Crime in the Caribbean

Aug 18th, 2007, 12:26 PM
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Crime in the Caribbean

Word to the unwary. By any measure crime in the caribbean is on the rise. I frequently visit Anguilla and that place has developed a serious problem. Given the small population to have at least five violent crimes so far this year (including three murders and the sexual assault of American tourist)is noteworthy. In speaking with other visitors and residents as well as other travellers to the region it appears that the problems are not isolated to Anguilla. I know, I know it's no worse and probably better than big US cities (although statistically I suspect Anguilla is worse than most at least in 2007). But at home you expect to be wary and information can help you stay safe.
The problem in the Caribbean is that there is an absolute conspiracy of silence about crime as a result of the dependency of the region upon US visitors. To their credit, the US State Department is starting to shine more unwelcome light on safety issues and their consular information sheets have started to provide more information. But the guidebooks and travel magazines are all worthless containing nothing more than generic safety platitudes. Locals are very tight lipped for the same reasons although when the Government of Anguilla holds a "Day of atonement" for violence on the island (August 16, 2007) it would seem that we may have reached the point where there will be some transparency and public discussion about the problem.
I would encourage those planning a trip to the islands to visit the US State Department's web site, review their consular information bulletins and place a call to the local consulate--most of them have very helpful people who will provide details unobtainable elsewhere (such as which hotels and resorts have had recent problems with break-ins etc). Sorry if this is seems overly alarmist but things have deteriorated on this island and others in the region and I think it's worth knowing about.
AlwaysFlyingSmwhr is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Quick, everyone grab their steel umbrellas, as it appears that the sky is actually falling!!!!!!! I'm going home right now to lock my doors......
ScottB is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 04:11 AM
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I don't know about Anguilla, but Bonaire is an island that is having some serious problems with burgulars breaking in while everyone is asleep. We are going this fall, and I am concerned.

"Bonaire Talk" has posters that go to Bonaire year after year. Sometimes twice a year. The moderators allow posts about crime only after a copy of the police report has been sent to them. After I returned from St. John this week, I caught up on the latest posts. I did not like what I read. One crime was at the place where we stayed last year (they have a night security guard). Today I am going to e-mail the rental compay I used this year to ask about their security. Everyone that rents a vehicle on Bonaire is told to leave the windows down and not lock the doors to prevent broken windows. We never left anythink of value in our vehicle last year. One of the latest incidents was during the day where they took the safe out of the wall. We will be careful, but it is not so much fun to go to an island and be constantly worried. owa
Aug 19th, 2007, 10:25 PM
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I don't think it's alarmist to discuss criminal activities because the health of tourism is the most powerful incentive for local governments to act. After a horrible, senseless murder on STJ this summer, it is important to remind the island communities and governments that their reaction and action regarding crime has a direct impact on tourism. It's important to talk/write about crime. Tourists should be able to form knowledgable decisions, and be aware of the nature of the environment. I love STJ probably as much as anyone, but I don't think it's wise or honest to encourage ignorant bliss.
Tuxedocat is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 11:34 PM
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When we were in Anguilla 5 years ago this was a very serious topic of conversation locally. Every time we dined at a small restaurant and "chatted up" those who lived on the island it came up. I don't think that's alarmist but realistic. These are small islands and teenagers have little to do. It's a very big problem. There are gangs in Anguilla and no doubt on other Caribbean islands and violence follows.
welch is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 04:10 AM
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It's fine and it is understandable to discuss crime.
It is an issue for the Caribbean.
and it is natural visitors would be concerned.
BUT..and this is a big BUT.
whenever something awful in terms of crime does happen, it gets blown all out of proportion and is repeated thousands of times on the internet with great exaggeration.
I live on St. Maarten and I know.
Some people are afraid to come to St. Marten because of the reports about crime. While petty crime against tourists is a problem ( stealing things form cars,etc), violent crime is not.
In Anguilla the rise in crime rate is scary to us all, especially to those of us who live in the islands. But the events on Anguilla were directed against themselves not tourists.. The original post makes it sound like there were 3 murders of American tourists and that is not the case.

Barbara1 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Sorry Barbara, but it is not accurate to say that none of the violent crimes in Anguilla this year were directed against tourists. An American tourist was sexually assaulted on the island this year. I did not imply or suggest that the murder victims were Americans (but it doesn't make me feel any better particularly learning that the most recent victim was a young mother sitting in front of a restaurant with her husband in the car when she was killed).
If you look at the problem statistically--reported violent crime in proportion to population--and you look at the trends over the past five years I do not think it is accurate to state that the problem on Anguilla is "blown out of proportion."
AlwaysFlyingSmwhr is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Crime is everywhere, I live right out of Chicago and it is just as bad here in the US.We travel every year out of the country and you just have to be aware and have alittle common sence....just like at home. This will not stop us from traveling.
Kimberly is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Come to St Barts, a tourist has never even been hassled, let alone attacked.
waring is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 07:11 PM
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I have to say, St. Barths can't be beat!
welch is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Hooray for St Barts!

"Pourquoi aller se faire chier ailleurs?"
waring is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Wow, some massive generalisation going on here.

The Caribbean is a big place indeed, so to blanket the whole Caribbean with judgemental posts like this is unfair to at least some Caribbean countries where crime is in fact much lower than in most if not all developed countries.

I'm Caymanian and our country has very low crime... I certainly feel less safe in the US, UK etc than I do when I step back on Cayman soil.

No, this isn't hype either, I'm a straight up guy and don't varnish the truth or hide the facts.
TomCayman is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Sorry allwysflyingsmwhr but your original post does say that three Americans were murdered and one sexually assaulted. Parse your sentence. You may truly be worried about your wellbeing if you travel to the Caribbean but you are also generalizing about a large number of islands, cultures and governments. Crime is a problem everywhere. Of course the worst crime on Grand Cayman when we lived there was a stolen bicycle. The worst crime on Nevis has been local on local and Ganja related. Because the crime rate is up in Los Angeles you donít cancel a vacation in San Francisco. No matter where you go it is wise to take minimal precautions. It is good of you to apologize in your missive for sounding alarmist, because you do.
Nevisian is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Nevisian: Sorry but AlwaysFlyingSmwhr said that there were 3 murders and one sexual assault of an American. The poster did not say 3 murders of Americans. As a regular visitor to AXA, I believe those facts to be accurate.
NM is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2007, 09:49 AM
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I think he/she just does not like the islands and posted this because of it. Anyone that travels often to the islands is aware that they, like anywhere in the world, have a crime problem and yes it is increasing on some of them. Again, one just has to be aware of their surroundings and use common sense. If we all canceled our trips based on fear of crime we would never leave the house.
Reisender is offline  
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