The U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas has issued a security warning following the sexual assault of at least three American tourists by water scooter operators on Paradise Island during recent months.
So far this year, four security alerts have been issued by the Nassau-based embassy. According to Frances Robles of the New York Times, crimes are on the rise in the Bahamas, specifically in areas where American tourists frequent. This has raised concern among many, given the popularity of the island as a vacation destination; more than six million travelers visited last year alone.
One U.S. citizen was murdered in Freeport in January; just one day later, two U.S. citizens were carjacked on New Providence Island, according to the Times. Then last month, a U.S. woman who resides in the Bahamas was kidnapped and raped.
At least one of the assaults that took place over the last year involved a victim who was a minor, according to the embassy. In terms of details regarding specific assaults, however, officials have remained tight-lipped. Bernard J. Nottage, the Bahamas’ minister of national security reportedly said in a statement, “It would, of course, be foolhardy in the extreme to disclose details of these new measures as to do so would be tipping the hand of law enforcement to the very persons we are determined to catch and put behind bars. We are confident, however, that these new measures will achieve satisfying results within a very short period of time and that the perpetrators of violent crime will be brought to justice and made to feel the full weight of the law.”
The Times noted that some victims have posted details about alleged assaults online.
The U.S. embassy reportedly said in an alert, “We also have noticed criminals increasingly becoming more brazen and creative in their methods.”
The issue has posed a particular problem for operators of cruise ships and vacation expeditions to the Bahamas, who face liabilities if they fail to warn passengers about dangers on the island.
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