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Insight: 0.00000717% – That’S The Chance Of A Tourist Being A Victim Of Crime Here

The Advisory refers to an incident at The Sand Trap in 2016 and warns folks not to go to the area. THERE IS NO SUCH AREA. As this picture shows, the bar where the incident took place has been out of commission since 2016 and only remnants of the structure exists.

The Advisory refers to an incident at The Sand Trap in 2016 and warns folks not to go to the area. THERE IS NO SUCH AREA. As this picture shows, the bar where the incident took place has been out of commission since 2016 and only remnants of the structure exists.

By Ed Fields

Managing Director

Downtown Nassau Partnership

Every year we have a circular discussion about the Travel Advisory issued by the US. State Department. It usually comes out in January, but because of the shutdown, it was just released. It is time we get off this hamster wheel once and for all.

It is important to state that as far as victims of crime are concerned one crime is too many and we should continue to be sensitive to that and to bring the numbers as close to zero as is possible.

Let’s dissect the most disturbing part of the opening paragraph contained in the Advisory.

“Violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault, is common, even during the day and in tourist areas. Although the Family Islands are not crime-free, the vast majority of crime occurs on New Providence and Grand Bahama islands. US government personnel are not permitted to visit the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime.”

According to the crime statistics with respect to serious offences against US visitors, here are the numbers:

• In 2018, there was one burglary/robbery. There were four armed robberies, five sexual assaults, three in Nassau, one in Eleuthera and one in Grand Bahama. ZERO MURDERS.

• In 2017, there was one burglary/robbery. There were three armed robberies, two sexual assaults. ZERO MURDERS.

• In 2017 and 2018 we had approximately 6,000,000 visitors to these shores.

While it would be accurate to say these categories of crimes have an unacceptable degree of frequency as they relate to Bahamians, it would be entirely inaccurate to use the word common as it relates to visitors. In fact UNCOMMON as it relates to visitors would be extremely accurate and in fact, I would go so far as to say that with respect to violent crimes, our visitors are extremely safe and, if normal precautions are taken, petty crimes can be avoided.

In total, there were 43 offences against visitors in 2018 or .00000717 percent. Thirty or .000005 percent of those were against US citizens according to the statistics from the RBPF. Not quite what one would call common as it relates to visitors, but the way the Advisory is worded has the phones ringing off the hook and coverage ranging across 50 states.

It is not the obligation of the US State Department to provide this breakdown. Its job is to provide information to its citizens but in doing so, there must be some accountability for accuracy. For instance, an incident occurred at The Sand Trap in 2016. The advisory warns folks not to go to the area. THERE IS NO SUCH AREA. The bar where the incident took place has been out of commission since 2016 and only remnants of the structure exists. They can verify this by just looking over the wall of the US marine complex located next door. State Department - PLEASE DELETE THE REFERENCE TO THE SAND TRAP.

However, while it is not the responsibility of the State Department to provide context, it is the duty and obligation of our leadership and our media to do so.

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A quick Google search, above, reveals the amount of interest the US Advisory has generated.

What is not expected is for the Bahamian media to simply regurgitate the Advisory without providing the proper context. Why did the local reports not allude to The Sand Trap faux pas or to the fact the alert for the Fish Fry and Over-the-Hill areas was reduced from “avoid” to “exercise caution”? In other words, we IMPROVED. However, readers and TV viewers here and aboard saw no context.

Even more questionable is why so much press is given to the report in the first place? Most countries never publish this. Does the US publish our warning to our citizens in their media?

The US Embassy does not issue a press release on the Advisory. Our own media searches out this information but fails to take the time to analyse the content and offer appropriate background. Like The Bahamas, the Netherlands, France and Britain are also under a Level Two Advisory on the US State Department list. I do not see their newspapers splashing it across the front page. This reporting is picked up by the international media and makes it seem as if you visit The Bahamas you are destined to be a victim of crime. THAT IS NOT THE CASE, unless you consider .00000717 percent high risk.

So please, Mr and Mrs Reporter, when a travel advisory speaks to how the country’s murder rate is very high per capita, please make sure the Advisory’s targeted audience knows that over the past five years The Bahamas has had approximately 30 million visitors, and not one of them was murdered. They may be interested to know that sort of detail.

So many people could do such a better job to get the true message out – just like anywhere a bit of commonsense and you’ll be as safe as anywhere. 

Comments

joeblow 2 months, 2 weeks ago

What a load of bull. By the time tourists catch a cab they have already been scammed!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The crime statistics mentioned in the above article are entirely bogus and one must question why they were allowed to be published by The Tribune. It seems the Tribune has become a purveyor of fake news. Both the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas have publicly available crime statistics for U.S. visitors to our country that are compiled from different sources and cross checked to ensure as much accuracy as possible. It seems The Tribune does not know this. LMAO

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tell_it_like_it_is 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Well, he gotta promote them comin to Atlantis somehow.
But in fairness to the author, yes the US stats are exaggerated a bit. But we must take into account how many crimes are NOT reported to our local authorities.

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Straight_Talk_Bahamas 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Totally agree with the Author... what he failed to do however was call out the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of National Security and the OPM who also dropped the ball on this

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John 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Take it a step further: There were more shootings on Miami Beaches during spring break last year than entire shootings involving tourists in the Bahamas during the entire year, 2018. In fact one shooting incident on a South Miami Beach left 5 persons injured. And violence and disorderly behavior have gotten so bad on Miami Beaches, several attempts were made to have alcohol banned totally or banned after 9:00 pm on the Beaches. And no matter how one tries to slice this turkey or dice this ham, it all boils down to racism. In Florida it is both white peoples perpetrating the crimes and being the victims of it. During Spring Break, the shooter and the five victims on Miami Beach were white. Here, when hotel guests get unruly and carry on bad, hotel security deal with the matter without involving the police. And even when police are involved, charges are only brought as a last option. So the guests to this country are able to return home leaving their bad behavior and bad record behind them. They can return to their normal lives with no interruption. Two things: America has always been a lamb that speaks like a dragon. Meaning it will turn on its closest friends and allies at the drop of a hat. When it is economically beneficial for America to do so. Remember it is the country that dumped nerve gas in our waters without our approval and wanted to test AIDS vaccines on Bahamians also without our knowledge of the consequences. In fact it may have already been done. America has the upper hand. It is a bigger country and it is more powerful. So as a countrythat relies on tourism continue to ensure that easy and every tourist visiting this country not only remains safe but has a pleasurable experience so that they want to return or tell others to visit. Continue to clean up the unacceptable behavior among Bahamians and educate them of the potential fallout to the tourist industry. And continue to build other tourist markets exclusive of the US. Canada, China, Europe a and yes Africa. So when America decides to act as a spoiled child or dragon and keep her people home, Tourism will be least affected. Get the numbers up to a level where the demand is so great there is a waiting list. For cruises, for hotels for flights. And this can easily happen with The revamping of downtown and the port and enhancement to the Family Islands. Don’t join the US slinging mud. Beat them by being better.

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banker 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And this can easily happen with The revamping of downtown and the port and enhancement to the Family Islands.

Sorry, not true. Tourists these days don't want the tired sun, sand and seas. That was true in the 1960's when it was new, but tourists want more now. Nassau offers less than a Miami mall with the same weather and palm trees.

Tourism has been dissected into niches. The niches range from ecology (ziplining in the Costa Rica rainforest canopy), sport-related tourism (surfing in Portugal, diving in the Maldives), personal enrichment tourism (the El Camino walking tour/pilgrimage in Spain), gastro-tourism (tour of Michelin-starred restaurants), history tourism, glitz and glamour tourism (Las Vegas) and many more. All of this is classed under experiential tourism -- they just don't want to come and sit on the beach and drink daiquiris and buy cheap knockoffs of luxury brands -- that is so 50 years ago.

There are positive movements afoot - kayaking and eco tourism on Grand Bahama, bike tours on Grand Bahama, there is a whole unexploited Lucayan history thing in the National Park on Grand Bahama. There could be shark tours off West End. Instead the Ministry of Tourism is spending money on advertising for a shiite product in Nassau when that money could be spent by developing tourism in Grand Bahama with products that tourists actually want and will pay a premium for.

But Bahamians in power (and most Bahamians in general) do not have good mental machinery, and like a tired old riding horse, always runs to the barn of its master instead of running the other way to (economic) freedom. We, in essence, are too dumb to govern ourselves. Lindon Oscar Swindling and his cohorts of facilitators, including the dumb phocques who voted for him for years are to blame. We could be the jewel of the Caribbean and instead we are a bible-thumping, webshop-gaming, sweethearting cesspit of humanity.

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OrdinaryMan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

banker !! - glad to see you're still on the planet. Have missed your trenchant observations about all-thing Bahamian.

And...sigh...you're heads-up about experiential tourism being a smart way for the Bahama tourism sector to go..well... your underlying pessimism seems currently justified. And hope for Bahamas future? Perhaps in segments of its younger people, the ones just coming up, getting info and cultural blueprints from e-sources/media beyond their immediate neighborhoods. And perhaps from mentors returning from abroad to initiate mentorship-type programs to better clue-in those young people. After all, if someone doesn't do it, it just might not get done. Peace, Sir.

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banker 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks man. This is what blows me away about how things are done. We want to jump right into the big leagues without learning how to play in the minor leagues. Take Kwasi Thompson's bid to make Grand Bahama a tech hub. Stupidly, they are introducing a BH-1B visa for tech workers for tier 1 companies. Those companies are not going to pay to duplicate IT operations in Grand Bahama, along with a whole new layer of management to lead it. They are going to let the qualified candidates work remotely. On top of it all, there are no social amenities for the workers, where interns get paid $69,000 per year and new graduates start out at $99,000. They aren't going to want to live in a hell hole with a rat-infested grocery store (I saw a huge rat run under a bunker freezer of meat in the grocery store on Sea Horse Road).

But if they started with a tech incubator like Cayman Islands did, they would build from the bottom up, and then graduate to the big leagues. Cayman now has over 100 blockchain companies, and one of them raised $3 billion.

There are ways to start inexpensively and let the infrastructure evolve organically, but the plan is flawed, they don't know what they don't know, and pretend that they do. Kwasi Thompson is a failure at making a tech hub. In two years he has nothing. And the huge irony is that I listened to the speakers (they are all on youtube) for the first tech summit two years ago, and there were some viable ideas taken from other jurisdictions. It is the blind leading the blind.

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