On Monday, January 29th, the United States Department of State issued a Level 2 travel advisory for the Bahamas, urging travelers to exercise increased caution due to a recent surge in violent crimes, including 18 murders in Nassau since the beginning of the year. The advisory specifically highlights concerns in New Providence, which includes Nassau, and Grand Bahama, which includes Freeport.
The U.S. Embassy in Nassau issued a security alert for the Bahamas last Wednesday, advising U.S. citizens to be aware of the heightened risk of violence, including murders occurring at all hours and in broad daylight on the streets. The embassy’s alert pointed out that retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive behind the murders in 2024.
According to the State Department, travelers should practice increased vigilance in the Bahamas, especially in the “Over the Hill” area south of Shirley Street in Nassau, where “gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population.” The advisory also warns of “violent crimes such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults occurring in both tourist and non-tourist areas.”
The advisory further cautions against activities in the Bahamas involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, which are not consistently regulated. The State Department notes that these watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may lack safety certifications, posing additional risks to tourists.
In response to the escalating violence, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has initiated roadblocks and covert police actions to contain the crisis. Despite these measures, there is growing concern over the safety of tourists and residents alike.
The travel advisory for the Bahamas comes as the U.S. State Department also raised its advisory level for travel to Jamaica to Level 3, urging Americans to reconsider going to the country based on violent crime and inconsistent access to emergency medical services.
As the situation in the Bahamas continues to evolve, travelers are advised to stay informed and exercise caution, keeping a low profile and being aware of their surroundings at all times.