The United States issues a travel warning to the Bahamas after 18 murders at the beginning of the new year

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the United States Department of State A. has issued Level 2 travel advice For travelers who are planning to go to the Bahamas.

The warning, posted on Friday, warns travelers to “exercise extra caution” due to crime, specifically on the islands of New Providence, which includes Nassau, and Grand Bahama, which includes Freeport.

a Security alarm Last Wednesday, the US Embassy in the Bahamas also advised US citizens “to be aware that 18 homicides have occurred in Nassau since the beginning of 2024.” The alert warns of murders occurring at all times, including in broad daylight on the streets.

“Retaliatory gang violence was the primary driver of homicides in 2024,” the warning said.

According to the State Department warning, travelers should exercise “heightened vigilance” in the Over the Hill area south of Shirley Street, where gang violence has led to a “high homicide rate primarily affecting local residents.” “

“Violent crimes, such as robberies, armed robberies and sexual assaults, occur in both tourist and non-tourist areas,” the State Department says in the warning. “Be vigilant when staying in short-term vacation rental properties where private security companies are not present.”

The advisory also cautions against activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours. The advisory says these activities are not consistently regulated, watercraft “may be poorly maintained” and some operators may not have safety certifications.

“Commercial vessel operators have discretion to operate their vessels regardless of the weather forecast; injuries and deaths have occurred,” the warning read. “Due to these safety ceremonies, U.S. government employees are not permitted to use independently operated jet ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.”

Additionally, the warning warns travelers to be mindful of sharks when swimming, “as there have been recent fatal and non-fatal incidents involving sharks.”

Shark attack in the Bahamas: A 10-year-old boy from Maryland was bitten by a shark while on vacation in the Bahamas, police said.

Advice and advice if you are traveling to the Bahamas

According to the Department of State, here are some tips if you are traveling to the Bahamas:

Any US citizen who needs assistance while in the Bahamas can contact the US Embassy in Nassau. The Embassy can be reached by phone at 242-322-1181 or by email at ACSnassau@state.gov. You can find the embassy website here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Travel warning to the Bahamas due to a significant increase in murders

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