NOTE: Government travel advisories highlight The Bahamas as "Exercise a high degree of caution" due to the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama experiencing a high level of crime where travelers can be targeted.
Some of the crime is petty, like pick pocketing and "snatch and grab" incidents during the day, but there have also been serious incidents where weapons have been used.
Most of the serious crimes committed in the Bahamas centre largely on Nassau (New Providence). The US Department of State's website indicates that there has been a spike in violent crimes committed between 2009 and 2015, with a significant number targeting tourists visiting the country.
Armed robbery have occurred at more remote locations as well. Tourists posting on a cruise web site reported being mugged on recent visits to the Bahamas, including one woman who was in front of a hotel with her young daughter. Some people reported police being of little help.
Statistics show armed robbery on the whole has increased on New Providence, with incidents occurring at cruise terminals, and in and around Cable Beach.
There has also been an increase in assaults including sexual assaults, with many occurring around casinos, nightclubs, outside hotels and even on cruise ships. Often many of these incidents have occurred after the consumption of alcohol.
Violent crime tends to happen most in Nassau's "Over The Hill" neighbourhoods, a place where tourists have no business going. The Freeport section of Grand Bahama also attracts its fair share of crime. The outer Family or Out Islands, such as Bimini and Abaco, of the Bahamas have far less crime than New Providence.
The Bahamas has one of the highest murder rates in the Caribbean (128 people were killed in 2015), the majority of victims are locals, rarely tourists. However, a US tourist was murdered in 2013 in a popular tourist spot.
Drinking and clubbing are popular among tourists in the Bahamas, and the addition of alcohol and lowered awareness can increase the risks of both petty and violent crime substantially.
Rape and sexual assault cases have increased on the islands as well, and can often be linked to excessive alcohol consumption. The Bahamas also has one of the highest rape rates in the Caribbean. Many rapes have occurred near hotels and in casinos and some have involved the victim being drugged. Some have involved very young girls.
It is a wise idea not to drink to excess. You should keep your wits about you to help prevent any potential opportunisitic crime from occurring.
Women have reported catcalls and sexual harassment while going about their business on the streets of the Bahamas. Females should reject rides from strangers, or taxi drivers who appear unlicensed.
While the islands are considered safe for female travelers, it's a good idea to dress modestly, as some Bahaman males may suspect you are looking for a partner.
It's also a good idea to take precautions while out at night to ensure your safety, such as taking a taxi to a club or restaurant rather than walking, particularly in Nassau, avoiding deserted areas, and not walking alone.
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