Five of the world's 10 deadliest cities in 2011 are in Mexico, though a Honduran metropolis leads the list, the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice said.

The council, an NGO founded in 2002, compiled its list of the globe's 50 most violent cities by comparing every city with more than 300,000 residents for which homicide statistics are available on the Internet.

Topping the 2011 rankings is San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with 159 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

Mexico's Ciudad Juarez, which led the list for three consecutive years, dropped to second last year with a tally of 148 homicides for every 100,000 residents.

The other Mexican cities finishing in the top 10 for 2011 are: Acapulco, 128 murders per 100,000 people; Torreon, 88; Chihuahua, 83; and Durango, with 80 homicides per 100,000 residents.

Forty of the 50 most dangerous cities are in Latin America, including 14 in Brazil and a dozen in Mexico.

Two Mexican cities - Monterrey and Veracruz - made the list for the first time in 2011, while Tijuana, Reynosa and Matamoros dropped out of the top 50.

The Citizens Council suggested the actual murder figures for some Mexican cities may be higher than the official statistics used in the analysis.

The behavior of Mexican authorities "does not inspire confidence in the official numbers, as there is evidence of falsification or 'shaving' to make it look as if the magnitude of the violence is less than it really is," the council said.

Mexico's government said Thursday that 12,903 people were killed in drug-related violence between January and September 2011 in Mexico, increasing 11 percent from the same period of 2010 and bringing the drug war death toll since December 2006 to 47,515.

The country's murder total has grown every year of President Felipe Calderon's military offensive against the well-funded, heavily armed drug gangs.

Unofficial tallies published last month by independent daily La Jornada put the drug-war death toll at more than 50,000.

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