGOs did little to nothing to secure basic necessities, and the place remains one crisis away from total instability. Port-au-Prince, the capital and most populous city there is already a very risky and poverty prone place, and could become much worse in the wake of a disaster.

Of course, any number of urban areas in the war-torn Middle East and perpetual conflict zones of Africa has also made for very dangerous cities, with populations on the brink of disaster, and many individuals vulnerable to crime and violence on a daily basis. Ibb, Yemen, Kirkuk, Iraq, Aden, Yemen, Kabul, Afghanistan and Mosul, Iraq have become some of the worst locales, along with cities spread across the Congo, Mogadishu, Somalia and other highly disputed areas.

Brazil’s megacities are so saturated with the urban poor, and short on basic resources including drinking water, they literally millions of people are on the brink. Riots are possible, and a survival crisis could factor in for Sao Paolo, where 8 million people are at risk of having no access to water. Predictably, many cities in Colombia remain extremely fragile due to the ongoing drug war conflicts that have claimed lives, and left millions of people at the mercy of gang rule.

Venezuela has proven to be a special case, of near precision collapse, as its currency tanks and economic warfare brings people to their knees as they are forced to wait in line for rations, trade on the black market and deal in worthless cash. Socialism has worsened the problems created by the emergency drop in the oil prices. Caracas remains the biggest pool of hungry, poor and increasingly fed up people.

Guatamala City, Mixco and Villa Neuva, Guetemala as well as San Pedro Sula, Honduras were identified as particularly vulnerable cities in Central America, as refugees continue to seek amnesty in the United States to escape the ongoing turmoil in their own countries.

Perhaps surprising to some, many major European cities are quite vulnerable as well to global economic pressures via sharp increases in immigration, “rape” scandals and social concerns about terrorism.

London, UK is one of the wealthiest cities, and yet it faces enormous pressures from overwhelming immigration, from growing economic disparity and from cultural clashes, threats of terrorism – and now, fighting between political factions over Brexit and other issues.

The Eastern bloc is especially vulnerable to these pressures that could lead to a growing unrest. France, Germany, Sweden and Norway also face major instability over immigration and cultural issues.

But some of the most unstable cities on the planet rank among those in the United States.

Places like Baltimore, Detroit, Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia and other cities across the map are still deeply divided often police and race issues. Many have seen serious riots, looting and unrest. These social wedge issues are still being pushed from moneyed political interests, while political divide after the direction of the country has become sharp.

Dallas, Texas just suspended pension payments for some of its civil servants, a sign that financial insolvency could create an epidemic during the next crisis. Several states, like California, have over promised benefits to state employees in the pension programs, without ever planning to pay for them. If people lose it, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and the whole of the surrounding areas could simply erupt. Similar problems have left Detroit, Michigan and Puerto Rico, the commonwealth island, extremely vulnerable to bankruptcy and economic apocalypse that could contaminate the nation and global within hours.

If a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, hits the East or Gulf Coast, tens of millions of people could be caught up in traffic, locked in cities without food, and desperate to cling to order and survive. Likewise, if a major earthquake hit the West Coast, millions could be displaced and left without many options. That’s when things turn ugly.

The world is reaching a tipping point, and much chaos and instability could come crashing down anytime now. Many cities have made themselves open targets for collapse, with economic normalcy already hanging by a thread and populations already restless and growing increasingly discontent.

Be prepared. These things are building, and there are quite a few places you’d rather not be when the SHTF.

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Draybin Deffercon III's picture
Draybin Deffercon III (not verified) Dec 12, 2016 6:57 PM

In the last depression people were still civilized..

Today people will tear each other apart.

SafelyGraze's picture

this article has got its facts all backwards.

the big cities are the safest, securitist locations to be. because they have the biggest population. 

in a democracy, the biggest populations have the most votes. 

which means they have the most safeties and securities.

riot-free zones have always included LA, NYC, chicago. 

this is why people flock to them in ever increasing numbers.

mister lincoln



SidSays's picture

And they have gun control; must be safer when SHTF.

Draybin Deffercon III's picture
Draybin Deffercon III (not verified) SidSays Dec 12, 2016 7:19 PM

Cities are interesting places to visit, until you try and live there and see what assholes people are.

Muh safe space is a 1000 yard radius with a 300 WinMag and Ghillie Suit.

flaminratzazz's picture

you are one of those sneaky fvkers I have to use my thermal imaging on

Paul Kersey's picture

The author of this article has obviously not been to, or heard about Camden, NJ. Compared to Camden, NYC is as safe as Aspen.

scsherman's picture
scsherman (not verified) Paul Kersey Dec 12, 2016 8:29 PM

Yeah but no people live there. Some wild animals have taken up residence, but that is about all. I think the Philadelphia African Ballet practices there as well.

dcohn's picture

How about Passaic.  Newark

HedgeJunkie's picture

I'm 80 or so miles from Los Angeles, 150 miles or so from Lost Wages. Much, much less than those distances from the San Andreas (which parralles the I-15before zigzagging acorss it. You can see the fault line on that road.).

In my little mind, when something happens, those that have cash and gas and a means, will be leaving LA in droves to Lost Wages.  Those remaining will fight their way through the Inland Empire.  By the time they walk 40 miles or so to my neighborhood, headed to Lost Wages, they will be suitably depleted of personel that the bands will be relatively small.  If they follow the I-10, well, they're fucked.  And I suspect most will follow the 10 because that's where everyone else is going.

I have actually walked hundreds of miles in the desert as a desert kid.  I can't imagine city people doing that for hundreds of miles...those that can will be very small in number.  There still remains a shitload of miles betweeen Commiefornia and the next spot in Arid-zona.  Just as there is between Boron and Lost Wages.  In my area, we may see a wave of a thousand or so passing through, raiding homes along the 15.  Further back we'll have to contend with thousands of desperate locals, a group at a time.

Culling those will be a painful experience.  My asshole neighbor to the left is a prepper.  We're preppers, to some degree.  While niether of us particularly like each other, I'm fairly certain that there will be mutual backup if shit sours.  For my part, I was sort of an asshole for teasing them about the dad being a government drone and parasite.  It's on me.  Very decent people, same values, but we just didn't get along so well.  Nieghbor to thte right is Spanish speaking.  I suspect he's also a prepper.  He has chickens and is able to throw massive mexican parties.  None of which I mind, they're polite and turn music down at a reasonable hour and at least say hi once in a while.  Stay to themselves mostly.  They guy directly across form me is hard core.  "It's time to get the fuck out of here."  Bought himself a thirty acre spread out even further into the desesrt and is in the process of moving/evacuating.  Where he's going has brackish water, it's not sweet.  The water tastes like something filtered through a gym sock.  Smells about the same.  But he's putting more distance between his family and the interstate.

I have a shitload of resources.  If I survive and we run these down, my fall back is dad's place 22 miles away.  I've stocked him and helped put up a 10k water tank.  Flowing water is within a mile of his place.  And all the water is sweet, Artisian wells.  There is a lot of water in the desert if you know where to find it.  I know where you can hit water at three feet within two miles of my dad's place, in the middle of nowhere, out in the middle of the desert, and it's unclaimed land (even today, it's State land)..  Dad's land is where I grew up and I roamed the desert, as a kid for looking back, Holy Fucking Shit, miles.  Hichhiking in the 70's was so much easier than today.

And I grew up, in my teens, with Milton Welshire, a man who a walked from St. Louis to Los Angeles when he was six and seven. And the Ulenkotts, who did the same the same.. MIlton was our closest neighbor, the Ulinkotts the most extreme. (When your town has two hundred and fifity miles in coverage and 2,000 citizens, shit gets spread pretty thin.)

I am an asshole.  I grew up with no social skills.  I have no care for color, creed or race.  When I was growing up we we're just fucking happy someone different showed up.  I speak my mind and it's sometimes offensive to those that are sensitive to that shit.

And I don't care.


Putrid's picture
Putrid (not verified) HedgeJunkie Dec 13, 2016 6:29 AM

Be a scumbag, not an asshole.

DontWorry's picture

Get over yourself and make friends with your neighbors.  Apologize if you have to.  Invite them all over for a bbq.

Trolly McTrollface's picture

I enjoyed your piece. You may not have the social skills (your words) but you write well. I ran away from the big city in the mid eighties. Lived on a remote island, fished, raised chickens, grew vegetables, pot, you name it. Had a gun and am a good shot. After 22 years we sold the farm and moved back to the big shitty. No suburbs for me. We moved right downtown on the 20th floor. After a few days I came out of the foetal position and found I really liked it. The lifestyle is like night and day compared to living in the bush but there are things about the city I appreciate now that I didn't before. It's only a rental so I can give it up in a months notice. Anyway, I decided that if I have to live my life as a paranoid prepper life is hardly worth living. I've still got a hill to run to if things get bad. As the article points out, some cities are worse than others. Cheers:)

shamus001's picture

Well it's certainly a good thing the people of the middle ages, and the colonist didn't think that way.  I suppose they had greater stamina than you?  I hear people all around saying "If I have to grow my own food- If I have to struggle to live - blah blah, I don't want to live in that world!"

Buncha sniveling spoiled people.  I suppose an event would be best just to thin out the herd of useless eaters.

Anglophobe's picture

I'm just Lucky I work and live near Atlantic City nj ..... all flowers and sunshine hear ..... and camden is a shithole .... my moms family was from camden , later in her life she was staying in Gloucester city which is like the poor white over flow.... me and my oldest brother got her outta there towards the end, when she fell ill with cancer.

Draybin Deffercon III's picture
Draybin Deffercon III (not verified) flaminratzazz Dec 12, 2016 7:52 PM

Worth "a shot" I guess...

flaminratzazz's picture

you look like a fvkin toadstool with that thing on and it flat out didnt work when he moved.

KittyKittyBangBang's picture


you left your gay porn at the... acridited times .....@flimyrazazz ... .. you shuld go round... .....nd pick it up.. ..mdb not dat bad........... .........HA HA HA... altrite loser

elmo jones's picture

I have ninja skills that allow my body temp drop to zero. 

Scuba Steve's picture

ah, Ghillie suit is full mylar and its cold out so the contained heat was a bonus ...

BANG, you're Dead :)

Savvy's picture

in a democracy, the biggest populations have the most votes.


How will votes gain you something to eat or drink or electricity when the lights go out? If you're counting on the gov to save you, you get what you desrve.

philipat's picture

And my guess is that those Concierge desks in High-rise condos will become unmanned pretty quick. Why would a 99%-er put his life on the line to protect the elite few?

Umh's picture

History says you are wrong.

dcohn's picture

You are wrong.  Many of those front desk employees are good hard working caring peole and they get protection from the few rich that actually care and are not just rich but human

Never One Roach's picture

I'd get my neighbors toegther to form a kind of neighborhood watch or guard but how can I tell who is a Russian agent and who is safe to trust?

dcohn's picture

If you think that way you have no chance.

Russians are the least of our issues.  That is propaganda to the extreme.


Stop watching the damn BOOB TUBE

HobbyFarmer's picture

Logged in -- first time in months -- to down vote you for missing an obviously funny comment. /sarc unnecessary

CCanuck's picture

Dcohn, did you really miss the sarcastic tone of that post?
Wow, when you get a clue do something with it, before it dies of loneliness.

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

He would have to shave and wear a suit and tie, then wade through walls of bullshit.  Not worth it!

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You sound like a skilled Community Organizer.

Are you presentpresentable, and have good oral skills? If so, you could run for a Senate seat, after some dirt is dug up on a front-runner.

wanderer9641's picture

It is getting such that it is better to trust the Russian agent than trusting your own goverment employees - India now employs tax collectors as professional thieves - How long before your government uses the same tactic?

AGuy's picture

His post was pure Sarcasm.

HedgeJunkie's picture

In a democracy, yes, the major cities geta all the initial aid.  Those that are distant from cities, and rural, get little to nothing for weeks later.

waspwench's picture

I agree, almost all aid will go to the cities in an attempt to keep a lid on things, but look what happened in New Orleans during Katrina. You are best advised to try to plan for your own needs and to stay away from the cities where there will be mayhem.

samsara's picture

I think you are right. I think you and everyone you can convince should move to a city.

all-priced-in's picture

WTF do you expect -


His picture / avatar is a sheep!






acetinker's picture

Lotsa baseball bats in that graphic- and an attack on a black orphanage in Manhattan?

Well hell, I don't know nuthin' 'bout this Lehrman feller (sounds Jewish) but I'va always maintained that the Yankees were more racist than us Rednecks down South.

Bein' born and raised in Alabama- I'm inherently stupid, y'know?

Kin ya' point me toward more info on this Lehrman feller and his affiliations?

Much obliged.

dcohn's picture


The Yankees were much woprse than the Southern and just the fact that history claims the opposite is all the evidence anyone should need.

Democrats are much more racists then Republicans if anyone would compare such silly things.

Its always the opposite when you really dig into these things.

dcohn's picture

The sickest stuff comes out of the most tame people  (Supposedly tame)

I had a guy who is honored by everyone in the community and teaches how to learn to ground yourself and relaxation techniques.

He asks me did you ever live in the Midwest.  I say NO.  He answers well I have and they are the dumbest group of people alive.  They ae the ones that voted for trump.  Just stupid people he says.

OK  Now take that and reverse it 100%.

Now you have reality.  His view is simply warped and he cannot see the love in those Midwesterners.  They would let a stranger in their home out from the cold much quicker than a Northerner,  Does that make them dumb?  Not in my book.

Karma is everything in this life.  Use it or lose it.  People all have value equal to each other.  Some may have it in ways not yet defined by society.  I assure you it is there.

I am a born and bred New Yorker.  My father was a New York City Garmento and he likely has his first quarter.  Get this. After 20 years of marriage he got divorced and ent home to live with Mommy and Daddy in their ONE BEDROOM apartment in NYC upper west side.  He stayed there for over 25 years with them until they passed on.  When he moved in it was 1972.  He was earning upwards to $50K a year back then.  Had a house that today is worth over 5 million.  They gave it away for 50K.  Had 50000 shares of AT&T in 1972.  Who knows what else.

But spend money on RENT when there is a perfectly good sofa bed in a 1 bedroom apartment, the same one he lived in where he went to school as a kid was free.  YES FREE.  He watched jhis savings, all in stocks. Go from 5 million to 3 million and finally back to 5 million again during the 2007 bust.  Does he do anything different now even after showing how if he had gotten out and back in he would have an extra 3 million now.

His reason.  He needs the income checks.  Even though the total value goes down the income checks come in which he uses for expenditures.

Plain and simple insanity.  NO real estate, no other investments.  All stock managed by a guy that is 75 years old and lost in a world where 5% is very good and just never sell anything.  Hey I don't claim to know a better move in the markets but at least try something else with a small amount.   NOPE.


But hes my Dad and I love him and its his money to do whatever he wishes.  I just wish he would enjoy it instead of just losing it.

BarkingCat's picture

Dog,  the level of intelligence is dropping to all time lows on ZH when people cannot detect obvious sarcasm.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


the big cities are the safest, securitist locations to be. because they have the biggest population

That makes sense. Big cities have more people, which means more defenders from invasions of outside agitators. It also means more underground infrastructure, which provides a protective barrier against potential tunneling by invading Soviet Spetznaz.

in a democracy, the biggest populations have the most votes. 

which means they have the most safeties and securities.

Logically, this can not be disputed.

riot-free zones have always included LA, NYC, chicago. 

this is why people flock to them in ever increasing numbers.

They are also safer from terrorists, because they spend more money for terror prevention.

arrowrod's picture

When it devolves to cannibalism, plenty to eat.

Cloud9.5's picture

Just a simple thought exercise:  What do you do when the supply chains break?  How long do you have before your neighbor kicks your door in looking for a bottle of water?  How do you feed your kids when hundreds of thousands of other people are asking the same question at the same time?  You do realize that it is estimated that we will lose 90% of our population within the first year of grid collapse.  How do you suppose three hundred million people will die?  Will they assume the position and meditate or will they claw through each other looking for a way to feed their kids? 

I’m not saying that living in a small town would be ideal.  But I do believe that I have a better chance working with people I have known for sixty years than I would with rank strangers.  I think a population of 1,500 would have a better chance of making it through the eye of the storm than would a population of three or four million.

Do not assume that government will come to your aid.  I’ve spent a lot of time drinking coffee with colonels over the years.  The generals have the schemes but it is the colonels that make the plans.   A colonel’s foremost responsibility lies with maintaining the integrity of his command.  In a supply chain collapse he will supply his people by foraging.  Foraging is a euphemism for looting the populace. 

mvsjcl's picture

I don't think most people got your post, SG.

Maynard G. Krebs's picture

"the big cities are the safest, securitist locations to be. because they have the biggest population."

Did you bump your head?