The United States is warning travelers to exercise “increased caution” in the Bahamas, citing an uptick in homicides and other violent crime.
The State Department issued a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution travel advisory Friday because of crime, and the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas issued a security alert last Wednesday.
The State Department said most crime occurs on the island of New Providence, where the capital city of Nassau is, and the island of Grand Bahama, where the city of Freeport is.
In the Over-The-Hill neighborhood in Nassau, gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate that affects mostly the local population, the State Department said. The U.S. embassy said 18 murders have occurred in Nassau so far in 2024.
However, violent crime — also including burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults — can occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas, the State Department warned.
Americans are advised to “be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”
The State Department warned about recreational watercraft activities, as well, noting they are not always consistently regulated, and some operators may not have proper safety certifications.
Sharks are worth being mindful of, too, the State Department said, when swimming and engaging in water activities.
“There have been recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks,” the advisory said.
The State Department outlined a list of actions that people still traveling to the Bahamas should take ahead of their visit. The embassy also provided a list of actions to take to keep safe while in the Bahamas.