Safety is often a top priority when visiting or moving to an international destination like The Bahamas.
After spending hours looking at images of the white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, you’ve decided you want to take a trip to the islands. Whether you’re looking to settle down in new luxury real estate or enjoy a vacation, you may wonder, “What is the crime rate in the Bahamas?”
You’ll be glad to hear that international visitors, especially those traveling to the more remote islands, can expect a low crime rate in The Bahamas. These beautiful islands (over 700 of them!) are a safe environment for all to relax and explore in.
Keep reading to learn about crime statistics in this country and how they could impact you as a resident or visitor.
What is the Crime Rate in The Bahamas?
The Bahamas is a safe country for international travelers and residents. Just take a look at these comforting statistics.
In 2021, the Royal Bahamas Police Force reported 4,081 cases of major crime and a similar number in 2020. With a population of around 393,000 and close to 2 million yearly visitors, this means that the Bahamas has a low-to-moderate crime rate.
On Numbeo, a safety and cost of living database, The Bahamas has an overall crime index rating of 61.42. To put that in perspective, San Francisco’s score is 61.17 and Jamaica rings in at 68.08.
Across the roughly 700 islands that compose the Bahamas, most crime occurs around the busy city of Nassau on New Providence Island. The nation’s capital is home to over 70% of Bahamians and is the hub for many cruises carrying visitors from many countries. It is a must-visit destination bustling with shops, restaurants, festivals, and colorful architecture.
In recent years, some communities in Nassau have seen higher violent crime rates, including domestic disputes and homicide. These are primarily associated with communities of locals struggling with gang-on-gang conflicts and corruption.
One of the best ways for international visitors and residents to avoid crime is by exploring beyond Nassau. These regions are safer, and the exquisite natural landscapes offer something for everyone, from walking trails to lazing on the beach to watersports.
So, head towards the Family Islands after you’ve had your cultural fill in the city. This region is home to picturesque beaches, friendly locals, and stunning luxury communities. Reports published by law enforcement emphasized a 13% decrease in crime on the Family Islands in 2021.
Luckily, the days of pirates sailing the Caribbean are long gone. While visiting this unique island nation, travelers need not worry about armed groups or violent crime. And The Bahamas ranks low in terms of corruption. Statistics and data are also regularly published by law enforcement.
Looking to invest in luxury real estate? Your home will stay safe. Police reported that burglary, house break-ins, and vehicle break-ins all decreased significantly in 2021.
The Bahamas Crime Rate by City
The crime rate in The Bahamas varies depending on the region. Numbeo tracks the local perception of safety over the last three years. Though statistics for remote communities are limited, there is data for Nassau and Freeport.
Nassau (New Providence Island)
Crime rates in Nassau are the highest in the Bahamas. According to the police report, the most commonly reported crimes are theft, including armed robbery, stealing, and stealing from vehicles.
Despite this, Nassau is still perfectly safe to enjoy when taking the same precautions you usually practice in most cities worldwide.
Several sources, including the U.S. State Department, suggest staying away from the Over-the-Hill community in Nassau, where much of The Bahamas’ crime occurs. Visitors should avoid walking there alone, especially at night.
Numbeo Crime Index for Nassau: 63.71
Freeport & Lucaya (Grand Bahama Island)
Further to the north on Grand Bahama, neighboring Freeport and Lucaya offer a step back from big city life without compromising on traveler conveniences. Due to its location on major shipping routes, the area has developed as an international business hub with fine dining and luxury hotels and homes. It is home to almost 20% of the national population.
Visitors and residents can take a break from the busy waterfront to explore the nature preserve in Lucayan National Park. Or they can take some time to learn about the islands’ original inhabitants, the Lucayan people. The park is also home to a network of underwater caves, sure to make an impression on any diver.
Reports of crimes committed in Freeport are much lower than in Nassau, and visitors are sure to enjoy this relaxed, safe island environment.
Numbeo Crime Index in Freeport: 23.53
Crime statistics are not as readily available for the rest of The Bahamas. But for those looking to learn more, annually-published police reports provide detailed information on reported crimes by each district.
They reveal extremely low crime in districts with lower populations. Numbers hover around 10% of the reported crime in Nassau.
For those looking for something a bit more removed, luxury lifestyle communities in towns including Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay, and Sandyport offer a safe and laid-back option.
Safest Places to Live in The Bahamas
You can live safely in any area of The Bahamas, but some of the safest spots include:
- Albany, New Providence
- Eleuthera Islands
Read our full review of the safest and best places to live in The Bahamas.
Safety Tips for The Bahamas
There are some standard precautions that residents and international travelers should take wherever they go, as well as The Bahamas:
- Avoid scams by booking travel and accommodation with reputable sources
- Travel in groups if possible
- Avoid going out alone at night
- Keep track of valuable possessions
If you do find yourself out in the evenings or traveling around New Providence Island, be sure to travel via licensed taxis. Many offer tours and daily transport to the beach, historical destinations, and restaurants.
Some travel guides recommend caution against credit card and ATM fraud. Especially in Nassau, only use well-lit ATMs inside banks, businesses, or public areas. And always protect your PIN by covering the keypad with your hand, like you would at any ATM.
The US State Department also recommends caution when staying at short-term rentals without a private security presence. The experts at MCR Bahamas can help you find luxury rental accommodations that will meet your safety needs.
For travelers wanting to leave the city behind, the more remote islands of The Bahamas offer quieter lifestyles among exquisite sub-tropical nature. These regions are more removed from the interpersonal violence present in some city communities.
Just remember, unregulated tours and equipment can be unsafe. When exploring The Bahamas, book with the reputable tour, dive, and jet ski operators that tourism bureaus recommend.
As with anywhere, there are other dangers beyond crime. Communities preparing for storms can result in shortages of essential goods and resources. The Bahamas can be prone to hurricanes and big storms, so it’s best to visit outside of the season, which runs from June to November.
How safe are The Bahamas for travel?
In June 2022, the US State Department issued The Bahamas a Level 2 Travel Advisory. Visitors should exercise increased caution due to crime. The advisory also specifies that most interpersonal violence is concentrated in New Providence and Grand Bahama Islands and primarily impacts local populations.
For context, many other popular destinations, including most European countries, are listed with Level 2 Advisories. Like them, The Bahamas remains a safe and fun destination for all travelers. Families, solo travelers, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities will have no trouble enjoying themselves.
Families will love spending long days at the beach, where kids can learn to snorkel and spot some local sea life. Just be sure to watch the heat, lather on the sunscreen, stay hydrated, and always book tours with licensed guides with proper gear.
Individuals choosing to travel solo can relax or adventure without safety concerns.
Women, especially, should take many of the same precautions they would on any beach vacation:
- Do not leave unattended items on the beach or by the pool while swimming
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Throw on a layer when leaving the beach
The Bahamas has a unique and diverse ethnic history and BIPOC visitors will find Bahamians welcoming. LGBTQ+ visitors are also safe on the islands. Since they have become an established destination, diverse travelers have sought out white sands, clear waters, and an exciting international experience. In fact, Numbeo users report very little concern for physical attacks due to skin color, ethnic origin, gender, or religion.
The Bahamas is as Safe as Anywhere
With all these elements in mind, The Bahamas is as safe as anywhere for international visitors and new residents.
Whether you’re taking a long walk on the beach, exploring historical sites, or putting your feet up in your new luxury condo, you can be sure to feel right at home in The Bahamas.