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Violent crime prompts State Department travel warning for the Bahamas

Jan 29, 2024, 4:54 PM

The US State Department on Friday posted a travel advisory urging Americans to “exercise increase...

The US State Department on Friday posted a travel advisory urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” in the Bahamas, citing crime. Pictured is a beach in Nassau, Bahamas, in December 2022. (Victor J. Blue, Bloomberg/Getty Images)

(Victor J. Blue, Bloomberg/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The US State Department on Friday posted a travel advisory urging Americans to “exercise increased caution” in the Bahamas, citing crime.

“Gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population,” the advisory reads, calling out the most-affected islands of New Providence, including Nassau and Grand Bahama, where Freeport is located.

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”

The Bahamas is now listed at Level 2, Exercise Increased Caution, out of 4 advisory levels.

The State Department advisory comes on the heels of a security alert from the US Embassy in Nassau on January 24 calling attention to 18 murders that have taken place in Nassau since the beginning of 2024. The alert cites gang violence as the primary motive, noting murders have occurred at all hours, “including in broad daylight.”

Extreme caution is urged

The alert urges people to exercise “extreme caution in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau)” and also recommends being careful while driving or walking at night, not resisting robbery and other precautions.

In the travel advisory issued two days later, the State Department also urges travelers not to resist any robbery attempts and cautions against opening doors to strangers.

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis told Bahamian news outlet The Tribune that he does not think the warning will affect tourism. CNN did not immediately receive a response to a request for comment from The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.

The Bahamas isn’t the only Caribbean destination with an updated travel alert. Jamaica’s advisory was updated on January 23 to include new crime and health information. It is now listed at Level 3, Reconsider Travel.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the State Department advisory for Jamaica reads.

The advisory outlines specific crime risk areas in 12 of Jamaica’s 14 parishes. It also highlights difficulties travelers could face in accessing medical services.

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Violent crime prompts State Department travel warning for the Bahamas