US warns tourists against traveling to Bahamas after 18 murders reported this year
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US warns tourists against traveling to Bahamas after 18 murders reported this year

Planning to escape the brutal cold for a tropical paradise this winter? You might want to think twice about the Bahamas.

The US Embassy issued a security alert and a travel warning, saying the island nation is now unsafe for tourists as the capital Nassau has recorded 18 murders since the beginning of 2024.

“The U.S. Embassy in Nassau informs U.S. citizens that since the beginning of 2024, there have been 18 murders in Nassau,” the embassy wrote in a statement.

“Murders occurred at all hours of the day, including in broad daylight on the streets. The primary motive for murders in 2024 was retaliatory gang violence.”

In response to the security alert, the U.S. State Department placed the Bahamas on an “Exercise Enhanced Caution” list on Friday, raising it to Level 3, warning Americans to maintain low visibility, be aware of their surroundings and not resist if approached by thieves.

“Violent crimes, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas,” the warning reads. “Be vigilant when staying in short-term vacation rentals that do not have private security companies.”

US warns tourists against traveling to Bahamas after 18 murders reported this yearUS warns tourists against traveling to Bahamas after 18 murders reported this year

Shoals and islands in the Bahamas (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The State Department also advised travelers that they should not even attempt to “physically resist” if attacked and that they should exercise caution when traveling at night.

The State Department also warned that many water sports rental, tour and excursion services are subject to ambiguous regulations.

“Vessels may be poorly maintained,” and some operators may not have safety certificates, the release said. “Always check and follow local weather and marine warnings before engaging in water activities.”

The department also reminded Americans not to swim alone in the Bahamas, where there have been recent shark attacks.

In December, a Boston tourist was killed in a shark attack while paddleboarding less than a mile off the western tip of New Providence Island, where the capital of Nassau is located. Associated Press Press Agency reported.

According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been at least 33 confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks in the Bahamas since 1580. The island has the ninth highest shark attack rate in the world since then.

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis responded to the recent security alert in a national address last week, stating that there will be increased police operations and roadblocks, in line with Nassau Guardian Newspaper.

“This may cause us to miss meetings or delay plans, but it is a small price to pay for the collective benefit of making our streets safer and our lives less blighted by murder and other violent crimes,” he said.

Last week, the State Department raised the travel warning level for Jamaica to Level 3 because of violent crimes, including home invasions, armed robberies, homicides and sexual assaults, which “occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”