Canada recently issued a new crime advisory for the Bahamas, warning its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution when traveling there due to high rates of crime, including a reported increase of sexual assaults against tourists.
Canada’s website advisory was updated last week to state that sexual assaults occur regularly, primarily in New Providence (Nassau) and on Grand Bahama (Freeport):
"Crime, including violent crime, occurs mainly on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama. There has been an increase in muggings, armed robberies, home invasions and sexual assault targeting tourists in the cities of Nassau and Freeport. Incidents of robbery take place in cruise ship terminals and in and around popular resort areas, even in daylight hours. If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and do not resist. Avoid non-tourist neighbourhoods in downtown Nassau, especially at night, where the crime accounts for much of Bahamas’ high murder rate.
Sexual assault occurs frequently, particularly near hotels, in hotel rooms, in casinos, on cruise ships and on the beach. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, do not consume any drugs and don’t accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers. Due to incidents of sexual assault, it is recommended to be wary when embarking on jet-ski rides with licensed or unlicensed operators."
Two weeks ago, we wrote about the U.S. warning to its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution while traveling to the Bahamas.
The Nassau Guardian covered the new advisory for Canadian tourists. The nation’s Tourism Minister downplayed the crime advisory during an interview with the Tribune newspaper, saying that "when I go to London, when I go to Paris, when I go to New York, I probably have just the same likelihood of being a victim of crime." As I have said before, this is a common although misleading argument. The per capita murder and rape rates in the Bahamas is substantially higher than the per capita rate in the majority of U.S. and European cities. In the U.S., the per capita murder rate is a little over 4 per 100,000; in the Bahamas, the rate is around 40 per 100,000.
Canada has issued critical crime report for the Bahamas several times in the last several years,
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Photo credit: Jerrye and Roy Klotz MD CC 3.0 commons / wikipedia.