COMMENTARY: Violence is far more prevalent in some Caribbean nations than others, although even in the most troubled countries, violent crime rarely touches tourists. On the other hand, experts note, visitors are often more likely than locals to be victims of property crimes, and often are specifically targeted in locations known to be frequented by tourists.
Crime can happen anywhere, and there are no guarantees. However, experience and statistics indicate that the following links for selected nations,( with no ad resource info) are among the most secure in the Caribbean region:
Property crime has been increasing in the Caribbean in recent years, and experts say that the increase has been most pronounced in highly developed tourist destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
The U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council's report, Barbados and Eastern Caribbean 2008 Crime & Safety Report (covering Antigua And Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Martinique, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Martin, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines), warns:
"Generally, criminal individuals or groups are free to roam day or night with few restrictions; burglars and thieves target residential and lower-end hotel and resort areas for opportunistic crimes. Burglars and thieves typically rely on stealth to meet their objectives, but since 2002, reports reflect an increasing use of knives and handguns in the commission of crimes. Further, high-traffic business areas commonly frequented by tourists are targeted for opportunistic street crimes like purse snatching and pick-pocketing. Perpetrators committing street crimes in the public eye can become confrontational, but mostly they avoid gratuitous violence, which draws attention to them."
Moreover, "Generally, numbers of uniformed police are inadequate to have a substantial influence on crime deterrence and uniformed police response to alarms or emergency calls is often too slow (15 minutes or longer) to disrupt crimes in progress."
These facts are worth bearing in mind as you plan your Caribbean trip -- not to discourage you from traveling, but so that you take the standard security precautions seriously when traveling to a destination known to have a significant crime problem.
ParadiseNo.com Reports Violent Murder Statistics
- Trinidad and Tobago: 30.38 murders per 100,000
- Mexico: 25 murders per 100,000
- Dominican Republic: 25.56 murders per 100,000
- Puerto Rico: 18.8 per 100,000
- Ecuador: 18.33 per 100,000
- Haiti: 11.5 per 100,000
- Panama: 11.3 per 100,000
- Suriname: 10.30 per 100,000
- Costa Rica: 7.68 per 100,000
- Barbados: 7.49 per 100,000
U.S. State Department Crime Warnings for Caribbean Destinations
* Now let us together go and we will take a look at the ISLANDS:
- small, lesser-known destination for families
- eastern Carib'n, just east of the USVI
- don't expect mega-resorts
- beautiful beaches; good snorkeling, scuba
- British influence (incl. left-hand drive)
- good rating for friendliness and safety*
- see Family Fun
- small island, near Anguilla
- 365 beaches; snorkeling; scuba
- day trips to undeveloped sister island Barbuda
- British influence
- historic districts. Nelson's Dockyard National Park, fully restored, is the only Georgian dockyard in the world
- is a prominent family-friendly all inclusive resort
Experience the Caribbean's most exciting waterparks at Beaches Resorts!
- in the Dutch Carib'n, below the hurricane zone
- Oranjestad town has historic sections
- 43 nationalities
- local lingo Papiamento is fun to try
- don't expect lush terrain
- name-brand resorts
- A+ for friendliness, safety*
- see - resorts, outings and attractions, flights and airports
Enjoy the best of the Bahamas at Sandals Resorts!
- just a hop from Florida (and technically not Caribbean islands)
- 700 islands!
- British influence; historic forts
- busy areas, quiet areas
- avoid during Spring Break
- many resorts, including the unique with "waterscape" that includes a shark lagoons, large kids pool area, lazy river, and amazing waterslides
- Grand Bahama, with Westin and Sheraton resorts, is popular with families and has a pool with slides and waterfalls
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- most eastern Caribbean Island
- British influence; direct flights from UK
- much-developed, except for rugged Atlantic coasts
- resorts include ritzy Sandy Lane, all-inclusive Almond Beach
- "A" for safety, friendly atmosphere*
- known for pink sand beaches
- 180 small islands; seven are connected
- location is north, 600 miles off N. Carolina; technically not Caribbean
- low season is Nov.- April, unlike Caribbean Islands
- safe, upscale, flowery destination
- British influence
- sightseeing includes forts, caves
- Barrier Reef nearby, for scuba and snorkeling
- resorts, inns, B&B's, cottages
- A for safety and friendly atmosphere*
- one of the Dutch Caribbean Islands
- don't expect lush terrain, or big name-brand resorts
- known for diving
- the ocean is the big attraction, and Bonaire's fringe reef is a protected national park (Bonaire Marine Park)
- Buddy Dive Resort welcomes families
- Dutch, English, Spanish, and Papiamento (creole language) are spoken; kids will enjoy learning a few words of Papiamento
- see - where to stay, attractions and fun outings.
British Virgin Islands
- eastern Caribbean Islands
- best-known are Tortola and Virgin Gorda (with unique park, The Baths)
- much less developed than USVI
- take boat trips to empty beaches, coral reefs
- Bitter End Yacht Club & Resort likes kids and has boats for guest use
- A for safety, friendliness*
Cayman Islands: Attractions and Overseas Connections:
- western Caribbean Islands, about an hour from Miami
- Grand Cayman --a financial center--offers luxury; Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are small and secluded
- ringed by coral, good for scuba and snorkeling. Great beaches too.
- attractions on Grand Cayman include "Stingray City" and Atlantis submarine tours
- annual events include a Pirates Week on Grand Cayman, and a Family Week on Cayman Brac.
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- in the Dutch Caribbean, near Venezuela, and below the hurricane zone
- don't expect lush terrain
- fascinating town, Willemstad, is a World Heritage site
- 70 nationalities on this Caribbean Island
- local language Papiamento is fun to try
- all-inclusive trips with kid programs
- good snorkeling, diving activities,Yoga(s)
- A+ for safety, friendly atmosphere
- see more about - resorts, attractions, fun outings on this website!
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Dominican Republic ALERT
WARNING NO SUGGESTIONS. >>>HIGH ALERT FOR HERE AND VIEQUES AND ENTIRE PUERTO RICO AS OFF LIMITS TO AMERICAN AND Travelers abroad, as well for your safety and your loved ones.
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- Check the travel warnings before you go. The U.S. State Department publishes three types of information useful to travelers: Consular Information Sheets, which provide a broad overview on foreign countries, including crime and safety facts; Public Announcements, which include generalized cautions about ongoing security issues; and Travel Warnings, which are the most serious and serve as a red flag about imminent dangers.
- Also, Googling "crime" and the name of your destination can yield useful tidbits on crime and safety that you won't always get from tourism-oriented websites. Sites like Fodors.com or Frommers.com offer insights from fellow travelers on a wide variety of travel topics; some entries can be taken with a grain of salt, but others detail first-hand experiences with petty theft and other crime that can help you avoid trouble. I'd avoid TripAdvisor as they are loaded with AD Content to lure you in to buy and remove most negative reviews. Crazy but true management tactics there.
- Ask your concierge. Never set out on an independent tour of a strange country without consulting a local expert first. Some locals may take a "no problem" attitude, but you usually can get a straight story on island safety conditions from your hotel concierge. On almost any Caribbean island there are good areas and bad ones -- just like back home -- and trusted locals can tell you which places to avoid.
- Hire a good local guide. A reputable guide not only can steer you clear of troubled neighborhoods, but also can act as a buffer when encountering panhandlers, pushy street vendors, potential con artists, and other sketchy characters during your travels.
- Never leave valuables in your car. Car break-ins are among the most common crimes in the Caribbean. If you must leave items like cameras or other valuables behind, lock them in the trunk or put them out of sight, such as in the glovebox. In some Caribbean countries, rental cars are easily identified by their license plates, making them convenient targets, so an abundance of caution is warranted.
- Lock those sliding doors. Keyless electronic door locks may make the front door of your hotel room less accessible, but many travelers forget to lock up the sliding doors leading out to balconies or lanais. To keep your room safe from intruders or thieves, make sure that all the doors are locked before you leave or go to bed at night.
- Use the in-room safe. Most hotels have an in-room safe that can be used to store valuables when you're out on the beach or touring. It only takes a second to program the lock, and using the safe to store your jewelry, passports, etc. could save you lots of money and hassles.
- Never take valuables to the beach. You don't want to leave purses, wallets, or jewelry unattended while you go for a swim. Just take whatever cash you need or a single credit card; leave the rest in the room safe.
- Yacht thefts have become a problem in some Caribbean destinations. If you arrive by boat, choose a marina with adequate security and be sure to lock up your cabins before heading out to explore.
- Be careful at "jump-ups" or street parties, dance clubs, big party bars, or anywhere else where alcohol, tourists, and locals mix. Suffice to say that your safety risks in such settings rise in proportion to your alcohol consumption. Risks include everything from pickpockets to sexual violence and physical assault. Mixing with the locals is a great part of the island experience, but don't go alone, drink in moderation, and don't get too caught up in the party.
- Don't buy drugs. Not only is it illegal -- even in Jamaica -- the last people you want to be associating with in the Caribbean are drug dealers. The vast majority of crime and murder in the Caribbean is associated with the drug trade. Tourists aren't usually targeted, but you would hate to be the exception to the rule.
- Don't wander the beach -- or anywhere else -- alone at night. Research your destination before you book it.