‘Exercise increased caution:’ State Department issues travel advisory for Bahamas

Aerial view of the Islands of the Bahamas taken on February 7, 2019 (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP/Getty Images)

BAHAMAS — The United States Department of State on Feb. 25 issued a travel advisory impacting the Bahamas due to crime in the area.

According to a notice on the State Department’s website, violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault is common — even during the day and in tourist areas.

Officials said although the family islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands.

U.S. government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime, the notice said.

State Department officials said activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate. State Department official said jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists.

As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.

Officials offered this advice for those with travel plans:

  • Exercise caution in the area known as “Over the Hill” (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.
  • Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
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