Although Barbados generally has a lower rate of violence than its 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. But, before you breathe a sigh of relief, here are a few reasons to keep your guard up on your vacation.
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.
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 the victim of an attempted raped while jogging close to her holiday apartment in Holetown. The latter victim claimed that her complaint was met by indifference from the local police.
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 run down, 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.
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 an ambulance. Also, you can always call your emergency assistance number on your travel insurance policy.
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