(CBS Miami/CBS Local) – The U.S. State Department re-issued a travel warning this week which recommends visitors use extreme caution in the Bahamas.
Federal officials issued the warning saying that “violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas.”
The warning specifically references New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahamas islands (Freeport), saying they are where “the vast majority” of crimes occur.
The department also emphasized the dangers of recreational watercraft because they are not “consistently regulated.”
“Watercraft are often not maintained, and many companies do not have safety certifications to operate in The Bahamas,” the warning said. “Jet-ski operators have been known to commit sexual assaults against tourists. As a result, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to use jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.”
If travelers end up going to the Bahamas anyway, below are some tips from the State Department:
▪ Exercise caution in the area known as “Over the Hill” (south of Shirley Street) and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau, especially at night.
▪ Do not answer your door at your hotel/residence unless you know who it is.
▪ Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
▪ Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
▪ Review the Crime and Safety Report for The Bahamas.
▪ U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency and medical situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.