The Bahamas is experiencing a spike in murders in 2024, but the killings largely are related to gang activity, and none of the 18 incidents reported so far this year have involved tourists.
A recent advisory issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nassau noted the spate of recent murders, which have mostly occurred in the Bahamian capital.
“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the embassy noted in a Jan. 24 security alert. “Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders.”
The alert urged visitors to the Bahamas to “exercise extreme caution in the eastern part of New Providence Island (Nassau)” and use caution when walking or driving at night. Visitors were also advised to keep a low profile, stay aware of their surroundings, and not resist physical robbery attempts.
Bahamas’ Warning Level on Par With Other Destinations
That said, the U.S. State Department’s overall warning level about visiting the Bahamas remains unchanged, as has the general advice offered to visitors.
The Level 2 security caution for the Bahamas (“exercise increased caution”) has been in place for years, largely due to crime concerns.
“The majority of crime occurs on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands,” according to the State Department, which last updated its Bahamas advice on Jan. 26. “In Nassau, practice increased vigilance in the ‘Over the Hill’ area (south of Shirley Street) where gang-on-gang violence has resulted in a high homicide rate primarily affecting the local population.”
“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas. Be vigilant when staying at short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies do not have a presence.”
Shirley Street runs parallel to Nassau Harbor, about two or three blocks uphill from the waterfront. Several downtown Nassau tourist attractions are located south of Shirley Street, including Fort Fincastle and the Queen’s Staircase. The U.S. Embassy also is located in this area.
In a Jan. 29 statement issued in response to the U.S. travel advisory, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said that the warning level for the destination remains in line with “most tourist destinations.”
Davis said his government is “alert, attentive, and proactive to ensure that the Bahamas remains a safe and welcoming destination,” noting that a record 9 million people visited the country in 2023.
“The safety and security of everyone is of paramount importance to us and we are confident that the Bahamas will remain safe and welcoming for millions of visitors to continue to enjoy the magic and beauty of our beautiful islands,” he said.