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 sometimes be targeted.
Pickpocketing, snatch and grab and other petty crime tends to occur in and around more touristy areas. As a result, the local authorities have stepped up police patrols and implemented check points to increase security. Keep your valuables well hidden, take what you need with you for the day and never leave your belongings unattended, even at the beach as there have been reports of theft.
Credit card fraud does occur in the Bahamas. You can avoid becoming a victim by keeping an eye on your card at all times, letting your bank know when you are traveling in case of suspicious transactions. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your account after your travels as well. Try to avoid using ATM’s on the street, instead withdraw money from ATM’s inside banks or hotels.
The Bahamas Police Commissioner has reported that violent crime has dropped by 22% and overall crime has dropped by 14% in 2018. Most of the serious crimes committed in the Bahamas are mainly in and around Nassau (New Providence).
Sexual assaults do happen with many occurring around casinos, nightclubs, hotels and even on cruise ships. Often many of these incidents have occurred after the consumption of alcohol or drink spiking. Some cases have also involved teenage girls holidaying with their families.
Armed robbery sometimes occurs so it’s important to keep your valuables secured and out of sight at all times. If you do unfortunately find yourself being robbed and threatened with/without a weapon, always cooperate and never resist. Your life is more important.
Violent crime tends to happen mostly in Nassau's "over the hill" neighborhoods, 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, have far less crime than New Providence.
The Bahamas has one of the highest homicide rates in the Caribbean, with the majority of victims being locals. Tourists are rarely targeted, however a US traveler was murdered in 2013 in a popular tourist spot. Four people were arrested.
Drinking and clubbing are popular activities among visitors to the Bahamas, and the addition of alcohol and lowered awareness can increase the risk of crime substantially.
Drink in moderation and don’t accept drinks from strangers. Be aware of your surroundings and your belongings. Avoid walking alone at night, particularly around poorly lit and deserted locations such as streets and beaches. Travelers should reject rides from strangers, avoid hitch hiking or taxi drivers who appear unlicensed.
If you need to get around, get your accommodation or the restaurant to organize a licensed taxi for you.
Contrary to the stereotype, ganja (marijuana) isn’t legal in many countries in the Caribbean including the Bahamas. Illicit drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and others are also illegal. So if you are offered anything, don’t accept it. You can be arrested for possession or trafficking of drugs which can result in a fine, deportation or potentially spending time in jail.
While the islands are generally considered safe for female travelers overall, it's a good idea to dress modestly as the Bahamas is still a conservative country in many areas. This also includes covering up when leaving beach areas.
Women have reported some incidents of verbal (mostly non-threatening) and sexual harassment while traveling around the Bahamas. Despite this, most locals are generally respectful and friendly.
Always take precautions while out at night to ensure your safety, such as taking a licensed taxi to a club or restaurant rather than walking, particularly in Nassau as the risk of crime increases at night. Avoid walking in deserted or poorly lit areas.
Drink spiking has been reported in many spots around the Bahamas, so beware of friendly strangers who may want to buy you a drink and never leave your drink unattended.
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Be aware of local customs, social etiquette and these common tourist scams in the Bahamas.