Most Bahamas crime occurs in the major cities of Nassau and Freeport. And while most visitors to this island nation won’t experience any problems, there have been several reports of robberies and sexual assaults against tourists in recent years. Here is what you need to know about Bahamas crime and safety in 2017:
Is it safe to travel to Bahamas?
There have been reports of crimes against tourists, even during daylight hours and reports of sexual assaults on are on the rise, particularly in Nassau. If you are visiting the Bahamas don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive jewelry. Your possessions, including passports and travel documents, should be secured at all times.
Visitors are most likely to be victims of armed robbery, theft, purse snatching, pick pocketing and sexual assault. In 2016 there were a number of reports of crimes against tourists in popular tourist locations, including the downtown Nassau area and at Cable Beach. Some criminals have used roadblocks to stop and rob motorists. Most crimes occur at night, so it is best to travel during daylight hours.
It is safest to travel in pairs or groups. If confronted in a robbery, you should comply with demands. Many criminals will be carrying weapons, including firearms, machetes or knives. Try to keep the encounters are brief as possible.
Bahamas crime rate in 2017
The Bahamas crime rate is trending down heading into 2017. In 2016 there was a 26% drop in serious crime and a 24% drop in murders, according to the Bahamas Commissioner of Police. Most crime in most of the Bahamas occurs between Bahamian nationals and does not involve visitors. But on the island of New Providence, which includes the city of Nassau, there have been a number of reported crimes in areas frequented by visitors.
The outlying islands of the Bahamas have lower crime rates.
Is Nassau safe in 2017?
Visitors to Nassau should be especially vigilant. Crimes have occurred in popular tourist areas of Nassau, even during daylight hours. Travel in pairs or with groups of people you know and avoid deserted beaches, especially at night.
There have been several reports of visitors being sexually assaulted by water sports rental operators on what would normally be considered safe beaches on Paradise Island. The water sports rental industry is not well regulated and it is best to avoid the rental of Jet Ski-type watercraft while in Nassau.
Is Freeport safe in 2017?
Like Nassau, visitors to Freeport should be vigilant and travel in pairs or groups. Most Bahamas crime occurs in Freeport and Nassau. Stay alert at all times, even in areas considered safe. Avoid deserted beaches and do not visit beaches at night.
Bahamas health issues
Tourists have been seriously hurt using poorly maintained Jet Ski-type watercraft in the Bahamas. It is best to avoid renting these watercraft during your visit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Zika is a risk and women who are pregnant should not travel to Jamaica. All travelers should take steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after their trip.
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Centers for Disease Control, Government of Canada, Government of the United Kingdom, United Nations.