Exercise ‘increased caution’ when visiting The Bahamas, U.S. advises

Image courtesy of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The United States Department of State yesterday reissued a travel advisory, cautioning American citizens visiting The Bahamas to exercise “increased caution” when visiting the country due to crime.

The level two advisory said violent crimes, including armed robberies, sexual assault and burglaries remain common “even during the day and in tourist areas”.

“Although the Family Islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands,” the advisory notes.

“U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.

“Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated.

“Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas.

“Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists.

“As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.”

Consistent with past advisories, the U.S. Department of State encouraged visitors to exercise caution in the “area known as Over-the-Hill, south of Shirley Street, and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, especially at night”.

Additionally, the advisory urged visitors against opening their hotel/residence without knowing who it is; and in the event of robbery attempts, not to physically resist.

Crime statistics released in January showed that attempted robberies decrease 19 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Armed robbery also dropped by 18 percent year-over-year.

Robbery also fell six percent.

Unlawful sexual intercourse dropped 23 percent nationwide.

Rape, however, increased six percent.

According to the advisory system, which ranges from one to four for each country, level two advises U.S. citizens to exercise increase caution, while level one advises citizens to exercise normal precautions when travelling.

Meanwhile, level three advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel.

Level four warns U.S. citizens not to travel to that particular country.

Other countries with a level two advisory, include Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Belize, United Kingdom, Spain, Netherlands, and China, among others.