The holiday season historically serves as a potential catalyst for an increase in crime and violence in The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Vigilance plays a key role in mitigating the risk. If you observe something suspicious or dangerous move to a safer area and call the police at 911 or 919. If you are the victim of a violent crime call police and U.S. Embassy Nassau’s duty officer at +242 322 1181.
Perpetrators of residential crime typically conduct surveillance of the intended property and victim(s). This underscores the need for increased awareness of common activities that can directly impact personal security. Please take a moment to consider the following security suggestions:
- You know what is normal and what isn’t in the areas you frequent. Use that knowledge to identify and avoid possible threats early.
- Pay close attention to any unusual activity that may have occurred since leaving home and getting in and out of vehicles. Things like an open gate, unfamiliar vehicles parked nearby, house doors forced open, or broken windows can be a sign of criminal interest or activity.
- Have an escape plan to get out of the house.
- Think prudently about after dark travel. Inform someone of your plans and when to expect you. At night, park in lit areas when possible. Avoid areas known for criminal activity. For example, the Arawak Cay area in Nassau on Sunday evenings continues to be a popular hangout known for crimes of opportunity such as muggings and assaults.
- The Sand Trap area in Nassau remains off-limits to all embassy personnel, and private U.S. citizens are also advised to avoid this area.
- Keep your wallet or purse close to your body; never leave your purse or wallet unattended. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash – use an ATM/credit card when possible and check your credit card statements often for unauthorized charges.
- Avoid using ATM machines located in isolated areas and consider using ATM machines that have security coverage. Be particularly aware of your surroundings when making withdrawals.
- Keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up as you drive. Keep valuables out of sight when parked (including cell phones, laptops, cash, GPS, or other valuables). Utilize a car alarm or steering wheel locking device.
- Do not display expensive jewelry.
- In traffic or in a stopped line of cars, leave at least a half a car length between your vehicle and the car in front of you. If you believe you are being followed, drive immediately to a safe location such as a police station, a gas station, or a hotel and call the local police. If traveling in an unfamiliar area use a GPS or map app on your cell phone to identify where you are.
- If confronted by criminals, remember your vehicle or valuables are not worth your life or anyone else’s.
- Notify your relatives of your departure and return dates but do not otherwise publicize your travel plans.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Bahamas Specific Information and Turks and Caicos Islands Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas, located at 42 Queen Street (across from the British Colonial Hilton Hotel), Nassau; telephone: 242-322-1181; ACS unit fax: 242-356-7174; e-mail: ACSNassau@state.gov ; web page: https://bs.usembassy.gov. [Note: The Turks & Caicos U.S. Consular Agency is currently CLOSED. The Consular Agency is located at 2 Ventura Ct., Grace Bay Suite 102E, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; telephone: 649-232-5713; e-mail: ACSNassau@state.gov .]
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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