Published On: Wed, Nov 5th, 2014

US Embassy issues warning on sexual assaults in Bahamas

Nassau BahamasNASSAU, Bahamas -- In its latest crime advisory, the United States Embassy in Nassau said at least three Americans, including a minor, were allegedly sexually assaulted by jet ski operators on Paradise Island.

Like previous statements, the latest message warns Americans living in and traveling to The Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain alert to avoid being victims of crime.

The embassy said police have warned women to be extra vigilant after a recent spike in reported sexual assaults.

“In October, a US citizen who resides in The Bahamas was kidnapped and violently raped while walking home,” the statement said.

“The water sports rental industry is only loosely regulated; since July, there have been three reported sexual assaults on US citizens, including minors, by jet ski operators on Paradise Island.”

There were no reports to the media that Americans were reportedly sexually assaulted by jet ski operators, nor was there any report that an American was “violently raped” while walking home.

According to police, four women were allegedly sexually assaulted in October, two of which happened during home invasions.

Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said recently that cases of rape are down over last year.

He was responding to Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell who said police believe prolific offenders are responsible for a recent “spike” in rapes.

Bell warned women to be vigilant.

The embassy also warned citizens to be on heightened alert after several murders, armed robberies and home invasions on New Providence.

Officials said home invasions have become “more numerous and violent”.

The embassy highlighted the recent murder of Andre Cartwright, who was killed when armed thugs broke into his Blair Estates home.

Relatives said Cartwright, who died in his stepfather’s arms, was protecting his family.

The embassy also noted that an American was also the victim of a home invasion and attempted sexual assault in Cable Beach last month.

“While US citizens have not been targeted directly, over the past several weeks there has been an increase in the level of crime in areas where US citizens live and frequent,” the report said.

“We also noticed criminals increasingly becoming more brazen and creative in their methods. For example, three armed robberies of US citizens have occurred in daylight hours in heavily frequented tourist areas, including an armed assailant assaulting and robbing a woman walking near Ardastra Gardens.

“In mid-October during daylight hours in a heavily populated area, two men, armed with handguns, robbed customers waiting in the drive-thru line at a local restaurant.

“Armed assailants have placed random items in the street as impromptu roadblocks so unassuming drivers would stop and could be robbed.

“A man was shot at Potter’s Cay, near the base of the Paradise Island bridge, at a time when tourists would still be frequenting the area.”

The embassy warned that as the holiday season nears there is an increase in criminal activity.

The embassy encouraged US citizens to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrolment Program to get security updates and to be more easily contacted in case of an emergency.

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

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