U.S. State Department Publishes 2017 Bahamas Crime & Safety Report

BahamasThe U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) recently published its 2017 Crime & Safety Report regarding the Bahamas.

The council, which was established under authority of the U.S. Secretary of State, reached the following findings and conclusions:

Findings:

  • The Bahamas is a major Caribbean tourist destination with major cruise ship ports of calls in Nassau and Freeport. 
  • Over six million U.S. citizens visit the Bahamas each year.
  • Approximately 80% of tourists to the Bahamas are U.S. citizens.
  • The Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands and cays.
  • The Bahamas has a population of approximately 370,000.
  • 70% of Bahamians (around 260,000) reside on the island of New Providence, where Nassau is situated.
  • Another 15% (around 60,000) live on Grand Bahama, where Freeport is located.
  • The rest of the population is dispersed over several dozen outer islands (commonly referred to as the “Family Islands”).

Conclusions - Crime Threats:

  • Crime in Nassau is critical.
  • Violent crime reportedly dropped from 2015 to 2016 by double digit percentages in every category, although some observers have questioned the legitimacy of this claim.
  • Murders were down 24% from a record high in 2015 (111 in 2016 vs. 146 in 2015).
  • Despite the publicized numbers, crime continues to represent the primary security threat in the Bahamas.
  • The preponderance of reported violent crimes were perpetrated against local Bahamians and mostly occurred in areas of saturated criminality not typically visited by tourists.
  • However, New Providence has witnessed violent crimes in locations more commonly frequented by U.S. citizen tourists. In some instances, these incidents resulted in fatalities.
  • Criminality and violent crime has increased on Grand Bahama island, notably crimes involving the use of machetes.
  • Many criminals carry firearms, machetes, or knives, and these weapons are commonly brandished.
  • There were reports of firearms used in the commission of armed robberies, where the assailant assaulted the victim after the victim resisted.
  • Many armed robberies involved snatch-and-grabs involving purses, jewelry, cell phones, and cash.
  • Armed robberies, property crimes, purse snatchings, theft, fraud, and sexual assaults remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists.
  • In 2016, numerous incidents were reported that either involved tourists or occurred in well-known tourist locations.
  • Crimes occurred near popular tourist areas adjacent to the cruise ship port (Prince George Wharf) and the Cable Beach resort areas as well as the popular downtown area.
  • Several armed robberies of U.S. citizens have occurred in daylight hours in heavily frequented tourist areas.
  • The water sports rental industry is only loosely regulated, and in 2015, there were reported sexual assaults of U.S. citizens, including minors, by jet-ski operators.
  • The majority of these sexual assaults were reported to have occurred on relatively “safe” beaches within the confines of Paradise Island, which is heavily frequented by tourists . . .

We recommend to anyone traveling to the Bahamas (particularly Nassau) to also read the news accounts and editorials in the local newspapers in the Bahamas, the Tribune and the Nassau Guardian

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Photo credit: Bahamas government - Public Domain, commons / wikimedia.

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Comments (13) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
David Gross - March 23, 2017 8:41 PM

I am one of more than 200 former staff still waiting on payment of salary and severance from the Baha Mar bankruptcy, owed since October 2015. Bahamians have been paid, but not foreign workers. This illegal discrimination is Government of Bahamas sanctioned. Contracts apparently have no value in the Bahamas.

charles beauchamp - March 23, 2017 9:40 PM

I own a lot in Freeport Ridge Estates which I bought years ago. I visited the site a number of years ago and there was no development occuring. Has there been any further developed in that area?
Has there been any property development, building, or value appreciation there in the recent past? I would plan a visit if there is progress in the area. Your response will be appreciated.
Charles Beauchamp
ckbeau@gmail.com
2916 NW Bucklin Hill Road #177, Silverdale, WA 98383
2/23/17

also, if there is a good and reputable real estate agency dealing with properties in this area please put me in contact.

Bahamian - March 24, 2017 8:06 AM

Show me on country in the world without crime!!! Lol u can't because the leaders of the world set it up like this. They push and promotes poverty especially on the black race knowing that blacks reproduce real fast.. and common sense will tell u a man would do anything to feed his family!! Simple as the Europeans.. when things got difficult in Europe they went and ROB, MURDER, AND CONQUERED the native Indians of America and litterLly took their land.. at least bahamiansdont do that shit lol

Paul56 - March 26, 2017 4:43 AM

When Britain ran the Bahamas you could eat off the streets,the place was kept so clean; I was there in 1963. The buildings were kept clean and freshly painted all the time, the place was the place to be; it was the good old James Bond days. Look at it now, there is not one place there isn't litter, or drug dealers at every street corner playing their gangster music as they sell their drugs,its a bloody shame what it has become. Look at the Cayman Islands, three islands still run by the British and land there is worth ten times more than all the hundreds of Bahamian islands put together. Why, because the corrupt Bahamian government unlike the British ran Cayman Islands government has done nothing but steal the people's money from the first day of Independence from the British. Corruption and crime is completely out of control, there is a murder almost every other day, and sometimes three or four in a day that makes up for the days no one dies. One billion dollars VAT tax collected and the government can't till the people where their money has gone; one billion, no where to be found. My cousin lives there now, but is moving back to England because he's already been robbed twice at gun point; he feel's the third time he'll die.

Marianne - March 26, 2017 7:48 AM

Bahamian. Ask sarkis if he thinks the Bahamian government took his land .

Mrs.Oliver - March 26, 2017 5:46 PM

Poor Mr. Sarkis, $900 million dollars of his family's money stolen and given to a well known corrupt Chinese mafia family by their friends; the corrupt Bahamian PLP government. Not only did they steal his money and project, but prevented him from exposing the government's corrupt extortion against him by filing bankruptcy; the PLP would be in jail right now if it went to court. And to top it off, the corrupt PLP government seals the contracts and deals made between the Chinese mafia and the PLP, even their own Bahamian people are not allowed to know their dealings. As to owning Bahamian property Charles Beauchamp, sell it as fast as you can. And try to use a realtor like ReMax, or a well known one, I've heard so many horror stories of Bahamian realtors ripping foreigners off; good luck.

George Bosworth - March 27, 2017 2:56 PM

Just got back from Nassau last week. I was there on the 23rd. I noticed a obvious lack of security getting back to the Cruise terminal, and our contracted transportation to and from Paradise Island drove through areas that I thought were both horrific and horrifically close to the tourist area. Nearly all buildings were dilapidated, deserted, ransacked, or even -apparently- looted. Private residences were walled by concrete block, with RAZOR wire stretching from the top of the walls to the eve of the home- creating a walled-in tunnel for the inhabitant to walk within. Broken windows and graffiti everywhere. And all this just a few blocks from the dock. I was astounded.

Wendy(Miami) - March 27, 2017 10:09 PM

I love horses,and that's why I will never visit the Bahamas again! A filthy decaying place where the locals are rude thieving predators waiting for you to make the wrong move. This place isn't what it use to be, a beautiful place where the people were friendly and nature was there friend to look after. Now, for get about it, the locals don't even like each other, so how can the visitors expect to be treated nice, or the animals? I've never seen such abuse of God's creatures before I visited the Bahamas. I saw kids, little kids beating the crap out of a poor defenseless striving dog while they laughed; who does things like this, who raised demons like this? My husband and I visited Nassau 9 months ago and we had to cut our trip short because I couldn't take the abuse of the surrey horse in Nassau that I was witnessing. And to top it off, the uncaring police officer told me to move on and not take photos; F@#K him! Well, we weren't allowed to take photos, but someone else did; F@#K the Bahamas! (Graphic Photo enclosed, viewer beware).
http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/mar/27/concerns-surrey-horse-seen-lying-street/?news

Steve Rosenberg - April 1, 2017 12:44 PM

My wife and I was wondering how safe is Cuba?

Tom Harding - April 1, 2017 6:50 PM

Mr. Rosenberg, Cuba is probably the safest place you can travel today. The Cuban government doesn't play games, you break the law and you will know about it real quick. With the boom in tourism Cuba is experiencing right now with it's slow opening, the Cuban government has made it first priority to warn it's citizens of the consciences of any crime against the tourist. My friend who's a Miami Pilot landed in Havana last Sunday, he said he had the best time of his life in Cuba. He said the beaches are beautiful and the people as well. He said they are very proud of their culture and music and are more than happy to share it with you. He also visited a place named Cayo Coco, an island off the North coast of Cuba, he said it was amazing, and he's traveled everywhere as a pilot.

wayne - April 2, 2017 2:49 PM

If the armed Bahamian police are not safe in their own country, than what makes unarmed tourist think they are safe in the Bahamas?
http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/apr/02/female-police-officer-shot-dead-freeport-club/

T.T - April 3, 2017 1:14 AM

Reading the comments at the bottom of these Bahamian newspapers Wayne and Wendy posted are really depressing. It is completely different than what the country advertises,"It's better in the Bahamas", it doesn't seem that way to the locals.

Howard Brunn - April 16, 2017 12:26 PM

The Bahamas is a war zone where even the cops are killed at will by the criminals. Anyone willing to risk their family's safety by traveling to these killing fields is out of their mind and should be checked by a doctor and locked up in a rubber room!

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/apr/16/-duty-police-officer-one-two-men-shot-dead-overnig/

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