Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Caribbean Islands (
-   -   Crime in USVI (

Liz Oct 10th, 2001 05:17 PM

Crime in USVI
We went to Grand Cayman last year and felt really safe. We are looking into trying the VI this year, so I was looking at the USVI forum on and was amazed to see a lot in the archives about crime. If you use their search feature and put in "burglaries" "break-ins" or "crime" you get tons of messages back - that was a real surprise! Especially disconcerting was all the villa burglaries. Can anyone tell me how safe it really is there?

Mike Oct 10th, 2001 11:04 PM

After Grand Cayman, you would have to be a complete FOOL to even consider going there!!

ed Oct 11th, 2001 06:37 AM

We've been to the Grand Caymans and wouldn't trade it for the USVI in a New York minute. We have been vacationing in the USVI for the last 7 years and have never had a problem with crime. We don't even lock our villas nor our vehicles. Every so often, there is a theft like there is anywhere and it gets a lot of bad press. Truly, the USVI has it all over Grand Cayman IMHO. The beaches are better, the snorkeling better and it much less expensive than the Caymans. We always stay on St. John. Can't speak for St. Croix, and have spent time on STT, but prefer the incredible that St. John has to offer. <BR> <BR>Good luck with your decision.

ed Oct 11th, 2001 06:38 AM

Hi, Liz - <BR> <BR>Meant to say, Liz, wouldn't trade the USVI for Grand Cayman. Sorry about the slip. <BR> <BR>Ed

Karen Oct 11th, 2001 07:44 AM

Hard for me to compare to a place I've never been (the Cayman's) but there was a rash of bulguaries of villas in the Spring in one specific concentrated area on St. John with "break ins" when people weren't there or taking of valuables when they were left out. The police, the villa owners and the residents worked together and the "wave" seems to have stopped. However, it does behoove you where ever you travel to take some precautions and lock up valuables whether in the Cayman's or any island! Since you did not specify which island you were considering, I am assuming it is St. John you are looking at and are considering a villa there. Try and for some pretty nice ones but there are lots of sites. I would not walk around Charlotte Amalie at nite on St. Thomas - and nothing is open anyway! (but I do drive there and all over the island at nite) and on St. Croix there are areas that one might want to stay away from just like on St. Thomas but these are areas that touists would not be in to begin with. I have never, with too many trips to the islands to count, been impacted by any crime nor have any of my on island friends. Whether with someone else or even alone, it has been quite awhile since I felt even the least bit uncomfortable being in the USVI which last was after Marilyn when it was a bit dicey with all the rednecks hanging out from the construction jobs!

Karen Oct 11th, 2001 09:54 AM

Before my eFriend, Mike, jumps all over me ... LOL <BR>I meant to say the last time I felt uncomfortable in the USVI's was right after Marilyn ... that was NOT the last time I was there ... in fact, I should be there right now and wish I were but ... soon, hopefully!

Dave Oct 11th, 2001 08:30 PM

My opinion differs from Mike, I think both places are excellent. I prefer Cayman, but St. John is a pretty island that suits a lot of people. <BR> <BR>My opinion also differs from Ed about beaches and snorkeling. Although the beaches in St. John are wonderful, I think Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is in a class by itself. You can stay right on the beach in accomodations ranging from basic to palatial. And it is open to the public. To me the views on the island of St. John itself are prettier, but the flatness of Cayman means very little runoff into the sea, which is one reason it has world class diving snorkeling and incredibly pristine water. Cayman is a diving mecca. <BR> <BR>Safety and crime is not an issue on Cayman since it has a very high standard of living. Rashes of burglaries are not something that occur there. But that does not mean that St. John is unsafe. However the other USVIs have crime issues, like so many islands.

Mike Oct 11th, 2001 09:19 PM

Actually, Karen, I'm glad to see that you're okay and survived the terrible New York disaster! Besides, this board just would not be the same without your constant babbling -- on and On and ON!!!

Karen Oct 12th, 2001 04:23 AM

Thanks, Mike! Lots of things have changed but glad to hear that I am still the same. Some days I'm not so sure!

ooo Oct 12th, 2001 08:08 AM

Didn't the US Navy stop going to USVI for R & R because so many sailors were getting mugged?

anon Oct 12th, 2001 09:06 AM

Here's a thread about rape in STT: <BR> <BR>,_2001+3360 <BR>

Joel Oct 12th, 2001 02:26 PM

Let me put it this way. St. Thomas was my first vacation in the Caribbean. I loved it. I got engaged there. I later married my wife there. <BR>Then... <BR>we had a man break into our villa while we were in bed. We chased him out and, fortunately he had no gun. <BR>Then... <BR>on successive visits the people were increasingly rude to us. The Rastafarians in particular glare at you from their perches on just about every street corner. There's a resentment in these people. <BR>Then... <BR>two men from my home state were murdered there. <BR>Then... <BR>I decided we really didn't need to go back. I really didn't need to make excuses for the poor people there. If they burglarized me again and things didn't come out so well, my poor dead body would be unable to differentiate about the downtrodden vs. the merely criminal. <BR>Also, on my last trip we took a day cruise over to the BVI. Very close by but a world apart. In the BVI I routinely pick up hitchhikers. No problems. There was a murder there a couple of years ago... an American killed another American. No problems, mon! Great people. So why would I go back to St. Thomas??????

Karen Oct 12th, 2001 04:21 PM

Joel, I am certainly not minimizing your situation on STT but might be a good idea to say how many years ago those murders happened on BlueBeard's Beach and why the men were there! Also the Navy stops routinely now. Not to seem defensive because I too love the BVI, but there was a murder on Brewer's Bay just this year! But, all that aside ... STT can and does offer a great experience for travelers. The whole island and its people should not be painted with such a broad brush. No one denies there is "crime" but there are thousands of travelers every year that have wonderful stays in the USVI. It's certainly NOT my favorite island but even tiny Anguilla had its problems this year! I have never been bothered by the Rastas and never even noticed 'em other than some that I have sat and talked to and really found them very interesting to talk to. I don't make excuses for some of the "gangs" in the Estates and the problems nor for those who raped the young girls (all residents except one who chose to sunbathe nude on a deserted beach that is not frequented or known by the tourists). I just know that I enjoy the island and am not uncomfortable with it nor are many of my friends who live and work there.

Joel Oct 12th, 2001 05:48 PM

Karen, though I respect your point of view, the list you just gave made my case, as far as I'm concerned. You're just a LOT more tolerant than me. As long as there are places with MUCH less crime, that's where you'll find me.

Schultz Oct 13th, 2001 06:59 AM

Hi Liz, <BR> <BR>First let me answer your original question. Crime issues in the USVI tend to (IMO) become much larger than life because most americans head to the USVI thinking of it as 'Paradise'. Accordingly, in their minds it should be free of anything negative that one would normally encounter 'back home' such as crime, poverty, abandoned cars along the roadside and the like. <BR> <BR>The USVI is also home to those who live and work there. As such it has the same type of issues as any of our own hometowns, including the negatives. Having said that, let me tell you that I have been visiting and staying in the USVI for more than fifteen years now and I have never personally encountered crime in any way. My friends who live on island have the same type of problems that we have here in the states. My own hometown this year one the 'best suburb' award here in Ohio and yet we have a police department and have issues with crime. But it is just a small part of what is going on here and if you use common sense, you will usually have no problems. <BR> <BR>For a tourist who uses common sense, the USVI will be just as safe, or more safe depending upon where you are from, as being at home. <BR> <BR>For the second part of my response let me remind you that when dealing in the caribbean basin region most governments are not like the US as far as 'freedom of information'. Most of the caribbean nations (not all) rely to a large extent on tourism to support the local economy. Because of this, negative stories about local crime that might discourage tourists from going to that island tend not to be made public. <BR> <BR>Remember, just because you don't read a lot about crime in a certain location, doesn't mean that crime does not occur there, including the often espoused 'crime free' BVI's or Caymans. Both places have police forces and those are not funded because they serve no purpose. There is more drug money running through the Caymans than any other place in the world of similar size. If you want to talk about crime, that issue should be addressed......but it doesn't directly affect the average visitor to the island so the discussion really doesn't belong here. <BR> <BR>Sorry my posting is so long, but it bothers me greatly when I read messages that make the USVI sound like 'crime central'. It isn't. In fifteen years I have always felt safer walking around St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix than I ever did in walking through downtown, Washington, Houston, Atlanta or Cleveland. <BR> <BR>Schultz

juli Oct 15th, 2001 06:19 AM

Liz: <BR>When I was considering vacation spots I looked at it this way. I spend a great deal of money to live in a safe neighborhood. I am also willing to pay extra money to be safe. If there is the slightest risk that any harm will come to me or my family, how can that be worth a beautiful sunset? <BR>I decided on Cayman and was so glad I did. I had never felt like I needed to be afraid to leave the hotel and felt more then comfortable leaving my bag on the beach while I was in the water. <BR>I am pretty sure that having a man come into my villa at night would scare me so much I would want to end my vacation immediatly, so why risk your life and a ruined vacation? Just my opinion

Alan Oct 15th, 2001 11:22 PM

Agree with you 100% Juli!! Besides, St. Thomas certainly is NOT a very attractive place to vacation anyhow! Herr Schultz is living in a dream world!!

hmrollins Oct 16th, 2001 07:02 PM

Anyone know of a good source on the web for caribbean crime statistics? It would be interesting to see how they stack up against each other.

Alan Oct 17th, 2001 04:42 AM

Guess that might be interesting to read IF some islands did not make a huge effort to hide and coverup tourist-related crimes and reported it.

Scott Oct 17th, 2001 06:08 AM

What most people fail to realize, it the fact that crime is msot likely higher in their hometown than it is in a lot of the resort areas in the caribbean. The bottom line is to use common sense...period. If you are too afraid to go to the USVI because of a few publicized crime reports, then stay home, and leave it for the rest of us to enjoy. Problem solved!! Relax people, crime is with it!!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:54 AM.