US issues travel warning for Bahamas after 18 murders reported this month
The Bahamas has been placed under "Exercise Increased Caution" by the State Department, which claimed that gang violence was the cause of the rise in murders.
Planning a tropical getaway to the Caribbean this winter? You need to think twice about it. The US State Department on Friday warned Americans against travelling to the Bahamas, citing the 18 murders that have occurred in the island nation this year, NBC News reported.
This comes after the US Embassy in Nassau issued a security notice on Wednesday, expressing worry that Americans could become victims of gang violence in the nation's capital. This alert prompted the escalation to Level 2.
"Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets," the embassy stated. "Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders."
‘Keep your profile low’: State Dept cautions Americans
In the eastern part of New Providence Island, the embassy advised Americans visiting the Bahamas to "exercise extreme caution" and to maintain a low profile.
Additionally, the US officials advised visitors to refrain from using physical force in the event of robbery.
The State Department further mentioned another concern that short-term vacation rentals frequently don't offer the same level of private security that hotels do. It claimed that tourist-heavy regions are not immune to Nassau's gang activity.
“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 warning added.
In light of recent shark attacks in the Bahamas, the State Department also advised Americans against swimming alone.
"Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications," it said. "Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities."
Bahamas PM react to US travel advisory
According to the Tribune, a daily news platform in The Bahamas, Prime Minister Philip "Brave" Davis responded to the embassy's alert on Thursday, stating that it is unlikely to have an impact on American visitors entering the island nation.
Earlier this week, the State Department also issued a level three of four “reconsider travel” alert for neighboring Jamaica.
“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common,” the department warns.
“Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”