I have a home in Nassau
and have lived there for four months every winter for the last 10 years. I have kept a boat there, year round, for 8 of those years, 5 years in a downtown marina and three at a private dock in Coral
Harbor on the south side of the island. After reading these posts I'm surprised some of you are still alive. In recent years, crime has gotten a lot
worse. Most of it is local on local. Last year a group invaded a home and executed the guy in front of his children
. That's not common, but it's also not rare and more and more unwary tourists are becoming targets. Downtown is pretty safe from violent crime but you most definitely don't want to go "Over the Hill" at night. Away from downtown you are always at risk because if you show the usual tourist signs you are easy meat. When we first went down, I was looking for a slip in Coral
Harbor and was trapped by a car that backed up a dead end street, blocked me in and came out with a mask and gun. He took jewelry, cash and cameras and then said "Now we're going to lock your wife in the trunk and go downtown to a cash machine and clean out your account". Thank God, she panicked and started screaming, so he took off. I don't know what I would have done otherwise, but I can tell you she wasn't going into that trunk!
I was later told by the police that driving a rental car (all rentals have a license
plate with an SD prefix) was like painting a target on my back. They said the thief probably targeted us early and followed us until we were in a relatively deserted spot before hitting us. BTW, "deserted" was in a quiet residental neighborhood that is considered upscale by locals. Our attorney lives there. The police took half an hour to get there and did zero, even with a description of the car and a partial on a four digit plate number. I later made a friend in the CID division of the police department who told me this was typical because, in such a small society, everybody is someones cousin or uncle and you, the visitor, will be gone soon so why bother. Another local friend said they lost
one or two generations to the old days when the Bahamas
was drug central. The US forced a crackdown and there are plenty of young men
who don't know how to earn a living, except by crime.
Don't kid yourself. It's naive to think you're in a lovely island nation full of happy natives. You're in what is almost a third world country where most people are very poor. There are places a half a mile from Bay Street that don't even have running water
. You bring your jug to the community tap. By comparison almost any cruiser is a fat cat. You're a lot more likely to be a victim of petty theft than violent crime but good sense should prevail. Don't leave stuff unattended and unlocked. Petty theft can happen anywhere, anytime. That GPS
in your cockpit
costs more than lots of people make in a month or two. Mine was stolen in the middle of the day in a marina when I went to the Ships Store for a screw. That night, the thief came back and unscrewed my battery charger
that was mounted in an unlocked cockpit locker. Now when I leave the boat, even for five minutes, it's locked up.
That said, don't think I'm going overboard
and telling you you're going to a lawless wasteland. It's a great place. The Bahamian people, for the most part, are lovely, friendly and helpful. It's a wonderful place. Just don't forget it only takes one rotten apple to ruin your trip. Be prudent and you'll probably be fine. Just don't shift the odds in favor of the crook. You may not see them, but they are most definitely there, watching and waiting for the opportunity to make a score.