Recently there have been a number of signs that crime in the port of Nassau is out of control.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau and the U.S. Department of States issued warnings that crime and armed robbery have reached "critical" levels.
The crime has affected all aspects of life in Nassau. There are armed robberies in the bars, restaurants, nightclubs, streets, beaches, by-the-Atlantis-Resort, on Bay Street, outside of churches, during excursions, in homes, in cars and on routes to and from the cruise ships.
Recently, I learned about crime ranging from the armed robbery in Nassau of a pre-school with 100 children in attendance (two days ago) to the armed robbery of the Acting Prime Minister and his wife in their home (last month).
Did travel agents inform me of this information? Did the cruise lines disclose this? Did the Bahamian tourism officials state this?
Of course not.
I learned information of this type from two sources. First, from passengers who call our office and tell us what happens ashore in Nassau. Secondly, by reading the local on-line press in Nassau.
The local major newspapers in Nassau are excellent. The are transparent. And unlike the local police or the businesses which are wholly dependent on money from the cruise ships, they do not act like tourism officials who say "its better in the Bahamas" regardless whether that’s true.
Travel agents, by and large, seem more interested in their commissions than telling you the hard facts. They may tell you that "crime occurs everywhere" and ask why pick on Nassau because U.S. cities have more than their fair share of crime. But everyone knows Detroit is a war zone. But few people know that Nassau is too. I doubt that a travel agent, the cruise line or the local tourism people will disclose that the homicide and armed robbery rates in Nassau are some of the highest in the world.
The cruise lines don’t want to scare you away as a customer. They may tell you to be careful in Nassau, but only after they have already sold you a cruise to the Bahamas.
Our recommendation? Read the local newspapers in Nassau. Most of the crime reports as well as the positive things about Nassau are covered by the local press.
Here are the newspapers you need to read if you are thinking of sailing your family to Nassau:
After you have read the Nassau newspapers, make an informed decision whether you think its safe for your family to travel there.
January 10 2014 Update: In addition, check out these on line media sources in the Bahamas:
Photo Credit: Wikipedia / TampAGS, for AGS Media