Bahamas Crime Sparks Travel Advisories From Canada and U.S.

A woman walks the beach at Unique Village, a fun, casual resort on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas.
A woman walks the beach at Unique Village, a fun, casual resort on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas. Photo courtesy of Jim Byers

Canadian and U.S. authorities are warning residents about crime in The Bahamas.

News reports say there have been 18 murders so far this year on the island of New Providence, where Nassau is located.

The U.S. recently updated its travel website with strong language on the matter.

“The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the “Over the Hill” area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population,” the U.S. State Department said.

“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.”

“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets," the embassy said in its alert, NBC News reports. "Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders."

The Canadian government travel advisory says visitors should “exercise a high degree of caution in the Bahamas due to high rates of crime, especially in Freeport and Nassau.”

“There has been a decrease in violent crime since the beginning of 2018,” the Canadian advisory states. “Crime, however, including violent crime, still occurs, mainly on the islands of Grand Bahama and New Providence.

“Armed robberies, burglaries, purse snatchings, theft, fraud and sexual assaults are the most common crimes committed against travellers in Freeport and Nassau. Incidents of robbery also take place in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours. Crime increases during the holidays.

  • Avoid Nassau’s “over the hill” (south of Shirley Street) and Fish Fry (Arawak Cay) areas, especially at night
  • Stay alert to your surroundings at all times
  • Don’t walk alone, particularly after dark
  • Don’t carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewellery
  • Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid deserted beaches
  • If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist"

The Canadian government site also advises women to be cautious in The Bahamas.

”Sexual assault occurs frequently in The Bahamas, particularly near hotels, in hotel rooms, in casinos, on cruise ships and on the beach”, the advisory states. “Reported incidents are on the rise in Nassau, including on Paradise Island. In some cases, the victim was drugged.”

Both the Canadian and U.S. governments also have warnings about watercraft in The Bahamas. The Canadian government site says women should be wary when embarking on jet-ski rides with licensed or unlicensed operators, as several incidents of sexual assault have been reported.

The U.S. site says watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications.

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