Bahamas Travel Warning: US Issues Alert as Crime Rates Climb
The US Department of State has recently issued a travel advisory for American visitors heading to the Bahamas, cautioning them to “exercise increased caution” due to a surge in violent crime affecting the local population.
The advisory, issued on January 26, highlights concerns about burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, with a focus on the islands of New Providence, home to the Bahamian capital Nassau, and Grand Bahama.
Citing Crime Concerns and Safety Risks
According to the State Department, the majority of the reported crime has occurred in New Providence, particularly in the ‘Over the Hill’ area, south of Shirley Street, where gang-related violence has led to a high homicide rate affecting the local population.
The advisory emphasizes that violent incidents have taken place in both tourist and non-tourist areas, urging travelers to exercise vigilance, especially when staying at short-term vacation rental properties without private security.
Additionally, the State Department recommends avoiding activities like boat tours with commercial recreational watercraft, citing inconsistent regulation and potential safety hazards. Concerns include poorly maintained watercraft and operators lacking safety certifications.
The advisory also notes that commercial watercraft operators have discretion to operate in unfavorable weather conditions, leading to injuries and fatalities.
Travel Advisory for The Bahamas
The US Embassy in the Bahamas echoed these concerns in a security alert, revealing that 18 murders had occurred in Nassau since the beginning of 2024, primarily linked to retaliatory gang violence.
The embassy urged US citizens to exercise extreme caution, especially in the eastern part of New Providence Island, and provided safety precautions for travelers.
For those choosing to travel to the Bahamas, the State Department offers safety tips, including not answering doors unless certain of the visitor’s identity, not resisting robbery attempts physically, enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and staying informed through social media channels.
The embassy in Nassau encourages a low profile, awareness of surroundings, and adherence to personal security plans.
As the situation unfolds, US travelers are advised to remain vigilant, stay informed about local conditions, and follow recommended safety guidelines to ensure a secure travel experience in the Bahamas.