‘Practice increased vigilance’: State Department issues Bahamas travel warning

If your Spring Break plans have a stop in the Bahamas, you may want to make some adjustments.

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The U.S. Embassy in the island nation has issued a warning and travel advisory because of increased deadly violence.

There have been at least 18 murders in the Bahamas since Jan. 1, with the State Department saying that the incidents are happening during daylight hours, Fox News reported.

“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 State Department said.

Officials attribute the murders to “gang-on-gang violence.”

The State Department said that travelers should “exercise increased caution” and “practice increased vigilance” if they are going to the eastern portion of New Providence Island, adding that they should be cautious if going out at night and, if they are a victim of crime, should not physically resist if robbed.

The U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas said that travelers should “keep a low profile” and “review your personal security plans.”

New Providence Island is where Nassau is located. There is also a travel warning for Grand Bahama, where Freeport is located.

Jamaica also has a travel warning, with the State Department saying to “reconsider travel,” Fox News reported.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence,” officials said.

Nassau’s warning is a Level 2 while Jamacia’s is a Level 3. You can check the status of any country by visiting the State Department’s webpage.

If you are a victim of crime while traveling outside of the U.S., the embassy or consulate can help. Officials can:

  • Replace a lost or stolen passport.
  • Contact family, friends or employers.
  • Facilitate medical care.
  • Address emergencies as a result of crime.
  • Explain financial assistance options.
  • Provide information to connect a U.S. citizen with information about the country’s laws and their implementation.
  • Share information about a person’s case.
  • Connect a victim of crime with U.S.-based resources.
  • Provide a list of lawyers in the country that speak English.

The embassy does not:

  • Investigate.
  • Provide legal advice or representation in court.
  • Serve as translators.
  • Pay legal, medical or other expenses.

If you find yourself in an emergency while visiting The Bahamas, you can contact the embassy at 242-322-1181 or via email, USA Today reported.

For more information, visit the embassy’s website.

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