Just as crime varies across all countries in the Caribbean, it differs from island to island within the Bahamas. Crime in the Bahamas is more prominent on larger islands and in rural areas, while virtually nonexistent on many of the smaller cays.
While most crimes take place in a part of Nassau not usually frequented by tourists, crime and violence have started to encroach on more upscale tourist and residential areas. In the last few years, the American Embassy has received reports of sexual assaults against women, including teenage girls. Most have taken place against intoxicated young women, some of whom were reportedly drugged. Other problems that seem to be spreading are armed robberies and property theft.
In 2012, the U.S. State Department made note that crimes against tourists in the Bahamas had begun to get out of control, and some areas like New Providence and Grand Bahama were given "critical" and "high" threat levels. In response, the Minister of Tourism declared that he would work closely with police to ensure that tourists are protected by taking such measures as increasing police patrol in areas where tourist frequent. In the middle of 2013, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement warning tourists of the risk of armed robbery on the islands after a United States sailor was shot and killed in a hold up. At the time of the release, 40 locals had been murdered in similar circumstances since the beginning of the year, and tourists are warned to be on heightened alert when the visit the Caribbean nation.
All that said, it is important to note that most of the Caribbean is still much safer than many other places in the world. The same precautions that you'd take in any city in the U.S. or Europe will help to keep you safe from crime in the Bahamas.
...stay in groups...
The U.S. State Department recommends that young women stay in groups, consume alcohol in moderation, and not accept drinks or rides from strangers. Travelers should avoid walking alone after dark or in isolated areas, and refrain from placing themselves in situations where they are alone with strangers. Be cautious on deserted stretches of beach at all hours. Lock doors and do not leave valuables unattended. Criminals have targeted people wearing expensive jewelry, specifically Rolex watches. Use clearly marked taxis and make note of the license plate number.
United States citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" for ways to ensure a safe journey. This publication and others, such as "Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean," are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents at the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 20402 and online at the Bureau of Consular Affairs at www.travel.state.gov.
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