US officials issue travel advisory for Bahamas due to violent crime

Sexual assault, armed robberies among common crimes in tourist areas

File photo.
File photo.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory in the Bahamas due to various types of violent crimes.

The Level 2 advisory was issued Monday and urges travelers to exercise increased caution.

Officials said violent criminal activity, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault, is taking place in tourist areas, even during the day.

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According to the advisory, the majority of the crime takes place on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands, but officials warn that the family islands are not free of crime, either.

U.S. government officials are not even being permitted to visit the Sand Trap area as a result of the crime, the advisory said. They're also not allowed to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands, as activities involving commercial recreational watercraft are not consistently regulated and jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists, officials said.

Department of State officials encouraged anyone traveling to the Bahamas to remember the following safety tips:

  • Exercise caution in the area known as "Over the Hill" (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.
  • 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) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for the Bahamas.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

 More information can be found under the Safety and Security section on the country's information page.

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