Crime, Scams & Annoyances to Avoid in Barbados

Tourists are more likely to experience petty crime, than crime of the serious variety in Barbados.

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Although Barbados generally has a lower rate of violence than it's Caribbean neighbors, it's not without dangers – especially at night.

On the bright side, police are heavily stationed around residential and tourist areas in Barbados. *breathes a sigh of relief* But you still need to keep your guard up.

A Few Crime Stats

  • According to the OSAC 2017 Crime and Safety Report for Barbados and Grenada, in 2016, Barbados had 1605 drug-related crimes, 1029 residential burglaries, and 105 vehicle thefts.
  • In 2015, the US government also issued a travel advisory about a recent increase in the number of robberies involving firearms and high levels of violence directed against local businesses. It also mentioned muggings after dark in Hastings.
  • The most recent UK and the Canadian government country information on Barbados (both last updated in December 2017) both warn that although visits are generally trouble free, tourists are most likely to be victims of petty crime and crimes of opportunity. They also mention that there have been reported cases of sexual assault and armed robbery.

It doesn't seem pedlars on the island are much worse than those in other Caribbean destinations or Mexico, but prepare yourself for the possibility of some intense hassling.

St. Lawrence Gap, on the southern coast of the island, is one place to watch your back. Recent visitors there recommend older people should only go out during the day, as this part of the island can seem seedy at night.

Females Travel in Groups

Women should travel in groups and avoid walking home alone at night. According to several 2017 visitor reports on TripAdvisor, female travelers should look out for harassment while walking on the streets, on the beaches, and particularly on St. Lawrence Gap (The Gap). Harassment includes local men making sexual remarks and sometimes stalking female tourists.

 In 2017, British media also reported that a British tourist was raped at Holetown Beach and that another female British national was attacked and almost raped while jogging close to her holiday apartment in Holetown. To make matters worse, the latter victim claimed that her complaint was met by indifference from the local police.

Nightlife in Barbados

According to 2017 visitor reports on TripAdvisor, The Gap is one place where you can expect hassle. Many reports indicate that at night, this restaurant/bar/nightclub strip tends to attract hustlers who may offer you illegal drugs and beggars who may pester you for money. Some reports also mention that some areas of The Gap are a bit rundown, not well lit at night, and may not be family-friendly. One visitor on TripAdvisor also mentioned that on The Gap, some taxi drivers can be aggressive and overcharge you.

Robberies and Violent Crimes

According to the OSAC 2017 Crime and Safety Report for Barbados and Grenada, in 2016, Barbados police reported 186 robberies, 182 sexual assaults, 55 shootings, 22 murders, and 12 kidnappings.

 The US Department of State country information on Barbados (last updated in June 2016) has also advised its staff to avoid the following areas at all times: Crab Hill, St. Lucy and The Ivy, and St. Michael, and to avoid Nelson Street, Wellington Street, and Jolly Rogers Cruises at night. It has also advised them to exercise extreme caution in New Orleans, Deacons, Black Rock, Pine, Carrington Village, and Green Fields.

If you are in a dangerous situation or fall victim to a crime in Barbados, call 211 for police, 311 for fire, and 511 for ambulance. Also, you can always call your emergency assistance number on your travel insurance policy.

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31 Comments

  • Dario said

    this is a load of bull crap... who wrote this ignorance anyways, prob some idiot that never been there.
    your talking about what some travellers say, thats like less than a hungred compare to the hundred thousands that go there every month....
    It's got its crime for sure but what country dosent???? name one country in the world that do no have any crimes at all...
    Alse the litttle bit of crime in Barbados is the fault of the current local government (DLP) Democratic Labour Party...
    I was born and riase there and now live in sydney australia soon to be 3 years.
    Ive been almost all around the world in countries that i never thought id ever be in
    And what I can honestly say is that there is no place like home.

  • Joe King said

    No, you're wrong there are plenty of Greg riddled Countries like Barbados.
    Barbados is a lot like Jamaica with its Drug and gang related problems, ultra violence and bad attitudes between whites and blacks. Name a few white politicians in Barbados! I can't think of any.

  • Mallory said

    When i visited as a tourist i had no problems...the day i moved here my cab from the airport denise maccoon is the driver kicked me out of her cab because she couldn't find my house, leaving my dog and all the stuff i brought in a dark dead end...she knew i had no phone service...i begged her for water for my thirsty dog at least and ahe told me to stop crying and took off...

  • Neville A Haynes said

    I grow up Barbados, and I think that it's sad when hear that a Country like Barbados Who's Economy is now base on tourism, and the Island people is currently being ripping off by the Island people and aggresative taxi drivers, if this kind of behavior continue it will bring down the Barbados economy and economic. Is there a drop in employment? I think that Barbados should bring back the sugar cane, and also retrained some Bajans to do the high technical jobs in Barbados today.
    The Bajan are very intelligent and this kind of behavior unexcited.

  • Derek Barrett said

    I considered traveling to Barbados for vacation; however, I changed my mind after reading several articles about the opportunistic crime in Barbados. I hope the tourism board, merchants, vendors, resorts and the government realize the importance of tourism to the Barbados' economy. Please crack down on the crime or your service industry will run dry and bankrupt your nation. Respectfully - Derek Barrett

  • Martin said

    I went there eight years ago for a month with my wife only four times I was approach three in soup bowl and one in maycocks they need to put more presence of police in maycocks seems very quiet there and I was approach to my car by a tall guy if I wanted to buy weed I said no and he kindly back away other than that mind your own buissness and stay way from hanging at night and you should be fine but always have a plan for protection .like anywhere in the world other than that enjoy all the bay's there very quiet and empty totally more than safe.

  • Tracy Kaler said

    My husband and I just returned from Barbados. We loved it. Other than getting lost because most roads are unmarked, we didn't experience any crime. We were approached near the Soup Bowl by one gentleman, although I'm not sure what he wanted. We told him we weren't interested and he moved on. Cab drivers in Bridgetown can be a little aggressive trying to pick up fares, but they were all perfectly polite. We stayed on the east side in Belleplaine and explored a lot of the island. We found Bajans to be incredibly friendly and helpful! We are used to watching our backs since we live in New York City, however, so no matter where we go, we stay aware and alert. I would go back to Barbados again and still stay on the east side of the island, where there's no traffic and people are friendly. It's a beautiful place.

  • Eurie said

    Most of this is a load of crock sh#t . I've been visiting beautiful Barbados for 25yr, it is such an addictive place, go once and I guarantee you'll be back year after year. Most of the locals are cool, chilled and very friendly. Sure there is some crime, there is plenty of that in UK, USA & most countries, what country doesn't. Would anyone walk along a dark secluded place at night alone whilst at home? Why would anyone risk doing it in a foreign country? Play safe anywhere, invite trouble and you risk getting some. Beautiful BIM 😊😊 can't wait to be back for Carnival in July 😁 counting down the days.

  • Scottie said

    Beware the entertainment district - St. Lawrence the Gap...

    The locals are hard hitting hustlers!!! They don't care about anything - including the fact that you may be on vacation with your girlfriend/wife... they will hit on her and say nasty things to her while you are right beside her. Not cool and no respect. Please don't fall victim to the locals. Beautiful beaches and country - too bad about the locals - they ruin it all!

  • Pauline docherty said

    The writer has obviously never been to Barbados. Been going for 15 years and never seen any troubles. Will return again next year

  • Shawn said

    I lived there for 2 years... The east coast is amazing to stay all the locals are great people and traffic is low. West and south coast has plenty hustlers of course that's where the money is at. The Barbados government is making their people suffer so they are in survival mode right now, it's really sad the government allows this. It's more sad the government allows plenty GUNS in the island for the men to be shooting eachother. Don't expect much respect while in west/south from the hustlers and expect to be harassed. All in all Barbados is great and if you meet a good local keep him close to you take care of him and he will do the same. Do for Do. Shame of Barbados government for allowing bim to get so crime full

  • Jamie Crosby said

    Currently staying on the south coast in Dover..beaches are amazing waves are great but I have to agree with the other posts about the locals..being white the locals assume your loaded and pretty much push coke up your nose and demand money. Can't even go to the market without being harassed..I like to party no doubt but it gets fucking annoying

  • RB said

    I'm in Barbados right now in St. Lawrence gap. I m a prisoner of my hotel because this is not a vacation. I don't want to even walk up the gap because my husband and I keep being intimidated by locals. I am scared and would rather stay in my room than enjoy my vacation out there.The locals are quite aggressive and are intimidating and it is not a nice place to come when you want a relaxing vacation. I will not come back especially if I need a vacation I'd rather take on my 15 hour days in another prison --- my job.

  • Gaynor Leary said

    I'm planning my 4th visit to Barbados in as many years. I travel alone and have never felt intimidated. The gap at night isnt great on your own, and yes the guys can be a bit forward, but a smile and a no thanks generally works. I get the buses, feels safer than a taxi, more people about and no arguments about fares. If you talk to the 'hustlers' most have families to feed and us tourists make their home an expensive place to live.

  • Kevin Denny said

    I have been to Barbados twice during Crop Over time and I have had no issues whatsoever. I love that place and I will be there again this week and also Crop Over again.

  • Den said

    I sold my villa on their "platinum" coast after my British neighbor's 16 year old son got murdered inside his home by a burglar. This country is not safe!

  • Shannon said

    "Beautiful beaches and country - too bad about the locals - they ruin it all!"

    Are you for real? Some of the comments are here are colonialist and alarmist at best and racist at worst.

  • JerseyGrl said

    After reading the NY Post article on the Top 25 Death Zones for Yankee travelers....i shall not be traveling to Barbados, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
    Thank you very much!

  • Vinnie said

    It should not have this happening, the place is small the police know the bastards and they should all be locked up. TOURISM IS THE MAIN INDUSTRY! 0 tolerance should be the rule! But The cops are lazy, incompetent and the NCC are Lazy and corrupt and so is the Government! Barbados is a BLACK RACIST ISLAND and White Tourists should be careful! oR STAY AWAY let's see how good they fear!

  • Andrew said

    Jersey Gal from America, the country with highest murder is concerned with that tawdry article from the NY Post, a sensationalist paper.

    Vinnie, from Staten Island, Rockways or LI, he has no black friends is crying the blues. Again an American whose country feast on hate crimes and has a gun violence death rate second to none.

    Barbados may have it issues but somehow I think those two are tainted...

  • Miss London said

    First some of these above stories are made up.
    Most of these comments people thought they would go to Barbados and the poor black man would Bow down to them.
    Understand people have to hustle to survive
    There is crime in all countries especially in America
    America has the highest crime rates in the world
    Barbados does have a gun issue
    Youth unemployment is high
    And drugs and gangs is an issue on the island
    But racism is also real
    If you are afraid of black people do not go to a Black Country
    We don't need your negativity

  • Anthony Ward said

    Interesting, for the amount of Barbadians living on the Island, there is a lot of crime coming from the poverty. As for corruption, this Island is one of the worse. You are basically talked out of making a complain of any sort! I live on the island and to date have managed to report several crimes, from embezzlement and theft to being threatened with a gun! Still no luck with arrests even with video evidenced!
    Obviously this article is fiction! You don't even get a crime number for your trouble if you manage to have your complaint logged.
    Spend your time, if your visiting, writing your plight on travel sites. This is a politically corrupt Island!!

  • Christopher Austin said

    I had an interesting experience in Barbados back in the spring of 1993 when I was only 7 years old. Today I am 31 but remember this like it was yesterday. My parents and I, along with my uncle Jeff, rented a nice apartment in the Sunset Crest resort. A couple hours after we arrived at the apartment, a guy came in and installed a safe in the master bedroom. My dad kept his wallet, travelers checks, and other valuables in there. Sometime during one of the nights that followed, someone had somehow gotten into the apartment, opened the safe, and took all the valuables in there. The good thing is that none of us woke up during the robbery. We have no idea how many people were involved. It definitely seemed to be an inside job because, when the police arrived to investigate, they noted the safe hadn't been forced open. Someone had used the correct combination to open it.

    Needless to say, my parents and my uncle had been drinking and everyone had passed out. My uncle distinctly remembers locking the doors before passing out on the couch. The police speculated that the robber(s) must have used a fishing rod or something similar to fish the keys off the coffee table in the living room. This apartment had barred windows with plastic slats, and a fishing rod could easily be slipped in there.

    Aside from this episode, we definitely had a good time during our stay, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if one of us had woken and discovered the intruders... I may have not been around to tell this story today!

  • Jo said

    We had a negative experience recently. Visited several other islands before and after this one. We loved them all, and the locals. We traveled as a fairly large group with various interests, wanted to see the town, some nature and spend some time on the beach during our day trip. Got swindled by the taxi driver. We all found the town itself dirty, smelly and uninviting. Women in our group got catcalled, we were constantly haggled. The restaurant tried to give us wrong change. Then we got taken to a horrible, smelly, fly infested beach, got charged for beach chairs, the tide came in and "the beach" basically disappeared after an hour. We were harassed by peddlers incessantly, there was garbage everywhere and flies! Never seen so many on a beach. Got offered drugs several times. Then the driver kept on driving around town picking up extra fairs and we barely made it back to our ship. We love to visit different places as tourists and travelers, we've all been to various places around the world, spent money there to support local economy, and out of our group of 10 not one of us said that we would come back. Felt used and will never recommend this place to anyone. Left really bad taste in our mouths.

  • Bob said

    Just got back and had an incredible time. The locals couldn't be friendlier. I found it a little fun to haggle with the street vendors and we always parted with a smile and a handshake. I walked the streets at 6am and never felt like I was in danger. Even the construction workers said good morning and offered assistance if I was lost. We walked up and down the St. Lawrence Gap and through Bridgetown, we felt comfortable the entire time.

    My travel advise is: Never get a taxi bus. They keep grabbing fares until they are full and then will get more. Grab a regular taxi, they will take directly where you need to go and get the price upfront. They are open to haggling, it's almost like they expect it. Treat them with respect and you will get the same. I found most drivers are more than happy to answer any questions you have.

    Also, Barbados is expensive compared to other Caribbean Islands. We ate at Subway once and it was double the price of home. The dual currency, Bajan and American, can get confusing. I suggest sticking to one, we chose Bajan.

    We will absolutely go back. They beaches and people were the most amazing things about the country.

  • steve kennedy said

    I am reading these articles as my wife and I are thinking of buying a second home in Barbados and of course are concerned about our safety whilst living there for say 3 months of the year and also the safety of the property when back in the UK. We enjoyed the island many many years ago on a holiday but have not been since. The reports I am reading seem very scary, particularly the ones referring to the black/white issues. Before I dispense with my chosen destination I would like to hear some comments. Thank you.

  • Steven said

    I've been to Bim four times in the past six years; going back next week. I generally stay in or around The Gap and usually travel by the mini-buses that run up and down the street. Yes, they get crowded and, being a middle-aged white male, I get lots of stares but I have never had a problem. You get approached, sometimes bordering on hassled in the Gap or Oistins, but with politeness and firmness, have never had an encounter escalate to beyond mildly uncomfortable (something that happens on a near daily basis in NYC where I live, so maybe I'm used to it). The people I have met have been friendly and gracious with few exceptions (again, that happens everywhere). I have been out late, walked home alone and, other than minor hassles, no worries. Right now, on the South side, the biggest problem is the back-flowing sewage. Destroy the areas beauty and make people sick and they will not come back.

  • Andrew said

    We were there in 2017, had an awesome time. We felt safe, didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, but we didn't like constantly being asked for a taxi while exploring Bridgetown by foot. I guess if you're white, they assume you don't live there, therefore you need to be driven all the time. They never seem to bother their fellow citizens though. They need to learn when to back away, but overall, a great experience. We are about to go again in April 2018.

  • Karan said

    My husband and I went to Barbados for the first time last year (2017) and had an amazing time. Barbados is an absolutely beautiful place and EVERYONE was incredibly friendly. Visited Oistins Bridgetown and many other places with no problems at all and felt completely safe, welcomed and very relaxed. We have already booked to return this year.

  • Mershach said

    Are Nigerian national granted entry into Barbados?

    What’s the requirements of getting entry into Barbados for Nigeria passport holder

  • Peter said

    Stayed in Hastings January 2018. The people we're friendly and very helpful. We didn't experience any hassle. Local car drivers stopped on occasion when we wanted to cross the road. I find if you treat people with humour and respect, you will generally get it in return. I would not hesitate to go back.

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