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Crime in the Bahamas

In 2000, crime (acts of the initiation of physical force against innocent victims that violate their rights) is on the rise in the Bahamas. However, it is not close to being as bad as in the U.S. cities like Washington D.C.

How to protect yourself
Generally, most violent crime in the Bahamas occurs between locals. The best way to protect yourself is to travel in groups, and stay away from “bad areas” (your hotel will tell you about this). Stay in the tourist areas and should be fine. The U.S. State Department has issued the following comments:

Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment when visiting The Bahamas. Violent crime has increased in the recent past, and the American Embassy has received several reports of sexual assaults on American tourists, including teen-age girls. While most criminal incidents take place in a part of Nassau not usually frequented by tourists (the “over-the-hill” area south of downtown), crime and violence has increasingly moved into more upscale tourist and residential areas.

Travelers should take appropriate precautions, and they should avoid walking alone after dark or in isolated areas and avoid placing themselves in positions where they are alone with strangers. They should be cautious on deserted areas of beaches at all hours. Hotel guests should always lock their doors and should never leave valuables unattended, especially on beaches. Visitors should store passport/identity documents, airline tickets, credit cards, and extra cash in hotel safes, and they should avoid wearing expensive jewelry, particularly Rolex watches, which have been targeted increasingly by criminals. Please use only clearly marked taxis and make a note of the license plate number for your records.

The loss or theft of a U.S. passport overseas should be reported to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. A lost or stolen U.S. birth certificate and/or driver’s license generally cannot be replaced outside the United States. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State’s pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean, for ways to promote a more trouble free journey. (June 2002)

Drinking Age
The legal age in the Bahamas for consumption of alcoholic beverages is 18. However, because of weak enforcement of the law regulating the drinking age, it is not difficult for teenagers to obtain alcoholic beverages, and underage drinking is prevalent.

It is illegal to import a firearm or ammunition into The Bahamas or to possess a firearm in the country without appropriate permission. Tourists who arrive by private boat are required to declare firearms to Bahamian Customs and leave firearms on the boat while in The Bahamas. Penalties for illegal possession of a firearm or ammunition are strict, and can involve heavy fines, lengthy prison terms, or both.

Criminal Penalties
Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Bahamian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Police enforcement is aggressive in tourist areas, as drug dealers are known to frequent areas where tourists congregate. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the Bahamas are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Editorial Commentary: Cultural Causes of Crime

Why the crime increase? Let us remember that crime is an action caused by entities. Actions do not cause actions; entities cause actions according to their nature (this is the law of cause and effect). So the proper question is: why are there so many criminals? Criminals are irrational looters and second-handers; and the increase of such criminals is on the rise, due in part to the promotion of such a philosophy in our culture, and its acceptance by are rising number of people.

The traits [1] produced in individuals that result from the acceptance of such a philosophy include:

  • impulsiveness (a perceptual-level mentality impervious to long range considerations),
  • anti-intellectuality (deafness to principles and reasoning),
  • defiance of authority (or rather, reality),
  • amorality (he is a moral imbecile, i.e., “there are not moral absolutes”, “what is true for others, is not true for me!”),
  • feeling of his own victimization (rationalizations to defend his corrupt actions).

This is why in the West crime falling down for over a century, until the 1960s, where crime rates skyrocketed: the philosophy underlying our culture had changed.

To quote Dr. Leonard Peikoff, in “What To Do About Crime“:

“The fundamental cause of crime is a view of the world and a set of values. The cause is the criminal’s ideas, which he shares with criminals from all sorts of different backgrounds and countries. Our establishmentarians are inconsistent enough to promulgate these ideas while preserving a semi-civilized veneer, which comes from a code of decency they sold out long ago. The criminal is the less convoluted type: he latches onto the content and dispenses with the veneer.” [1]

[1] Dr. Leonard Peikoff, in “What To Do About Crime” Ford Hall Forum Lecture, Boston, 1995