U.S. report highlights New Providence crime
The United States Department of State has listed the crime threat in The Bahamas as critical and warned U.S. visitors to take measures to remain safe when visiting the country.
In its 2018 crime and safety report, the State Department warned that while most reports of violent crime were “perpetrated against Bahamians in areas of saturated criminality, not typically visited by tourists”, there has been a steady stream of violence in locations commonly frequented by tourists.
“In some instances, these incidents resulted in fatalities,” the report said.
The report continued, “Gangs are present in The Bahamas.
“There has been targeted gang-related violence, including a drive-by shooting resulting in one death and two injuries, next to embassy-owned residential properties in November 2016.
“In April 2017, a well-known dive shop shuttle bus was targeted and the driver killed along the busy Bay Street corridor. Fully automatic rifles were used in both incidents.”
The report also noted that home invasions, theft and robbery could occur on any part of the island.
“Criminal activity has led to incidents that could place innocent bystanders at risk,” the report said.
“The U.S. Embassy [in Nassau] has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, at residences, hotel rooms, casinos, outside hotels and on cruise ships. In some sexual assault incidents, the victim reportedly had been drugged. The embassy issued several security messages for U.S. citizens in 2017.”
According to Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson, overall crime was down 14 percent last year compared to 2016.
Ferguson said the data for 2017 shows that every category of crime reported, with the exception of murder, unlawful sexual intercourse and manslaughter, decreased.
Although murders increased by 10 percent in 2017, violent crime decreased overall by 22 percent.
The U.S. report said, “In December 2017, the State Department issued a travel warning for the Fish Fry and areas of Nassau referred to as Over-the-Hill by locals to be avoided after sunset.
“Although a high visibility effort by the Bahamian government to clean the area up was initiated in January 2018, it is too early to tell how effective these efforts will be.
“In January 2018, the Arawak Cay Conch, Fish, Vegetable and Food Vendors Association claimed petty crime and robberies have proliferated at the Fish Fry due to lack of police presence, especially on weekends, holidays and at night.”
But Ferguson has said that his reports from the divisional heads in the area do not reflect a crime problem at Arawak Cay, and he is “extremely pleased” with what is happening there.