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Wretched Hive / Real Life

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Come friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
John Betjeman, Slough


  • A lot of small towns can easily devolve into this. More than a few small towns can be built around a single industry (such as a coal mine, a lumber mill, or a specific factory), with a large number of the working population having their livelihoods tied to it. Eventually, the natural resources (like the coal mine or forests for lumber) might dry up or technology could march on and leave the factory obsolete. If this happens, this could cause an economy to collapse. Some towns are able to recover, a lot of them aren't so lucky. The ones that don't recover wind up experiencing large population drops as the people who can leave do so, along with widespread business closures. The new central economy of the town can be summed up as "welfare and the occasional manufacture and sale of drugs", and with it comes widespread alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, child abuse, and other problems that plague impoverished areas.
    • This fate is usually averted in Scandinavia, where the state has certain degree of control over towns and municipalities. Should such fate loom ahead, the state will act as a whistleblower, and terminate the independence of the said town or municipality. It then is amalgamated to neighboring communities to provide jobs and healthier fiscal basis.

Specific Places

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  • The townships of South Africa, particularly the big ones like Khayelitsha outside Cape Town. Soaring murder, drugs and violence rates, cheap ramshackle homes, and fluctuations between highest and second highest poverty rates in the world (competing with Brazil's Favelas). And yet, in the nicer areas, it's not entirely unheard of for one to find a corrugated iron shack housing a working widescreen television set...
  • The coastal town of Eyl in Somalia: the base of operations for pirates who prey on oil tankers and civilian boats in the Gulf of Aden.
    • Mogadishu, its (theoretical) capital has had a reputation as the single deadliest city in the world for about twenty years. Somalia's civil war tore the city apart and became something close to a Real Life Forever War until mid-2011 when the government backed by the African Union finally managed to root out Islamist militants and restore some approximation of order. Despite this, bombings and shootings are still an almost daily occurrence.
    • Somalia has been a Wretched Hive since the government was overthrown. Most of the country is now divided between two anarchistic factions who kill each other off on a daily basis. There's a reason why people are warned against visiting there.

  • Cervantes said of the Indies: "The shelter and refuge of Spain's desperadoes, the church of the lawless, the safe haven for murderers, the native land and cover for card sharps, the general lure for loose women, and the common deception of the many and the remedy of the particular few."
    • This has only become truer for the big cities, particularly the capital, Manilanote , where the critical mass of some 15 million people, mostly descendants of impoverished provincial families who flocked there to seek their fortunes after World War II, inevitably spurs the growth of truly massive, truly horrendous slum areas, most famously the notoriously violent Gangster Land of Tondo. Which used to be a noble kingdom in precolonial days. That's how far they've fallen.
  • Yoshiwara, now one of the prefectures of Tokyo, was allowed legal prostitution/slavery by the Bakufu and the Imperial government until the end of WW2.
  • Shanghai in the pre-WW2 yearsnote  was called both "the Largest Brothel in the World" and the "Whorehouse of the Orient". With its unofficial mayor a Triad crime lord, the city was known for high rates of corruption, as well as vices like prostitution (especially of American Caucasian women) and drugs (especially opium). It was also a major hub for human slavery. To be "Shanghaied" still means being kidnapped for unwilling labor; for men often as sailors, for women as prostitutes. Violent crime was rife, while at the opposite end of the danger scale people had to contend with theft and professional begging.
    • Contemporary Shanghai also tackles with these issues. Many censored movies deal with issues regarding vice, and the difficulties adapting experienced by young Chinese, especially migrant job seekers from rural China.
    • The Fairburn-Sykes fighting knife is named for a pair of British members of the early-1900s Shanghai Police who brought their Combat Pragmatist style of hand-to-hand fighting to the British Commandos during World War Two.
  • Liuzhou, in Guangxi province, is often seen as contemporary China's equivalent of a Vice City. Well-known for its numerous bombing incidents (in 2015 alone, there were at least 15 explosions that occurred around the city). Even with high crackdown rates, the city is still home to much of China's gangs, with a notable mob boss executed in 2019 for drug trafficking and bribery. The crime rate in the city is unbelievably high for Chinese standards, as thousands of people in the city have been diagnosed with HIV, resulting in the slow but noticeable growth of pickpocketing, robberies, rape and murder throughout the city, and despite containing like less than 0.001% of China's total population, around 10% of China's car accidents happen in Liuzhou.
  • Before Portugal handed it back to China in 1999, Macau had a reputation as a stronghold for the Triads. But it was a really pleasant place to live, work, or visit, as long as you kept out of the politics around the gambling industry.
    • Some parts of Hong Kong didn't have a much better reputation, especially the Kowloon Walled City (an old Song Dynasty fortress that specifically wasn't leased to the British during the whole Hong Kong deal). In a postwar building boom, the area grew expansively, aided by the fact that Hong Kong authorities couldn't enter it, because technically it was a foreign territory and the Mainland authorities would complain to the Ninth Heaven. From World War II to The '70s, it was completely controlled by the Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, drug use, and black market medical care. The movie Blood Sport starring Jean Claude Van Damme was set here, including the Kumite (Darwinistic martial arts tournament run by Tong drug lords). Fluorescent light illuminated the narrow alleys as the crowded ghetto blocked out the sunlight. Rogue electrical engineering drained power from the city, and made life for the residents unsafe. Yet at the same time, it had many genuinely hardworking people who just wanted a decent life, thus formed tightly-knitted groups to protect themselves. In the early nineties, the Walled City was completely demolished, and now it houses a City Park.
      • While hardly a posh district, at no point in time was the Walled City completely wretched or a real slum. Most of its 33 thousand-strong population were artisans and tradesmen who lived there simply because it was a cheapest accommodation in Hong Kong: as the land belonged to no one, no one paid taxes on it and rent was the lowest there. Even the gangs tried to limit their impact: after all, it was their base, NOT feeding ground. In short, it was little different than a lot of poor neighborhoods around the world, its only defining character being its questionable legal status. But even then, since the mid-Seventies there was a tacit agreement between the mainland authorities (to whom the area ostensibly belonged) and the British, that allowed British police to operate within the Walled City. This radically brought down the crime activity and increased the quality of life, as the utilities could come there as well.
  • Singapore, for the better part of the 19th century, was also known derisively by the rest of The British Empire as "Sin Galore", due to the prevalence of corruption, prostitution, gambling dens, and Triad activities. This reputation was in part due to the British East India Company either neglecting what was going on in the settlement or actively collaborating with its malcontents. It was only after the transfer to official British rule by Queen Victoria that the colony and future city-state began to improve its image as an international trading hub. Now, if anything, it has the opposite reputation, an extremely clean, well-kept, and strict nanny state where littering can get you fined and drug trafficking can get you executed, one that William Gibson once compared to "Disneyland with the death penalty". Their equivalent of New York's famous "I [Heart] New York" shirt reads "Singapore is a Fine City" along with all the fines and penalties one can incur for smoking, jaywalking, and chewing gum. They most definitely treat the "Sin Galore" era as an Old Shame.
  • Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities remain absurdly dangerous places despite the nominal "end" of the Iraq War. Urban bombings and gun massacres with double-digit death tolls are literally a daily occurrence; more than 8,000 Iraqis died in terror attacks in 2013 alone, and the sectarian violence shows no sign of abating.
  • In Israel: formerly Ramlah, now Lod is mostly notorious for this. The police had a huge operation to confiscate tons of illegal arms and still didn’t get most of it. People there are used to falling asleep to the sound of guns. Netanya also has such reputation, but it’s mostly negative media representation.
    • There's a joke about how much better the new train model is compared to the old one: It only shakes while approaching Netanya...
    • Somewhat significantly—and not coincidentally—Lod and Ramlah are home to large concentrations of Israel's traditionally disenfranchised Arab population. Decades of poverty and discrimination do more or less the same thing anywhere in the world.
      • Ditto the Gaza Strip, commonly called "the world's largest open-air prison".
  • North Korea. The conditions are best described by Wikipedia with the following sentence.
    "International organizations have assessed that human rights violations in North Korea have no parallel in the contemporary world."
  • Turkey has a couple of those;
    • Bağcılar, İstanbul has a reputation as an impoverished, crime ridden suburban ghetto. Drug abuse, theft, mugging and gun violence is very common. It came to a point of being a news-making cliche to tell a crime has happened in "Bağcılar again".
    • Adana, despite being a major agricultural and industrial centre and the fourth greatest city in Turkey, has a reputation as this. The city is undergoing a strong case of urban decay, and gun violence, mafias, prostitution, drug abuse and extreme heat are running rampart.
    • Northern suburbs of Ankara, which are unofficially called Çinçin as a whole, is usually called a place where "even the police cannot go"
    • Most of the southeastern provinces of Turkeynote  are riddled with terrorism and it's uncomfortably usual to see the news of martyred soldiers and civilians almost every day in the news in Turkey.

United Kingdom
  • The picture for this trope is inspired by the city of Bath in the southwest of England. While nowadays it's a notably beautiful and relatively peaceful town, attracting tourists from across the world, in the Georgian period, it was an aristocrat's seasonal playground. Moreover, whilst the city was good if you were rich, the poor lived in... well, look at the picture.
    • The picture is titled Gin Lane and was drawn as contrast to Beer Street, showing pleasantly mellow people chatting and discussing politics, to comment on the problem of cheap gin in England at the time. Gin was seen as being as corrupting as crack today. Considering just how cheap it was (the tax code of the time made it much more profitable to turn the grain into gin instead of bread, so overproduction followed and prices plummeted to absolutely ridiculous levels) and how prevalent abuse could get, it wasn't an exaggeration.
      • Regarding gin itself, crackdowns and reforms, combined with the expansion of the British Empire led to gin becoming surprisingly respectable. Malaria was more commonly encountered, and countered by taking quinine in the form of tonic water - tonic water that was made more palatable by addition of lemon, sugar, and gin, creating the modern gin and tonic, which became a popular drink among the upper-middle and upper classes (who usually produced the Empire's officers).
      • It was also interpreted as a Stealth Insult, because part of the implication was that all the business going to places like Beer Street was what helped caused the poverty and wretchedness of Gin Lane in the first place. Though it's true that the author hated gin.
  • Speaking of 19th century England, the Whitechapel of Jack the Ripper and Soho when Mr. Hyde had his flat there qualify.
    • After the murders ended, the public realized how absymal the living conditions were and the worst parts were demolished and then rebuilt.
      • Modern Whitechapel STILL qualifies. Riddled with half-derelict buildings and the filthy run-off of street-markets.
      • Finnish language word huithapeli, "schlemiel", "no-gooder", "wastrel" is a corruption of Whitechapel.
    • Another reason for the living conditions was that the Police Are Useless trope applied. In addition to Interservice Rivalry, they were also under-trained. Reforms were introduced to improve the reputation and effectiveness of the London police forces. London has two police forces. One is for the city, the other is for the administrative division.
    • Soho remained something of a Wretched Hive until relatively recently, due to its position as London's Red Light District and the large element of organised crime. It's become more gentrified over the past twenty years or so, though.
  • Slough, which recently tried to change its name to Slough-On-Thames to sound less relentlessly awful, is perhaps the most obvious example; it became a vast industrial complex during the industrial revolution, and still is...but with absolutely no cultural life to speak of, essentially being one continuous factory complex. John Betjeman's infamous poem is not about it specifically, but about it being "the menacing shape of things to come", which it was, having produced hundreds of similarly joyless towns existing only to supply workers to industrial estates and metropolises and sustain sky-high crime rates, and whose only semblance of cultural life is the local Tesco (Wal-Mart for Yanks).
    Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
    Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
    Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
    Tinned minds, tinned breath.
  • The particular combination of sectarian ill feeling, poverty, drug dealing, alcoholism, knife culture, and if we're honest, a city lost in its own legend means that Glasgow is still the official murder capital of Europe (new Europe included).
  • Northern England is often seen as this, due to many parts of it having some of the worst metrics in not just Britain but all of Europe. Average salaries are lower, depression rates are higher, average life expectancy is hilariously low, the cost of living isn't particularly great. There also tends to be way more banditry and chaos. In the likes of Manchester and Leeds - which also happen to be two of the six biggest cities in Britain, life isn't too bad partly due to the gentrification and development that's been taking place since the turn of the century - though they've still got some catching up to do with the more affluent parts of the south, and there's also quite a few areas of them that aren't particularly great. In places such as Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Dewsbury (which is just ten miles south of Leeds, by the way), Hull or Blackpool, however...
  • ALL the Russian cities during infamous "Rough nineties" — a period of poverty, chaos, banditry, and corruption. Now it's certainly better in big cities, while life is still bad in some for small towns and rural zones.
  • Limerick has often been named Stab City. Though in recent years the number of stabbings has decreased, as gun crime has gone through the roof.
  • During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, nowhere was this more apparent than in Belfast. The city was a perfect example of the ethno-political conflict and sectarian violence plaguing the country. Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods zigzagged across the city and there was much violence between the two groups. The IRA was at the height of its activity during the '70's and '80's, and due to activity on both sides, the conflict caused an average of 50 deaths a year. Even today, there is tension between the Catholics and Protestants, who are predominantly nationalists and loyalists, respectively, and violence still sometimes takes place between the two groups.
    • In addition, Belfast (and all of Northern Ireland, really) became notorious for kneecappings, beatings, and other extrajudicial punishments. Since the police in Northern Ireland were incapable of maintaining order, what with locals taking potshots at each other and bombings, Protestant and Catholic paramilitaries alike took over to fill the void and had a tacit agreement to "take care of their own." Thus, if one was suspected of drug dealing, pedophilia, or any other anti-social behavior, one could expect a visit from the UDA (if one was Protestant) or Provos (if one was Catholic) and either a beating, a kneecapping, or a strong suggestion to get the hell out of town.
  • Grozny, the capital of Chechnya has been this way for over two decades now, since the Soviet Union fell, and Chechnya has been through war after war. The country has officially been at peace for several years, but Chechen Rebels and Russian Mafia still have major presences in the city.
  • The Ancient Greek city of Corinth. It was well-known as a Red Light District, and to "live as a Corinthian" was to have no morals whatsoever.
  • France has a whole department acting as one: the department number 93, Seine-Saint-Denis, also called "neuf-trois" ("nine-three"). Used as an unofficial "dumping ground" for the massive immigrant population looking for work during The '60s and The '70s, the place was slowly but surely left behind with time. Today, it's a breeding ground for gang violence (usually just big fights between two or three rival groups, although shootouts and drive-bys are becoming all too common) and illegal commerce (mostly stolen goods, firearms, drugs, and illegal immigrants) and, for glory-hound politicians, an endless mine of arguments about what's wrong with France. There are decent places to set up shop if you live on the outskirts or the south, but God help you if you live in the north. Things are so bad that, for companies with offices in La Plaine (a business-only neighborhood of Saint-Denis, one of the biggest and worst cities of the department), company policies either forbid employees to leave the neighborhood for their safety except for going to or leaving work or outright decline every possible legal responsibility if one of their employees is attacked during work hours, all due to fear of revenge if someone press charges and gives the gangsters trouble. Gentrification as well as a more ruthless use of police forces by mayors is very slowly starting to make things better, though.
  • Also in France, you have the "Quartiers Nord" of Marseille ("Northern Townships" in English). No need to list all the problems there: they are essentially quite the same maelstrom as in Seine Saint-Denis described above. What sets it apart is its almost memetic status in French collective identity, with drug-related murders being a much more open and deep problem for the city, causing huge controversies in France that other places (perhaps even more crime-ridden) paradoxically don't sustain. The troubles got so bad at the turn of the millennium that in late August 2012 Senator Samia Ghali publicly called for the French Armed Forces to restore order, and the reinstatement of conscription regardless of gender.
  • The Parque das Nações in Lisbon (and then, also partially in neighboring Loures) was, in the 80s before the construction of the EXPO '98 (its original name), a declining area of the city, a heavily polluted area with containers, slaughterhouses and other polluting industries, as also a den of prostitution. Today, it's a highly developed and one of the safest areas of Lisbon.
  • Even Scandinavia isn't immune to this trope. Södermalm of Stockholm used to have a sinister reputation, as did Kallio district in Helsinki. The street Vaasankatu has even today a morbid nickname Puukkobulevardi (Knife Boulevard) as a legacy of the years past.
    • More recently Malmö has been considered this in Sweden, owing largely to rising crime rates related to racial tensions, and that's not taken in the gang bombings.
  • Józsefváros ("Joseph Town"), the eight district of Budapest is extremely infamous for its crime rate - among others it includes the Magdolna (Magdalena) street and its surroundings, a ghetto even cops refuse to enter after dusk and the Józsefváros Market which is essentially the physical embodiment of the black market. The buildings not located on the major streets are generally in a state of disrepair between "looking like ruins" and "are actually ruins". There are some rehabilitation efforts going on but it gets less and less effective the farther an area is from the inner city.
  • Naples, despite being a popular tourist location, has quite a bad reputation in Italy, with its high crime rates, gang activity, police corruption, waste management problems, widespread poverty and parking violations, not to mention how it's built right next to a volcano, AKA MT VESUVIUS.
  • Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in Ukraine has a problem with separatist violence. A UN report said these separatist controlled provinces had "complete absence of rule of law, reports of arbitrary detention, torture and incommunicado detention, and no access to real redress mechanisms".
  • In the 1990s, Casal Ventoso was a decrepit and dirty slum of Lisbon that also had the distinction of being the largest open air drug market in all of Europe that attracted up to 5,000 dealers/users daily and no one batted an eye at open drug use or even bodies lying on the sidewalk.

    North America 
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — A.K.A. "Stabmonton" or "Deadmonton". Originally, the pejorative Deadmonton was used to describe Albertan capital Edmonton's lack of a social or cultural life despite it being renowned for its vibrant Summer festivals (one specifically honoring multicultural and ethnic diversity), a Golden Age in The '80s which lead to the "City of Champions" slogan (for among other reasons the five Stanley Cup titles by the Edmonton Oilers of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier), and "Royal" fine arts institutions, a giant mall (which had a accident that killed several people in the 80s), host of the Universades (Olympics for university students), a statue to world peace (dove) dedicated for Pope John Paul II's visit, and Michael J. Fox. The contemporary usage of "Deadmonton" is derived from a wave of murders. Initially in 2005, Edmontonians were terrorized by a murder spree that helped them win another "Championship" (Murder Capital Of Canada) with 39 murders, and again in 2011 with 48 victims. An amateur film maker/Edmontonian heavily inspired by the Dexter book Darkly Dreaming Dexter intended to produce a series of snuff films based on Dexter themes, he was caught with one victim. A murder over a Christmas tree, triple homicides twice in the same place (a nightclub that changed names), an elderly Chinese woman sexually assaulted, a young Chinese man dismembered using the same modus operandi as the film 'Gangster Number 1". As of 2019, the most recent was a gun fight at the University of Alberta's peaceful HUB mall which left three dead. A website entitled "Deadmonton: Last link to the left" is an online memorial and desperate cry for help.
    • A good example of how bad things are: in 2004, fellow Alberta metropolis Calgary saw its Flames reach the Stanley Cup finals. The Red Mile celebrations became most famous for plenty of ladies taking their tops off. The level of violence was near-nil, particularly for the standard of thousands of drunken hockey fans parading in the streets. Two years later, as the Oilers also made a miracle run for the SCF, their "Blue Mile/Copper Kilometer" also had flashing, but the violence skyrocketed.
  • The Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, especially the area around the intersection of Main Street and East Hastings. Located within blocks of the Vancouver Olympic Village, the area is one of the poorest neighborhoods in North America. Vancouver Police filmed the lifestyles of habitual heroin users in a documentary called Thin Blue Line; there is a reason one of Canada's few real-life superheroes has taken this area as his "beat." A portion of Granville Street and the streets just off it could also qualify. Unusually, Granville is neither run-down nor out of the way; it is a major downtown traffic artery.
  • Another Canadian example could be the downtown core of Hamilton, Ontario, especially after the steel industry all but abandoned the city. High poverty rates, absentee landlords running borderline slums, abandoned buildings, and a host of other associated problems. That said, low real estate prices has resulted in a high number of young entrepreneurs and artists moving to the city, which has resulted in some neighborhoods improving significantly.
    • Same applies to the North End of downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thanks mostly to this district, Winnipeg and Edmonton are the big Canadian cities that jockey for the country's highest homicide rates year after year. The North End also tends to kick off "deadly house fire" season in the River City every year, and the victims are disproportionately First Nations or Métis.
  • Every city has its areas that seem like this. In Greater Sudbury, Ontario, the downtown core, as well as the neighborhoods known as the Donovan, the Flour Mill and the West End tend to be this. While there isn't as much violent crime or gang activity here as there may be in other cities, if you have stuff, people will steal it. Add that to the drug culture, prostitution, seedy bars and hotels and general grimy look of the area, and you've got your Wretched Hive.
  • Life in the territories can be rough. Most of the land is covered in permafrost or is so rocky nobody can grow anything. The land may have some resources, but most of it is far more expensive than it's worth to extract. Little to no natural resources means that most of it has to be driven up... which makes it ridiculously expensive. This results in $9 bread loaves, $26 bags of flour, $46 pieces of meat, and bottles of water retailing for over $100 CAD. And that's not getting into the amount of crime against First Nations people that is routinely covered up, or the rampant teen pregnancy, alcoholism, and drug use.

United States

  • A running joke among people who live in the United States is for all of New Jersey to be portrayed and talked about as if it's this. In reality, it's nowhere near Wretched Hive levels. For more info, see our page on it. Most areas are actually nice; there are suburbs that are normal and stretches of land. Then again, there are cities residing here that have the worst crime rates in the nation.
    • Two reasons why Joisey has its terrible reputation are two cities very close to New York City: Newark with its sky-high crime rates and Elizabeth with its industrial pollution. New Yorkers who venture past these wretched hives are often surprised at how pleasant the rest of the state is.
    • There's also Camden on the other side of New Jersey, which is a terrible city even by global standards. Wracked by poverty, it has the highest crime rate in the United States, and looks about as inhabitable as the surface of the moon. Naturally, just like Newark and Elizabeth form an unnatural barrier to New Yorkers seeing anything but hell in New Jersey, Camden is across the river from and colors the state's general impression in Philadelphia. All that said, Camden has improved a lot since about 2013, when the city had a twofold reform of its police. First, a (highly controversial) decision to abolish the city police and replace it with a "county" police—which is really just the city police under a different name (no other municipality in Camden County wanted to join in it) with a key difference: it didn't have the city department's union contracts (even when the new County police voted to unionize, they had to negotiate for much lower contracts), allowing the department to hire more officers. Second, a new style of policing, involving the cops getting out of their cars and walking beats and making themselves known to the locals. As it turns out, when the police are "Officers McKenna and Gonzalez who walk by every morning and eat lunch with Pastor Williams at the diner every Tuesday" rather than "the cops in the squad car," the people actually like the police and trust them, and help them fight the nasty elements who make life hell. As a result, many areas which were formerly open drug markets are now simply poor working-class neighborhoods.
  • Not that some areas of Philadelphia are much better. The overall city has seen a lowering of crime rates in recent years, but the economic decline, unfettered poverty, and gang activity of North (and parts of West) Philadelphia has earned it a reputation as a slum. World-class colleges like University of Pennsylvania and Temple University are known for having beautiful, top-notch campuses while the areas directly around them are crime-ridden neighborhoods that have definitely seen better days. The Temple University Police Department is the largest university police force in the United States for this exact reason.
  • Despite being an epicenter of corporate America, Wilmington, Delaware is one of the most dangerous cities in the country, especially for its fairly small size. There is a very high rate of homicides and other violent crimes, and the property crime rates are nothing to be proud of either. To make matters worse, public health is also a problem as the city has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the US.
  • Even before it went bankrupt, this was the general impression of the U.S. City of Detroit, Michigan, in which - as was done in Airplane! and RoboCop — if you referred to a place as "worse than Detroit," you were essentially referring to a place that was horrible, like war zones in Somalia, Afghanistan or Beirut. Not only are violence and poverty extremely prevalent (for example, a dead man was once found frozen in several feet of ice in an abandoned basement), the city has also been noted as being in a state of mass exodus, with its citizens fleeing to greener pastures. It doesn't help that, like many hives in Cyberpunk, Detroit is also dominated by a few of the biggest and most industrial corporations in America.
  • Following General Motors' infamous mass shutdowns of the town's factories in the 80's, Flint, Michigan has become one of the poorest towns in the US, and in 2012 was declared the most violent city with a population of over 100,000. And the tap-water is poisonous.
  • New York from the 1800's until about the 1940's is famously one, although in other countries it had the image of a land of milk and honey, even though most poor immigrants left slums in their home countries and went into slums in New York that weren't that much better.
    • New York City was essentially this from about the late 1960's to at least 1994. There were sky-high crime rates and police corruption until 1994, when the crime rates started going down and, as a general trend, have been going down ever since.
      • The South Bronx got the worst of it. After it really began to suffer the effects of urban decay in the late 1960's, it soon became practically a symbol for this plight until very recently. While things are not as bad as they used to be, it is still among the most dangerous part of the city.
      • Most of eastern Brooklyn, which is East New York and Brownsville, are fairly dangerous, too, due to high levels of crime and poverty.
      • While East Flatbush not as bad as East Brooklyn, it still has its dangerous days too. It's basically South Los Angeles, but without half as many things that would make it dangerous and deceptive.
      • The St. Albans part of Queens can also be dangerous, having amongst the worst crime rates in the borough.
      • There were a few areas of Manhattan that fell into this too;
      • Hell's Kitchen, for much of its history, was a violent Irish slum, plagued by poverty, hooliganism, and gang activity, the Westies being the prime example of it in the 20th Century. The area was really gritty until the late 1990's, when gentrification started. The process greatly improved the neighborhood and nowadays it is no longer considered dangerous.
      • Most of Upper Manhattan, which includes Harlem, East Harlem, and Washington Heights, had conditions comparable to the South Bronx during this time; high crime, low life expectancy, building that are comparable to Berlin after WWII, and overall unsafe and unsanitary conditions overall. Today, they're no longer this trope, but they still have problems with crime.
    • Outside New York City, many upstate cities like Rochester, Binghamton, Troy and Buffalo have high crime rates.
    • Even the relatively peaceful and safe Rockland County has its own Wretched Hive of Spring Valley with the highest violent crime rate in Rockland County.
  • Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It has very high crime rates for its population, mainly in the eastern portion of the city and especially in the Southeast Quadrant. Since the nineties, it has dropped in the rankings for both violent crime and property crime. However, crime in D.C. still receives more media attention than does crime in cities with higher rates, simply because D.C. is D.C. and those other cities are not.
    • It doesn't help that mayor Marion Barry was caught on tape in a hotel room smoking crack with a hooker.
      • It's unclear whether this says more about the people of Washington D.C. or about the other candidates for Mayor, but after Barry got out of prison for the above debacle, he ran for Mayor again and WON.
  • Baltimore (aka "Baltimorgue" or "Bodymore, Murdaland"): While it's not quite as bad as it was in the '90's and early 2000's, you still don't want to be caught out on the streets alone at night. Even in the nicer neighborhoods, you need to watch your back.
  • Chicago: The South Side is infamous for having a very high crime rate, partly due to the high levels of poverty in many of its neighborhoods.
    • During the days of Prohibition, the whole city was a hive of crime, especially organized crime. Al Capone had a strong grip on organized crime in the city as he was a very smart, ruthless, bloodthirsty gangster who made a living primarily on bootlegging and supplying liquor to speakeasies. He also murdered many enemies, including the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • People who visit Los Angeles often come back citing the city to be this. TV and movies only really portray the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, when in reality, most of it is decadent, scruffy, unkempt, and drowned in smog. The usually high-temperatures don't help this, either.
    • And even then, they're most likely visiting the western or southwestern parts of the city. Pretty hard not to notice the de facto racial segregation that's made the entire area surrounding Downtown (except for a few choice gentrified bits) famous for virtually unlivable crime levels (at least, until recently) and gang activity. There's a noticeable drop in road, air, and housing quality once you get into the industrial areas east of....well, everything anyone would bother seeing.
    • And it seems that the places the tourists do see are the most decadent ones, not the perfectly normal neighborhoods.
    • Much of Los Angeles is deceptive in that, with the mild weather, relatively recent architecture, and low-density development, it doesn't look much like a stereotypical urban Wretched Hive, and could just as easily be confused with an overgrown suburb. The infamous South-Central Los Angeles in particular has lots of charming post-WWII single-family housing, palm trees, park space, and even the housing projects were mostly designed by well-meaning and creative architects attempting to create decent places to live. It's only when you notice the gang graffiti, houses with burglar bars over all first-floor windows, a local economy dominated by mini-malls and liquor stores where business is done through bulletproof glass, the police helicopters hunting with searchlights in the night, and shots heard from down residential side streets, that you realize it's more of a sunlit Crapsaccharine World.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana is infamous, even within its own state, though local governments do their best to hide this fact from tourists. The police were notoriously corrupt (at one point, they even carried out contract killings, and a large number of extremely suspect confiscations and fatal shootings by NOPD officers at impromptu "checkpoints" in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were quickly and quietly swept under the rug), people were warned not to stop at red lights at night, the local population was poverty stricken with Projects the size of neighborhoods, it was once a center for the Mafia, and some neighborhoods were so bad that even the police dare not venture there, ever. Instead, the police just focus on keeping areas like the French Quarter hospitable to tourists. The murder rate was so high, that it was a strong contender for the title "murder capital of the United States". And all of this was before Katrina hit. It's started to get a bit better since then, but it's still ahead of anywhere else in the U.S.
    • Part of the reason for the high crime rate was the influx of illegal weapons. Also, the police did sometimes go into the bad areas; but always with a SWAT team.
  • Cleveland, Ohio: the Mistake by the Lake, a town where the river used to regularly catch fire due to industrial pollution. Here.
  • East St. Louis, Illinois, regularly appears on "worst city" lists for very good reasons. The crime rate is through the roof, the streets are lined with abandoned buildings, it has one of highest rates of pollution in the U.S., and trash is everywhere in the city as it doesn't have a service for garbage collecting. It looks so much like a dystopian wasteland that Escape from New York was filmed there without having to build much in the way of sets.
  • Gary, Indiana, quickly went this way once the steel industry it was founded upon collapsed in the '70s. The streets are lined with closed down retail businesses, the scent of industrial pollution fills the air, and the crime rate is even worse then that of Chicago's South Side. Admittedly, the city has improved in recent years, but it still has a long way to go.
    • Much the same happened to Pittsburgh too, but it has really improved since then.
  • The Tenderloin district of San Francisco has increasingly become a dumping ground for street drugs and prostitution, largely because the rest of the city has become increasingly gentrified. Tourists who make a wrong turn from nearby City Hall and Union Square have been known to run back screaming.
    • The Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood constitutes possibly the only actual ghetto neighborhood left in San Francisco. The steady grind of gentrification may eventually win out, but it used to be a neighborhood once even the SFPD wouldn't patrol except in force.
    • Across the bay, West Oakland is similarly a major hellhole full of gangs, well over 100 homicides every year, and an unusually aggressive branch of the Occupy movement. Many of the suburbs immediately north and south of Oakland (south as far as Hayward, and north to Richmond, excluding the peaceful land of Berkeley) are also labelled as "ghetto" places.
    • East Oakland likewise constitutes a huge empire of gang and drug activity, especially the "Deep East Side" past Seminary Avenue (aka, "Cemetery Avenue"). Actually essentially any of the Oakland flats excluding the heavily-gentrified and urban-renewed spots near Downtown, Lake Merritt, and Temescal can be a Wretched Hive (and even in those areas you have to watch your step). It just depends on the street and block. To top it all off, East Oakland also has probably the most notorious Hell's Angels clubhouse in the Western US located right at Foothill and 40th Avenue.
    • Also in the East San Francisco Bay Area, the town of Richmond, a depressed shipping and railroad hub, has long been one of the most dangerous in California and the United States, and the industrial wastelands of the "Iron Triangle" neighborhood (named for a notorious warzone during the Vietnam War) and unincorporated North Richmond are even worse.
  • Florida, as a whole, has a reputation of being a magnet for not only criminals, but the criminally insane. This is thanks to transparency laws that allow the press (including tabloids, all of which happen to be based out of the Sunshine State) to get information about arrests, including the identities of those arrested, very quickly and easily. There's a good reason "Florida Man" is such a prevalent meme, and why this very site has the trope Only in Florida.
    • West Palm Beach, Florida (seven miles away from that Palm Beach): 100,000 residents, 160 gangs. The gang members call it "West 'Nam".
    • Miami has a reputation for sleaze and danger to match its glitz, but a number of neighborhoods, in particular Hialeah, Liberty City, Miami Gardens, Opa-locka, and Overtown regularly live up to the first part of that reputation without any trouble, accounting for some of the most dangerous towns and neighborhoods in the country.
  • Stockton, California has been described as being the "most miserable" US city, largely as a result of the steep drop in home values, its low employment rates (20%), and the long commute. It also has huge amounts of often violent crime, exceptional numbers of illiterate or obese people, and has one of the lowest educational attainment rates in the country.
    • To give a better picture of the city's situation, like many other examples on this list, the high crime rate exists primarily in a few select areas, namely, downtown, the east, and the south; as there are a number of quite affluent neighbor in the city. What makes the city's crime rate so notorious is the high disparity between the neighbors. Stockton's rising crime rate can be attributed to the influx of people moving from the Bay Area to Stockton at the turn of the millennium, bringing along some of the crime with them. Unfortunately, the rush to Stockton created a large boom for building homes, which eventually added to the housing crisis. Stockton is considered to be one of the "ground zeroes" for the housing crisis in California, let alone the United States.
  • Kansas City, while usually in the shadow of its older brothers St. Louis and Chicago, has its own history of sleaze, including gangs, prostitution, bootlegging, gambling, and corrupt unions and political machines.
  • Like many other former steelmaking towns in the Pittsburgh area, Monessen is a Dying Town tainted by decades of industrial pollution, and if anything is more depressing if not necessarily unsafe. In its heyday, however, Monessen was one of the biggest bootlegging towns east of the Mississippi, and has a municipal government so outrageously corrupt it secretly sanctioned a brothel and a gambling den as late as the 1970s. The local steel mill also deliberately paid workers different wages for the same positions by ethnicity until the 1930s, creating class divides that would come to a boil in the 60s, only to see the mill shut down and most of the population leave.
  • When Milwaukee is portrayed in the media (fictional or otherwise), it’s usually as this. It’s also the way the rest of Wisconsin tends to view the city. The truth is a bit more complex; Milwaukee does have a few individual neighborhoods that could reasonably be described as this, most notoriously in the city's south side "hoods" where shootings and drug busts are everyday occurrences. However, it also has some very nice areas such as the Lakefront, the Third Ward, and Brady Street, which are rarely seen or referenced in the media. In fact, much of what is said in the media about Milwaukee in the local media (where many get their perception of the city) could easily be seen as evidence of outstate Wisconsin being a Type II Eagleland.
    • It's also worth noting that it's actually a real-life case of Never Live It Down. Milwaukee used to be MUCH worse during the 80s/90s as the rust belt set in, to the point of originally being ranked as the most crime-filled city in the entire United States (yes, more than New York or Los Angeles) and a mecca of the Midwest drug trade that easily rivaled Chicago. It's no surprise that serial killers — most notoriously Jeffrey Dahmer — flourished during that period. Heavy gentrification and a massively-expanded police force eventually improved things, but the city never really lost the bad rep.
  • St. Louis: the city has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. Murders, rape, and armed robbery are just some of the problems facing the city, especially on the north side of the city, the area north of Delmar Boulevard. The significantly high level of racial segregation doesn't help matters, with Delmar Boulevard acting as the dividing line between the largely poor and overwhelmingly Black neighborhoods to the north and predominantly White neighborhoods to the south. The crime rate is lower than it used to be, but not enough so that it is not still a very serious issue.
  • Seattle's White Center suburb, which was home to a large number of Samoan and later Southeast Asian ("boat people") immigrants, was notorious for its high level of gang activity and violent crime for a long time.
  • The Charlestown neighborhood of Boston was this up until the late 1980s. In addition to the garden-variety hooliganism associated with a working-class Irish community (as well as a strangely-disproportionate population of bank robbers), the local Irish Mob used the town as a base of operations during their feuds with other local gangs. Charlestown was infamous for its "Code of Silence" during this period, where many murders went unsolved due to a lack of witnesses. Conditions have improved significantly since gentrification took hold in the 1990s, but "the Town's" reputation still lingers.
    • The Irish Mob also operates in South Boston, an area that was especially gritty during the 1970's and '80's during the era of James "Whitey" Bulger.
  • As hard as it is to believe, most of Hawaii (or at least on Oahu) tends to be this, with widespread poverty and rundown neighborhoods, homelessness and welfare issues, drug problems, political corruption, and much more. Tourists never truly do get to see the bad areas since they spend their time in designated tourist spots like Waikiki and rarely venture elsewhere. It also doesn't help that most media and the tourism industry are the ones playing off on the "Hawaiian Illusion" while deliberately ignoring the majority of the residential and urban places. Unemployment is also a major issue due to lack of jobs (considered the worst business state in the nation), low wages, high cost of living and anything else in general, and the overall relaxing atmosphere. Again, tourists never know this.
    • In Honolulu in particular, Hotel Street was this to locals for many years. It was widely acknowledged as the Red Light District of the city, and was a long strip of dive bars, barely disguised brothels and strip clubs, as well as hosting a thriving drug scene. Triads and other gangs were rumored to use Hotel as a headquarters area. In fact, scenes showing the seediness of Hotel Street on shows like Magnum, P.I. (which had the added verisimilitude of having been actually filmed there) may have been played down. By the late '90s and into the 2000s, a wave of cleanups and gentrification of the same kind that Times Square in New York was going through made Hotel street a region you could go in daylight, though it's still sketchy at night.
  • The entire Central Valley of California can be seen like this, depending on how cynical you are. One of the most damning reasons why is as of 2012, four of the major Central Valley cities (Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, and Stockton) have the highest auto theft rates in the country. Drug use is also somewhat of a problem since Interstate 5 is a major route of drug trafficking.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada is basically America's version of an officially-tolerated Wretched Hive. On The Strip and Downtown, a heavy presence of police and casino security, as well as the money sluicing through the place, keeps the wretchedness somewhat under control (or at least out of plain sight; a significant amount of theft, fraud, and violence, especially fueled by either alcohol, sex, and/or tourists walking arounds with big wads of cash, still happens in these spots). Away from the hotels or the affluent suburbs of Summerlin and Henderson, much of Vegas is the unmitigated version: dilapidated, desert-blasted, dangerous, and gang-ridden, with North Las Vegas being particularly notorious. It wasn't an accident that the original CSI was set in Vegas: the year the show premiered, the LVMPD's forensics laboratory was the second-busiest in the country... after the FBI's.
  • Most of Alaska. (Or some cynics will tell you all of Alaska.) Sure, the state has some absolutely beautiful scenery, but during the winter, it's very depressing. You'll get months with no sunlight, and because a lot of the land isn't arable most of the export is oil. Outside of Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Badger, or College (Or even in those cities), almost Everyone Is Related to one another. The same families have run the town(s) for decades if not a couple centuries. There are so little job opportunities out there that most people turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Most of the food and supplies have to be boated there and as a result it's VERY expensive. (This also includes medicine. Over the counter medications can be up to twice the price they are in the continental US) The depression is cranked Up to Eleven in the reservations in Alaska. Most reservations in the US are the land nobody wanted... and in Alaska, that's a double whammy - The British and the Russians didn't even want it.
    • There's also the fact that the state has one of the highest violent crime rates in the US...and many frontier towns have no law enforcement.
  • Atlanta, the capital and economic center of Georgia, doesn't have it as bad as the other examples above, but there are still noticeable problems. Ethnic segregation is widespread, with the dividing line being the more affluent, whiter North and the poorer, blacker South. In addition, gang violence has thrived since the '70s, corruption has been a major issue (most notably with the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal) and the city's a major hub for human trafficking, generating $290 million in the city in 2007 alone. Southwest Atlanta is notorious for its astronomical poverty and crime, with the neighborhood of Mechanicsville having the lowest median income of the entire city. The Sweet Auburn district has frequently been listed as one of the most endangered historic places in America, in large part because of above problems. While revitalization efforts have helped significantly reduce crime, after having peaked in the late '80s and early '90s, it's still ranked as one of the deadliest major cities in America, having the tenth-highest murder rate among large cities in 2016 (24 per 100,000), comparable to South Africa. Which makes it all the more frustrating as it was the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. (the specific area he was born in? Sweet Auburn) and a central rallying point of the Civil Rights Movement.
    • Many of Atlanta's problems can be pointed to the "white flight" phenomenon that took place post-Civil Rights Movement, where many of the city's wealthy white population moved away from the urban environment in favor of the more racially homogeneous suburban areas, leaving many of the city's minorities, who were disproportionately poorer, with fewer job opportunities and disposable income to the point where some citizens resorted to crime just to get by. While most big cities in America went through this phenomenon one way or the other post-CRM, the effects of white flight were more pronounced in Atlanta, so much so that a book, aptly titled White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, was written about it.
    • The Atlanta suburb of College Park falls into this entirely. The city is plagued with problems, from a sky-high poverty rate that's higher than Atlanta's, multiple homicides and robberies, police and government corruption and multiple local news stories regarding its poor reputation among Atlanta residents. For many years, it has been listed by the FBI as one of the most dangerous cities in the country, and while improvements have been evident since the 2010s, bringing the city up to Atlanta residents will get you a look of disgust.
  • Even amongst the state's own citizens, Mississippi has become the butt of the joke of American popular culture, and for good reason. The state ranks below in almost every metric: poverty, literacy, education, median income, social equality, and quality of life.note  Mississippi's capital, Jackson, has a higher homicide rate than New Orleans, Baltimore, Atlanta, and even Detroit, all of which are mentioned in this folder. Their political leadership, which has remained stubbornly arch-conservative even by Southern standards, has also signed multiple laws that often get embarrassing national news coverage. When you consider all the issues plaguing the state, it's little wonder why memes almost always portray Mississippi in a negative light.


  • The phrase appears in a description of Port Royal, Jamaica during the colonial period. The port was widely seen as an open haven for pirates and smugglers, turning the economy into one based around boozing, whoring, stealing, and an assortment of activities centered around catering to men who could spend all of their pay in a few days. Recalling the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 that caused it to sink into the sea. There was another earthquake in 1907, which destroyed the rebuilt parts.
    • Back in the day — partly thanks to Port Royal and partly thanks to less-than-ideal weather conditions that made agriculture a struggle compared to neighboring Caribbean colonies — the whole of Jamaica had nicknames like the "Sodom of the Indies" and the "Dunghill of the Universe."
  • Tortuga Island in real life was, for some of its history, very much as depicted in fiction. At worst, every second building was a brothel, the rest being taverns. One attempt to create a more normal lifestyle for the inhabitants involved importing over a thousand prostitutes, so the sailors would stop raping everyone in sight and turn to consenting professionals. (Yes, it was so bad that filling it with whores was considered an improvement.)
  • Honduras. Yes, the whole country. It's known as the murder capital of the world, with murder rates so high that it's literally safer to live in Iraq or Syria, despite those countries being in the midst of brutal civil wars as of 2014. Neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala aren't that much better; their murder rates are just over half that of Honduras, but Honduras is so bad that this is still absurdly dangerous. As a result, the residents of those countries have been fleeing to go basically anywhere else. Even incredibly impoverished Nicaragua is considered preferable, because at least you probably won't be brutally raped and murdered there. It's also resulted in many parents sending their children alone to the United States, to exploit a law designed to protect victims of child sex slavery that says unaccompanied minors cannot be deported immediately and instead are to be kept in the US pending investigation of their status.

Nearly all of Mexico. Mexico is INFAMOUS for illegal drug trade, and especially the cartels used to snuggle them into the US border, as well as NUMEROUS other crimes. The US border in particular is a dangerous hotspot. One notable thing about this, is that you can have a very safe city in the US, right next to an absolute wretched hive. Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez are the two most infamous border towns, being next to big US cities (San Diego, and El Paso respectively), whilst also being really big themselves (and in the case of Juárez, much bigger than El Paso across the border). This is largely due to the US-Mexico border being a large drug barrier, and a major obstacle to overcome for Mexican drug cartels, however, those that do make it through tend to go past San Diego in favor of Los Angeles, where most Mexican drugs traded over the border end up. It doesn't help that both the cartels and governments treat drugs as SERIOUS BUSINESS, to the point where 56000-90000+ people have been killed during the Mexican Drug War. This isn't even getting to the extremely high murder and property crime rates. To put it simply, of the top 50 world cities with the highest murder rate, 12 are in Mexico, with the city of Los Cabos ranking at NUMBER ONE.
  • Just to show how dangerous Mexico is, in the year 2000, the crime rate was 1434 per 100,000 people. However,
    1. Crime has highly increased since then, especially with the rising tension resulting from the Mexican Drug War, to the point that the murder rate has increased from 15 of 100,000 in 2000, to 20 of 100,000, Mexico's highest reported murder rate.
    2. 1 out of 10 of these crimes is actually getting reported, meaning the ACTUAL crime rate is around 10 times higher.
    3. Only 1 out of 100 people actually get caught with their crimes, a factor largely attributed to high levels of police and government corruption, with the police often partaking in criminal activity themselves, and this is for reported crimes, which, as previously mentioned, is only 1/10 of all crimes.
  • In addition to Tijuana and Juárez, nearly every South Texas border town has a nearby Mexican city right next to it. Laredo has Nuevo Laredo, Mcallen has Reynosa, and Brownsville has Matamoros. All three of these cities are located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, which is one of the most dangerous Mexican states (if not potentially THE most dangerous Mexican state), especially regarding the Mexican drug war. Two of the most prominent and dangerous Mexican cartels, the Gulf Cartel, founded in Matamoros, and Los Zetas, founded in Nuevo Laredo. It's gotten to the point where some consider Tamaulipas a failed state. note 
    • Matamoros, for all intents and purposes, is pretty much controlled by the Gulf Cartel.
    • One reason why Tamaulipas is so dangerous, is because of rampant government and police corruption. Three former governors of the state were associated with the Gulf Cartel, two of whom were governors before the Drug War even started (!). In addition, the police are the most underpaid of any Mexican state, resulting in them being easily bribed. Despite government efforts to try to fix police corruption, some of the police forces ended up becoming friends with the Gulf Cartel members.
  • Ciudad Juárez, a Mexican City on the border next to El Paso, used to be this until a couple of decades ago (and is starting to fall back into this category, not so much now as a town of lowly pleasures but as a murder metropolis). How bad is it in Juárez you ask? Local business owners are requesting UN intervention!
    • This is actually bad enough that one police chief fled to the US out of fear for her life and another town's entire police force resigned for the same reasons. One regional governor was also murdered by cartel gunmen, who apparently were able to waltz into his office and shoot him dead without anyone trying to stop them.
  • Also from Mexico: Culiacán (and while we're at it, most of the state of Sinaloa) is equally violent due to the drug cartel's violence. Because the city is a main hub of the drug cartels (and Sinaloa being the birthplace of most of Mexico's own drug cartels with a few exceptions), a day where there is not a shootout on the streets for really pointless reasons - such as someone honking at the person in front of him, or just looking funny at a cartel gunman - is practically unheard of. Made worse with the Red Cross scared to death about attending shootout victims, the Human Rights Watch Commission acting like a "Get out of Jail Free" Card due to blatant Loophole Abuse by the cartels, the people in general being defenseless against the drug cartels because the federal gun laws forbid civilians to bear most firearms (and those allowed by the law are so hard to obtain that you're better off throwing rocks), and the rampant police corruption.
  • Tijuana has been infamous for being this long before the 2006-ongoing "Drug War". Mostly because of the drug cartel activity, but also because just like Ciudad Juárez, it serves as the perfect destination for US teenagers to get booze and "entertainment." Also: during a nation-wide area code renumbering, Tijuana had been given the area code 666. The Mexican Comms and Transportation Secretariat had to change it after lots of complaints from Tijuanans.
    • Within Tijuana, there is the Lomas Taurinas neighbourhood, the place where Luis Donaldo Colosionote  was murdered, which is adviced by the locals to avoid going there at all costs. And after that, Downtown Tijuana used to be infamous due to the large amount of brothels and seedy bars, until the early 2010's, where the city government began to get rid of those infamous establishments or forced them to go underground; nowadays it is safe to walk around the area at night.
  • From Mexico City, we have Tepito. The biggest flea market in the world is also the best place to find drugs and weapons (and graffiti). It even got to the point that they even manufactured their own blank CDs to make their own pirated software and bootlegged products.
    • Ecatepec, Estado de México, is a city just outside of Mexico City, that has a reputation of being an outright horrible place to live. Living conditions there are so terrible that the city looks worse than the Brazilian favelas, extreme poverty, low academic and job opportunities, banditry, endemic corruption within the government, theft and assault are considered rites of passage among the children and teenagers involved in gangs, drugs, Police Brutality and corruption in which the forces of the law are in cahoots with the gangs and at times engage in doing their dirty work, and horrible and contemptuous people. It tells you enough that in r/Mexico they outright state that the place is as livable as Mordor and advise travelers to avoid this place at all costs.
    • The rest of the towns around Mexico City (and the areas farther away from the center in the Distrito Federal) are as bad as Ecatepec, for the very same reasons. It's worth mentioning that the slums in Elysium were filmed in Iztapalapanote  as is.

  • Western Sydney is notorious among Sydneysiders as wild ganglands:
    • Cabramatta during the '80s and '90s, back when it was the stomping ground for Vietnamese gang 5T, was a major example of this trope. Drugs were sold openly on the streets and in railway stations (the Cabramatta Railway Station was nicknamed "Smack Express"), people overdosed and died in public toilets and even politicians were murdered.. Ever since the 2000s, however, the situation has since improved, and the suburb has become much more livable.
    • Nowadays, the worst suburbs of the west are Guildford and the neighboring Villawood. Most gang violence is situated around here, and gunmen have been known to walk into shops and shoot business owners dead. Fairfield and Liverpool both come as a close second, though the situation is improving with new urban development projects and crackdowns on crime.
    • Some eastern suburbs of Sydney also have this reputation, though they usually escape the negative stereotypes Western Sydney gets saddled with. King's Cross, Australia's red-light district, is synonymous with drunken violence and drugs. Recently, there's been an increase in deaths, whether they be stabbings, shootings or king hits. The situation was actually even worse roughly 20 years ago.
  • Roebourne, a collapsed mining town in the North-West of Western Australia, is gaining such a reputation. The population is mostly Indigenous, having been originally settled into the area as cheap labor and remaining after the rest of the town left due to the end of the gold rushes. Roebourne struggles with serious social issues. There is an epidemic of alcoholism; the amount of alcohol drunk a year per person is three times the national average, and over 600 alcohol-related hospital incidents between 2006-2008 (in a town of 857 people). The town is a hotbed of crime, to the point where committing a burglary is considered a Coming of Age. There is usually about 15-20 people living in each house, and the rate of school attendance and education is among the worst in Australia.
  • Melbourne had this reputation throughout the Turn of the Millennium during the Gangland War. Constant potshots were made by comedians and Sydneysiders, while the police force trying to keep the gangs under control suffered scandal after scandal. Jason Moran's death (drug kingpin shot in his van, in front of his kids) is pretty much burned into the Melburnian subconsciousness.
  • Even now, several Melbourne suburbs contain some bad reputations amongst its citizens.
    • Frankston, an outer suburb located 40 kilometres south of the CBD on the Mornington Peninsula, might be the ultimate Stepford Suburbia in Melbourne. From a distance, it resembles generic seaside towns: picturesque and peaceful, and is located quite close to far better suburbs. Behind the seeming tranquillity of the little settlement is somewhere that is notorious for its sky-high crime rate and a high population of bogans. Drug dealing, violence, and robberies are rampant. In 2006, there was news of an elderly woman being abducted and literally burned alive, and there have been numerous incidents where people got stabbed and shot while going on and off trains.
      • On the flipside, however, the typical stereotype of Frankston mostly applies for the northern section, near other similarly crappy suburbs such as The Pines. South Frankston, however, is a relatively well-off area and is where most of the serenity of a beach suburb comes from.
    • Although not as bad as Sydney's, the western suburbs of Melbourne, such as Broadmeadows, Sunshine and St. Albans are still seen as the less pleasant areas due their high crime rates, especially that of aggravated burglary and drug usage. Fortunately, due to gentrification efforts, some of these suburbs have become far more liveable and are even considered trendy.
    • A common joke amongst Melburnians is to portray the entire transport system like this, due to the high amount of graffiti, overcrowdedness, putrid smells (usually of body odour and beer), the slow speed as well as the shadiness of several train stations.
  • Adelaide has this issue as well
    • The northern suburbs of Salisbury and Elizabeth have notoriously high crime rates. Drug gangs are one issue, but there have also been cases of men asking random women for sex in public, and strong fare evasions that lead to Salisbury railway station installing ticket gates in 2017. Several murders, most infamously most of the Snowtown victims, took place here.
    • Port Adelaide has been badly neglected by the South Australian government since the closure of the Port Dock railway station in the 1980s, and many requests for it to be rebuilt being ignored or quickly scrapped if approved. Away from the tourist attractions, the town and its nearby suburbs, especially along the Outer Harbor railway line and 150 bus route, are inhabited mainly by lawless aboriginals who love drugs and coarse language, and are known to attack other passengers unprovoked; one nasty case in May 2020 saw a sociopathic aboriginal woman chase another woman back onto a train she just left and attempted to stab her and the driver. Another had a whole group try to hijack a bus because they were kick off for smoking meth. Attempts to combat the lawlessness of the town have failed so far, leaving it a haven for criminals because of the government's apathy.
  • The CNMI, specifically Saipan and Rota. Yes, they are US territories ... and a testing lab for corporate corruption and political corruption. As well as having limited health services, no potable tap water, police brutality out the wazoo...
  • The southern suburbs of Auckland are often considered to be this. The most infamous of these is Otara, located 18 kilometres from downtown and a well-known hotspot for violence. It has a long history of having some of the highest crime rates in the country, being dominated by gangs such as the Killer Beez and the Tribesmen. Fortunately, the conditions in the suburb are improving due to the increase of community policing.
  • The (now quiet holiday destination town) of Russell in New Zealand was known as "The Hell Hole of the Pacific" in the days following British colonization for being lawless and full of prostitution.

    South America 
  • The Favelas of Brazil: they house some of the worst poverty in the world and the drug gangs are so heavily armed and violent that they killed almost 600 cops in 2007 alone.
    • On the flipside, the favelas also contain some of the nicest illegal housing in the world. Most of the housing has electricity, running water, and TV connections. There is even an internet cafe, restaurants, shops, and a bank in Rio de Janeiro's Rocinha. But a lot of it tend to be rigged via rogue electrical engineering, and every now and then you can read news of fires destroying lots of houses there because of this.
  • Just read the entry for Culiacán in the Mexico folder and swap Culiacán for Rio de Janeiro. Anyone living there wouldn't know the difference, especially on the "Human Rights Watch Commission acting like a "Get out of Jail Free" Card due to blatant Loophole Abuse" bit (sadly this is true for the entire country).
  • The country capital Brasilia is often described as one by the Brazilian general populace: the Congress is source of a neverending string of corruption scandals, and both the Presidency and the Ministries often don't help. The city is accused of being an Outlaw Town where the politicians disregard the rules they were supposed to be making\enforcing.
  • North Eastern Brazil isn't much better: population in deep poverty, corrupt politicians who couldn't care less and the harsh, dry, weather makes the life for anyone who isn't filthy rich a living hell there almost literally.
  • Still in Brazil there is Maranhão. It's an entire state neck deep in shit all thanks to, you guessed, the corrupt politicians who run there (a particular politician's family all but owns the state, practically inheriting it with every generation as if it were a monarchy). Just to tip how bad things are there: crime rates are alarmingly high and basic sanitation for the population is disgustingly low.


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