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U.S. Warns Again Over Crime In The Bahamas

By KYLE WALKINE

Tribune Staff Reporter

kwalkine@tribunemedia.net

The US Department of State’s annual Crime and Safety Report on the Bahamas has again warned Americans of the level of criminal activity against locals and tourists in this country. 

The 2014 report, released on May 28, warns that despite “formidable anti-crime initiatives” enacted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) last year there was a significant increase in violent crimes in locations frequented by American tourists in 2013. 

“While there has been a slight reduction in 2013 in some crime categories as reported by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), violent crime remains above the 2012 level,” the report said.

The report added: “Armed robberies, property theft, purse snatching and general theft of personal property remain the most common crimes perpetrated against tourists.

“Many criminals carry firearms, machetes or knives. Unless provoked, criminals engaged in property crimes do not generally engage in gratuitous violence. There have been several reported armed robberies using a knife where the assailant assaulted the victim after the victim fought back and resisted. Many of these armed robberies were snatch-and-grabs involving purses, jewelry and gold necklaces.”

The report pointed to last June’s robbery of a US Embassy employee during which she received minor injuries while on her way to church. It also referenced the home invasion and armed robbery of Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis and his wife as well as the murder of businessman Kurt McCartney, the brother of Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney. 

The May 12, 2013 murder of Chicago sailor Kyle Bruner, which sparked a 6-month long hunt for his killer, was also referenced. 

Bruner, 34, was shot in the neck while trying to help a woman who was being mugged by two armed men in the downtown area.  

According to the report, the Bahamas has experienced a “wave” of armed robberies at gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, banks, and residences. The report said “pre-attack surveillance” is popular among criminals who commit these crimes.

It added that there were several reports of victims being followed home after closing their business, some of whom were severely injured. 

The number of assault reports also caught the eye of the Americans who noted that sexual assaults in hotel rooms, casinos, outside hotels and on cruise ships had increased. 

The report warns visitors to stay from the “Over the Hill” area saying, “Much of the violent crime on New Providence Island happens in non-tourist areas referred to locally as Over the Hill. These areas are generally south of Shirley Street in the downtown Nassau area. These areas are not clearly defined but encompass the lower income areas on New Providence. Visitors should avoid these areas, especially at night.”

The report noted that the police force implemented 12-hour work shifts, random armed police checkpoints, and a crime reduction plan in 2013.

“However, despite formidable anti-crime initiatives enacted by the government and specifically executed by the RBPF, during the past several months New Providence has witnessed a significant increase in violent crimes in locations frequented by US citizen tourists. In some instances, these incidents have resulted in fatalities. In 2013, the police reported several incidents that either involved tourists or occurred in well-established tourist locations. Specifically, crimes were reported close to the cruise ship port (Prince George Wharf) and the Cable Beach resort areas.”

The report noted that residential security is also a major concern adding that police reported a large number of home burglaries and break-ins.

 On Wednesday during his annual budget communication Prime Minister Perry Christie pledged to place a bigger investment in crime fighting by creating more criminal courts, in an effort to have trials carried out in a timely manner so that less criminals are released on bail. 

The US report also highlighted issues of road safety. Drinking and driving was labelled as “common” and the report noted that “the legal ban on this activity is rarely enforced, resulting in numerous traffic accidents and fatalities, including those involving tourists and scooters.”

“Many motorists disobey traffic control devices including stop signs, speed limits and traffic signals. Police enforcement of traffic laws is minimal and visitors driving on the roadways should use caution,” said the report.

More than 75 per cent of tourists that come to The Bahamas annually are US citizens. 

In April, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell silenced public concern over a previous US crime warning saying that the issue should be “put to rest.”

Just this week, three men recently released on bail were shot and killed. 

Earlier this month National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage told reporters that there was a general downward trend of crime in the country.

Comments

B_I_D___ 4 years, 9 months ago

They only got themselves to blame on this one...can't go blaming the FNM for doing a poor job...oh gee...what a surprise.

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Honestman 4 years, 9 months ago

Can't argue with anything in the US report - it's all factually correct. For Minister Nottage to even suggest that there is a general downwards trend in crime is an outrage. Do these people think that if they speak it out loud it might come true? Just be honest Minister and say you haven't a clue how to deal with the crime problem and bring in people who can help.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 9 months ago

In other words "watch how you approach us Fred"

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 9 months ago

New prison, new approach to incarceration programmes.

In reference to road traffic: Injection of ORDER into daily city management. Address random construction of signs (has city looking unkempt and dirty) and increase in jaywalking. Noticed a recent trend where grown hairy back men and women will walk into the street right into the path of moving traffic, and not even slow moving traffic,this is traffic that's moving at 25 miles per hour or greater. Their expectation is that you slam on brakes for them. Only foolish school children used to do this, now its pervasive. This even happens on the highway!!! They're taking their lives, the driver that hits them or veers to avoid them and hits another car and life of every passenger in said vehicles in their hand. Also noticed people darting onto the roundabouts into the path of cars with the right of way. Running red lights appears to be the thing to do it happens so often, if you bad you can't wait stop at a red light. The motorcycles do it all the time. They're just as likely to cause an accident. The lack of respect on the road is crazy I take this as many persons on the road who either haven't been taught to respect anyone or never passed a driving test, corruption at road traffic. This is all disorder and it needs to be stopped.

More public information spots needed on ZNS regarding road traffic laws, laws governing operation of motorcycles and laws governing pedestrians, they're all out of control. There's no order.

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Bahamianpride 4 years, 9 months ago

The rule of law has been neglected for so long even with the police themselves that i am at a total lost to think of any effective solutions. Morals, decency, respect, integrity etc are in limited supply these days and without them people will not obey the laws. The social issues and dysfunctions are only getting worse feeding this growing crime problem. This is something we cannot arrest and ticket are way out off. At some point the thousands arrested will come out of jail to join the kids they parented and further these ills. Many of the vehicles are not even legal so obeying the traffic laws is a stretch. A moral person obeys the law because they value their freedom, have integrity, values, respect, and holds high their standards or image they represent out of respect for God, family and community. We have a moral deficit to go with our economic problem, crime is just the product of the underlying disease. RBPF is a criminal enterprise, how can they do an effective job of keeping order when they are out of order..

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Emac 4 years, 9 months ago

Solution: Bring in foreigners to be a part of the police force, give the commissioner full control of the force without political interference and fix the judiciary. And I am not suggesting bringing in foreigners because I think the local force lacks manpower- The police are failing in their quest to bring crime under control because of 5 reasons; 1. Corruption, 2 they don’t have the drive, 3 they turn a blind eye to some crimes or look the other way when the perp is a family member or a friend, 4 commissioner does not have complete control over his team and 5 the judiciary is a mess. Bringing in outsiders will at least address three up these problems. The fact of the matter is that all small countries where everyone is familiar with everyone else should have some form of external law enforcement agency, so that there be some objectivity in the carrying out of law enforcement . But the day that happens is the day when pigs will fly, so says Fred. LOL… The saddest thing about this country is that our leaders don’t even have a conscience or are even bothered by the fact that they are committing the greatest crime against their own. Their greed and arrogance wouldn’t even allow them to see their faults. Unfortunately, the few who comment on these pages are not enough to fight city hall. Let’s face it, Nassau is a jungle. The only solution I see is to move as far away from this place as possible.

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Cobalt 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't lose hope. There are a lot of places in the world that are worst than the Bahamas. What we need to do immediately is get rid of all these old politicians who've been around from the stone-age. They realize that it would take longer than their lifetime to correct most of the social ills that we face in the Bahamas today. All they're doing is using corrupt means of securing their retirement by aligning their pockets. They facilitate the bed of corruption that exist in our country because it earns them more money. We as the citizens need to start promoting men of integrity and honesty to replace these political crooks.

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JoesSound 4 years, 9 months ago

Without tourism how does the Bahamas survive......it doesn't. Remove illegal immigrants to free up jobs and get people back to work and off the streets doing senseless stuff. Support and tip the police to trouble and work together.

I read a story once where a Haitian fellow came to the Bahamas and settled down with Bahamian girl and they had children together and a couple years later immigration caught up to him at a check point. They were going to deport him but he is the provider financially to the family working.......... So if he is deported what does the family live on for finances? Tough sitiation. His fault for sure.

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TruthBeTold 4 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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