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United States Warns Travelers to the Bahamas as Crime Increases

by Aoife O’Riordan

Jan 31, 2024

© Alexander Shalamov
|
Dreamstime.com

eFlyer Lead

Travelers to the Bahamas should stay up to date on the latest news prompting the U.S. Department of State to issue a travel warning for the popular Caribbean destination.

On Jan. 26, the U.S. Department of State issued a level 2 travel warning, urging travelers to exercise increased caution. The warning comes in the midst of increasing crime incidents across the Bahamas. According to a released statement by the U.S. embassy in the Bahamas on Jan. 24, 18 murders have happened in Nassau since the start of 2024.

The main culprit for such crimes is retaliatory gang violence, but the sudden increase has caused travelers to be wary, especially in certain parts of Nassau. The U.S. State Department specifically notes the Over the Hill area south of Shirley Street as a focal point of gang violence, encouraging travelers in this region to be extra vigilant.

According to the advisory, “Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”

Travelers are also warned against taking part in activities involving commercial and recreational watercraft, including water tours. Because these activities are not that regulated, it’s possible some operators may not have safety certifications. Additionally, some watercraft might not be properly maintained, posing a safety risk for travelers.

On top of the violence in Nassau, the U.S. State Department also reminded travelers to be aware of sharks when swimming, with a few recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks.

For travelers planning to visit the Bahamas, there is no need to cancel plans. Increased caution is strongly recommended, with tips including not answering your door at your hotel or residence unless you know who it is, not physically resisting any robbery attempt, and enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts and to make it easier to locate you in an emergency

Other recent travel advisories released by the U.S. State Department include:

  • Burma (Myanmar): Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution due to armed conflict, civil unrest and arbitrary enforcement of local laws
  • Jamaica: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel due to crime and medical services
  • Lebanon: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel due to potential for armed conflict, terrorism and armed conflict on the border of Syria, and potential for armed clashes
  • Nicaragua: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel due to risk of wrongful detention, limited healthcare availability and arbitrary enforcement of laws
  • Colombia: Level 3 – Reconsider Travel due to crime, civil unrest, terrorism and kidnapping
  • Cuba: Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution due to crime

To learn about all travel advisories over the last year, visit here.

Do you have an upcoming trip planned to the Bahamas, more specifically, Nassau? Do you have an upcoming trip planned to another country with an increased level of caution? Do you have any hesitations? What precautions will you take? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.

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