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Travel Advisory Issued for the Bahamas Amidst Rising Violent Crime, Safety Tips for American Travelers

Travel Advisory Issued for the Bahamas Amidst Rising Violent Crime, Safety Tips for American Travelers
Source: ABC News

The U.S. Department of State has recently issued a new warning for American travelers planning to visit the Bahamas, citing a surge in violent crime that has impacted the local population. The advisory, issued on January 26, urges travelers to “exercise increased caution” when considering a trip to the Caribbean country.

Crime Hotspots and Specific Cautionary Areas

According to the State Department, the majority of reported crimes, including burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, have concentrated on the island of New Providence, which houses the Bahamian capital of Nassau, and on the island of Grand Bahama. Specifically, travelers are cautioned to exercise increased vigilance in the ‘Over the Hill’ area (south of Shirley Street) in Nassau, where gang-related violence has resulted in a high homicide rate, primarily affecting the local population. The advisory notes that violent crime has occurred in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

Travel Advisory Issued for the Bahamas Amidst Rising Violent Crime, Safety Tips for American Travelers

Source: 6ABC

Specific Risks and Cautionary Measures

The State Department underscores the need for heightened awareness when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security may be lacking. Travelers are also discouraged from engaging in activities like boat tours with commercial recreational watercraft due to inconsistent regulations. The advisory warns that watercraft may be poorly maintained, and operators might lack safety certifications. The U.S. government personnel are prohibited from using independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands due to safety concerns.

Embassy Alerts and Security Measures

In addition to the State Department advisory, the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas issued a security alert, reporting 18 murders in Nassau since the beginning of 2024. Retaliatory gang violence is highlighted as the primary motive for these incidents. The embassy advises U.S. citizens to exercise extreme caution in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau), particularly when walking or driving at night. Travelers are encouraged to maintain a low profile, be aware of their surroundings, and avoid physical resistance in the event of a robbery attempt.

Safety Tips for American Travelers

For those still choosing to travel to the Bahamas, the State Department offers a checklist of dos and don’ts to enhance safety:

  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for emergency alerts.
  • Stay informed through the Department of State’s social media channels.
  • Review the Country Security Report for the Bahamas.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergencies and medical situations.
  • Refer to the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
Travel Advisory Issued for the Bahamas Amidst Rising Violent Crime, Safety Tips for American Travelers

Source: ABC News

With the situation evolving, American travelers are urged to stay informed, exercise caution, and follow the provided safety guidelines to ensure their well-being while in the Bahamas.

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