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Are you planning to escape the brutal cold and enjoy a tropical paradise this winter? Maybe you should think twice about the Bahamas.
The US Embassy issued a security warning and a travel advisory saying the island nation is currently unsafe for tourists as the capital Nassau has reported 18 murders since the start of 2024.
“The U.S. Embassy in Nassau reminds U.S. citizens to be aware that 18 murders have occurred in Nassau since early 2024,” the embassy wrote in the press release.
“Murders took place around the clock, even in broad daylight on the streets. Gang retaliation was the primary motive for the 2024 killings.”
Following the security alert, the U.S. State Department on Friday placed the Bahamas on the “Increased Caution During Physical Activity” list, raising it to Level 3 as it warned Americans to stand back, be aware of their surroundings and not approach each other if confronted defend against robbers.
“Violent crimes such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assaults occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas,” the warning said. “Be vigilant when staying in short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies are not present. ”
Paradise Island with colorful houses at the ferry port in Nassau, Bahamas
The State Department also told travelers that they should not even attempt to “physically defend themselves” in the event of a robbery and to exercise caution when traveling at night.
The Foreign Ministry also warned that many rental, tour and excursion offerings for recreational watercraft are regulated inconsistently.
“Watercraft may be poorly maintained and some operators may not have safety certifications,” the release said. “Always check and heed local weather and marine warnings before engaging in any activity on the water.”
The department also reminded Americans not to swim alone in the Bahamas, where there have been recent shark attacks.
In December, a tourist from Boston was killed by a shark while she was paddling less than a mile off the western end of New Providence Island, where the capital Nassau is located, the Associated Press reported.
According to the International Shark Attack File, at least 33 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks have been reported in the Bahamas since 1580, ranking the island ninth in the world.
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis responded to the latest security warning in a national address last week, saying there would be an increase in police operations and roadblocks, according to the Nassau Guardian.
“It may cause you to be late for your appointments or delay plans you have, but that is a small price to pay for the collective benefit of making our streets safer and our lives less disrupted by murder and other violent crime “, he said .
Last week, the State Department raised its warning level for travel to Jamaica to Level 3, based on violent crimes including home invasions, armed robberies, homicides and sexual assaults – which “occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”