By Ed Fields
Downtown Nassau Partnership
If other countries can write about how careful to be when coming to the Bahamas, we should exercise the same right to both defend our country and to alert our citizens, and by extension the world, about the dangers of other destinations.
As a former editor of a local leading newspaper said to me recently, “Its amazing what a little research will uncover”.
The Bahamas as of 2017 had a population of 395,361. That’s the number used to determine our per capita statistics. I have always felt that per capita is a little spurious when it comes to small populations. Because at the end of the day the number is the number. That is the standardized method so we will stick with that.
Over the past week I got several calls that were concerned about one thing. “If I bring my daughter to the Bahamas or if I allow her to travel there how safe is she?" To answer that question we will take Miami, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and the Cruise ships and compare them with the Bahamas based on 2017 statistics.
• Miami: Population 463,347. Rapes reported 106. (No visitor numbers available)
• Ft. Lauderdale Population 180,072 Rapes reported 91. (No visitor numbers available)
• Orlando: Population 280, 256 Rapes reported 190. (No visitor numbers available)
• Cruise ships: passenger reported sexual assaults 59. Total reported sexual assaults 76. (The numbers were made up primarily of two shipping lines with one of those lines having the lion’s share of the incidents).
• Bahamas: 395,361. Rapes reported 49 (visitors 3)
What do these numbers indicate? Quite simply we are one of safest destinations as it relates to serious crimes, specifically sexual assault. Why do we not pronounce that to world? Instead, we allow ourselves to be defined by others’ negative and inaccurate narratives, and worse, we copy and paste those narratives in our media.
We are no different from most places. We have issues. Like those destinations in Florida, those issues do not generally extend to visitor populations. All we ask is to be judged by the same standards others are. Yes, like most comparable destinations, visitors are impacted by crime but most often in extremely low numbers. That does not make us an unsafe destination, just not perfect, but more perfect than most.
Check out this article on how dangerous is it to travel to the U.S. The writer's conclusion is as sound for the Bahamas as it is for the U.S. if not even more so for the Bahamas.