US Raises Caution Level for Travelers Heading to the Bahamas Due to Crime Surge

US Raises Caution Level for Travelers Heading to the Bahamas Due to Crime Surge

Latest U.S. travel advisory for the Bahamas: Increased caution due to rising crime in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Essential safety tips for travelers.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a cautionary update for Americans visiting the Bahamas. 

In a Level 2 travel alert released on January 26, the Department advises visitors to exercise increased caution. 

This warning comes in the wake of a rise in violent crimes affecting both locals and tourists in the Caribbean country.

Focal Points of Concern

The advisory points out that the majority of criminal activities, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, are predominantly occurring on New Providence Island, which houses Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, and on Grand Bahama Island. 

The State Department specifically calls attention to the ‘Over the Hill’ area in Nassau, south of Shirley Street, where gang violence has led to a high rate of homicides. 

The advisory highlights that these violent crimes are taking place in areas frequented by tourists as well as those that are not, stressing the need for travelers to stay alert, particularly in areas without private security.

Boating and Watercraft Safety

In addition to the heightened risk of violent crime, the State Department also warns against participating in activities involving commercial recreational watercraft. 

The advisory notes that these boats may need to be well-maintained, and their operators might need more safety certifications. 

It recommends that travelers closely follow local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities. 

The alert also mentions that due to safety concerns, U.S. government personnel are forbidden from using jet-ski rentals independently operated on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

U.S. Embassy’s Security Alert

Adding to the gravity of the situation, the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas has released a security alert, informing citizens that there have been 18 murders in Nassau since early 2024, many occurring in broad daylight. The Embassy attributes most of these murders to retaliatory gang violence.

Tips for Safe Travel

For Americans who still plan to visit the Bahamas, the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Nassau have compiled a list of safety recommendations:

  • Only open your hotel or residence door if you know who is there.
  • Do not resist any robbery attempts.
  • Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive emergency updates and assistance.
  • Keep up with the Department of State’s updates via social media.
  • Review the Bahamas’ Country Security Report.
  • Have a backup plan for emergencies, including medical issues.
  • Consult the CDC’s travel health page for current information.
  • Be particularly cautious in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau).
  • Be careful when out at night and keep a low profile.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and have a personal security plan.

Staying Informed

As this is an evolving situation, travelers are encouraged to keep updated with the latest information. 

The U.S. Department of State remains committed to ensuring the safety of American citizens abroad and urges those traveling to the Bahamas to heed these warnings and stay vigilant.

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