Crime on St. Thomas

Old Jul 5th, 2000, 12:20 PM
  #1  
Lenie
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Crime on St. Thomas

My husband and I are planning a trip to St. Thomas for the first time in a few weeks. We are very concerned over the many posts in this forum about crime. We've been to many islands and have always felt safe. Granted many of them are safe islands, such as Aruba, Barbados and Antigua. But we have also been to St. Marrten a number of times and never had a problem. What should we look out for other than the obvious wandering around dark streets at night. We love to drive around and explore different beaches and to find a secluded one for ourselves. Are we better off not doing that? How is driving at night, from our hotel to a restaurant or bar. We are staying at Secret Harbor and hear it is close to Red Hook. Is that safe? Can we drive from the hotel to other areas at night and not have to worry. We don't want to spend our vacation being scared, but we want to be careful. If anyone has any advice we would really appreciate it. We'll let you know how it went when we get back. Thanks in advance.
 
Old Jul 5th, 2000, 04:47 PM
  #2  
Karen
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Generally speaking you are less likely to encounter problems out on East End where you are staying. Red Hook is about 5 minutes away and there is lighted parking in American Yacht Harbour but if you have your ticket stamped by one of the restaurants, there is no charge. We have no problems driving to other restaurants and have not had problems but we do avoid Town (Charlotte Amalie) at nite and there is no reason to be there! And I would choose to avoid the lonely deserted beaches altho they are sooo tempting! I don't feel "unsafe" but I do stay aware and alert. Much of the "crime" is drug-related and there has been a major crackdown (no pun intended) plus the Police are threatening to over-publicize the island crime if their salary negotiations do not take a higher priority! Have a great time and enjoy!
 
Old Jul 6th, 2000, 05:10 PM
  #3  
Lily
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You are right to be concerned. Crime is escalating daily in STT. We have a family member working there whose good friend was beaten and robbed a day ago and may not live. About a month ago,at noontime there was a shooting on main street in front of many tourists where the Attorney General's son was murdered. Crime used to be confined to certain areas, but no more. Another jewelery store was robbed the other day too. There is hope by some that the Feds will come in and help out. We plan on visiting this winter, and are well traveled, but we're very concerned, especially about family living there now. 2 of his female friends left the island today because of their uneasiness with the situation.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2000, 01:39 PM
  #4  
Heather
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We are going to stay at Secret Harbour in St. Thomas for our honeymoon at the end of November. How is the resort? I don't think it is very commercialized because I can't find too much information about it, except for these forums. I just thought it would not be as busy as the Marriott and would let us get away from the crowds in "town" (from what I have heard). <BR> How did you feel about the beach? What is there to do at night - i.e., do you pretty much have to stay at the resort? Any information about your trip would be appreciated.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2000, 02:37 AM
  #5  
Karen
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Heather, Secret Harbour's beach is one of the nicest on STT with good snorkling. You have made a good choice for a laid-back quiet spot without the hussle and bussle. Email me and I will send you a copy of a trip report from someone who just returned as well as any other info you may want!
 
Old Aug 15th, 2000, 03:08 AM
  #6  
claire
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Heather -- there's a lengthy string about Secret Harbour on wheretostay.com VI forum. <BR>
 
Old Aug 15th, 2000, 11:42 AM
  #7  
Eric
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Stayed at Sapphire Beach Resort this past Thanksgiving '99 with in-laws & our 2 young children & never felt unsafe. I think Redhook area is pretty nice. <BR>Sapphire Beach Resort had a great beach & OK service, but the condition of accommodations is up for debate.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2000, 06:20 PM
  #8  
Karen
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Sapphire has undergone a major renovation since you stayed there ... in fact they completed the guest rooms and are now working on a new community center. I hear very nice things about the redo but have not seen it! But it does have one of the prettiest beaches on STT. However, the SeaGrape restaurant at Sapphire continues to remain unchanged and is pretty bad! There is a "very long trip report" just posted by someone who just returned from Secret Harbour at www.wheretostay.com/cgi-bin/bbs_vi.cgi
 
Old Aug 16th, 2000, 09:06 AM
  #9  
Pat
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Just use common sense -
 
Old Aug 16th, 2000, 12:33 PM
  #10  
Noach
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THose who are concerned about crime on St. Thomas might want to consider St. John, which is supposed to be much safer or the British Virgin Islands, which are considered one of the safest places in the Caribbean.
 
Old Aug 16th, 2000, 02:30 PM
  #11  
Anxious
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I can't trust St Thomas, not from what I've read. Aruba doesn't look any safer nor does St Martin. Is there anyplace left to go?
 
Old Aug 16th, 2000, 03:51 PM
  #12  
Karen
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Too bad you don't "trust" St. Thomas. It can provide a wonderful experience and you do yourself a disservice! I think another way of looking at it is to go enjoy, be alert and aware and you will arrive home safely! I know I always have and even recently have felt more comfortable than in years past!
 
Old Aug 17th, 2000, 02:54 AM
  #13  
Aruba Dave
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Perhaps the large number of vagrants and bums who appear to come from the mainland and are of all ages, hanging around in the central area of Charlotte Amile and in the parks and outside stores contribute to the crime rate in STT. They did not bother us, but certainly give the appearance that they could be a probleml. If not crime wise, they sure lower the appearance of a vibrant Caribbean port. When on vacation, no one wants to look at these creeps, it's one thing to have do deal with them at home, but not in paradise.
 
Old Aug 17th, 2000, 04:24 AM
  #14  
Karen
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I had decided not to reply to the "crime" threads as suggested but Dave's post deserves a comment. I haven't observed "vagrants and bums" and "creeps" (whatever that is!) hanging about in the parks (Emanicaption Park is where the taxi drivers gather waiting for fares) and especially not in the shopping area of CA. In fact, the island is free of the panhandlers and nuisances who you might see on other islands and stateside. Of course, I have to be patient explaining that I don't want a taxi back to the ship - gonna have a t-shirt made with a big "NO, thank you" on it but we laugh and go on! If you check, the "crime" is not tourist-directed, generally, but islander-on-islander and concentrated in non-tourist areas and often drug-related. Now I don't get all bent out of shape that some distort and misrepresent an island - for each person who choses not to go there, it makes more room on the great beaches for me! But rumor and innuendo does harm any island and the good people who live and try to earn a living there! The rather informal "straw market" shopping area by Emanicaption Park that does provide an alternate to the shoppes and the main shopping area and CA is only one very small part of the "St. Thomas experience" which is and can be and is a very good one. Unfortunately STT has lost some of its "elitist snob" appeal and it is a popular target for those who see themselves as much better than those who choose St. Thomas as a destination and rely on "old" history (the problems post Hugo and Marilyn which were very hard times!) and rumor to substantiate the "crime" and problems! We each have our favorites, and each and every island does have its share of socio-economic ills - and altho I enjoy STT frequently, it is not my "favorite" but I wouldn't to choose to bash any island or destination nor distort facts just because I don't like it for whatever reason - just passing thru or a short stay does not give a real understanding of what any island is all about - whether STT, SXM, Aruba or anywhere! I find my experience is much more pleasant if I don't concentrate on "what's wrong" but what I can do to enhance my experience in any vacation destination! Where ever there are large numbers of people, there is going to be a few "bad apples." But it should be put in perspective and there are bushels and bushels of good apples on St. Thomas and I am sure SXM as well!
 
Old Aug 17th, 2000, 05:40 AM
  #15  
Noachr
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'Anxious', <BR> <BR>Did you read my post? <BR> <BR>The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, the Caymans and St. Barths are probably considered the safest. <BR> <BR>Saba may very well be THE safest but it has no beaches. (but great diving!)
 
Old Aug 18th, 2000, 05:45 AM
  #16  
a
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a
 
Old Aug 19th, 2000, 06:43 AM
  #17  
Frank
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I was in St. Thomas about ten years ago. I would not be afraid to return but based upon my experiences their it would not rank high on my list of places to go. <BR> <BR>We stayed at a hotel which did not have a great beach. We discovered that St. Thomas does not have many good beaches. Maegen's Bay is the exception but the ride there made the South Bronx look like paradise. As a result we took the ferry to St. John's most days. One day we saw a man with a machete get on the boat as it was docking at Red Hook. The next thing we saw was people diving overboard. He had hacked someone on the lower deck. I never felt safe again even on St. John's because we saw people walking around with machetes there too. <BR> <BR>I also had a chance to talk to a Navy officer when I was there. He told me that frequently when they leave port in St. Thomas they leave a few behind never to be heard from again. This does not surprise me. <BR> <BR>Since then I have traveled extensively in the Caribbean. I have always been cautious and never really felt at danger. I am not embarrassed to say that I have been to Jamaica several time to GL Braco and GL Negril and never left the resort. It was great. If I want culture I'll go to Europe. I go to the Caribbean to relax. I have been to St. Martin several times and was amazed at well the people of different races and cultures get along (unlike St. Thomas which seems to have alot of people from the Texas living there). I would never leave anything of value in my car at St. Martin or anywhere else in the Caribbean (or any big city in the US either) but I never felt threatened.
 
Old Aug 19th, 2000, 12:21 PM
  #18  
anon
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You visited St. Thomas and St. John ten years ago and base your assessment on incidents from then - ? And there are lovely beaches but not as wonderful as some of those on St. John.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2000, 08:28 AM
  #19  
Frank
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Someone please tell me it's gotten significantly better and I'll recant.
 
Old Aug 20th, 2000, 11:24 AM
  #20  
Karen
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Well, Frank, frankly &lt;chuckle&gt; I never had a problem on STT nor know anyone who has! But, I have seen the "atmosphere" wax and wane over the years with the down times right after Hugo and then again after Luis/Marilyn. I have felt a major improvement in many things over the years - one of them not being the numbers of people who are visiting getting larger and larger each year! Not saying STT doesn't have its share of "problems" as there is a major cosmopolitian area on the island with economic and social ills that plague many parts of the US - which does not affect the "visitors" - but we find it a wonderful spot, easy to get to, islanders warm and friendly, easy access to St. John and the BVI's and some lovely beaches at a moderate cost!
 

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