The U.S. embassy in the Bahamas has issued a security warning and travel advisory that the island nation is currently unsafe for tourists. The advisory comes in the wake of 18 murders in January, primarily attributed to gang violence. Safety concerns have escalated to the extent that U.S. officials are advising people not to try to "physically resist" in the event of a robbery.
There has been a notable surge in extremely violent crime, including burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, reported in both tourist and non-tourist areas since the start of 2024. The State Department has also placed the Bahamas as a location with an "Exercise Increased Caution" advisory.
Avoid the Bahamas
"Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets," the embassy wrote in its alert. "Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders." The embassy additionally advises Americans to exercise heightened vigilance, particularly during nighttime, and to maintain a low profile at all times.
"Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated," the alert mentioned.
"Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications. Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities.
"Never swim alone, regardless of your age or level of swimming skills. Keep within your fitness and swimming capabilities.
"Be mindful of sharks when swimming and engaging in water activities, as there have been recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks."
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis addressed the alarming violence last week, announcing that measures such as roadblocks and covert police actions will be implemented to address and contain the crisis, as reported by the Nassau Guardian.
"This may make you late for your appointments, or delay plans you have, but this is a small price to pay for the collective benefit of having our streets made safer, and our lives less blighted by murder and other violent crimes," he said.
Sudden Surge in Violence
In response to the escalating murder rate this month, Davis has reportedly already presented a crime plan to the public, as indicated by local news. Also, video footage surfaced last week showing the tragic incident when a 30-year-old man was shot dead in broad daylight in the middle of the street.
According to officials, Antonio Venus of Greaves Street, Monte Grant, was fatally shot in Tunapuna on January 13.
Video footage captured a black Toyota AE100, driven by Venus, crashing into the door of a white car and falling into a drain.
As the crash unfolded, three people swiftly exited the white car with firearms in hand and approached Venus. The trio rapidly fired shots at the vehicle before returning to their own car and fleeing the scene.
Upon investigation, police found Venus in the driver's seat, bleeding from gunshot wounds to his torso.
He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. As of now, authorities have not identified any suspects.