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Bermuda 2012 Crime and Safety Report

Western Hemisphere > Bermuda > Hamilton

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

Crime Threats

In 2011, the trend of gun-related violence appeared to have plateau-ed, with the rate of confirmed firearms incidents about half what was reported in 2010. Furthermore, the overall crime rate has continued to drop as the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) stepped up its anti-gang activity. The BPS has recovered 10 firearms on the island through 2011 (compared to 7 and 1 in the previous two years, respectively), and 51 individuals were arrested for firearms offenses – many of whom have already been convicted while dozens more await prosecution. Bermuda continues to see strong-arm robberies taking place in public, and while the victims are predominantly locals, there have been tourists who have been victimized as well, including in their hotel rooms. Burglaries occur on the island, albeit less frequently. Additionally, the burglaries committed are generally non-violent, and most are carried out by recidivist criminals. 

Road Safety

Road navigation is difficult in Bermuda, which has significantly higher per capita road fatality death rates than 29 other affluent OECD countries. People drive on the left-hand side of the road, and the roads are quite narrow in many places. Furthermore, many areas do not feature sidewalks, homes frequently have hidden driveways that empty directly onto an active roadway, and there are numerous joggers on the streets. Traffic accidents are inevitable, and although the speed limit around the island is 22 mph, there are numerous vehicle accidents resulting in death every year, resulting in a road fatality rate of just below 20 per 100,000 people. That statistic puts Bermuda into the Pan American Health Organization’s ‘high risk’ section. In 2011, there were nine road fatalities -- down from the height in 2008, when 17 fatalities made it the worst of the decade – and 117 traffic collisions that resulted in serious physical injury. 

Political Violence 

Historical Perspective

Historically, Bermuda has been renowned for its quiet, tranquil atmosphere. One of the attractions for years was the fact that it was a safe, family-friendly place to vacation and one situated very close to the U.S. 

Regional Terrorism and Organized Crime

While there is little or no indigenous terrorism in Bermuda, organized crime is on the rise. Centered on small gangs around the island (estimates are between 12 and 18 gangs, with a total in all gangs of up to 350 people), the majority of the gun violence on the island stems from this type of organized crime.

International Terrorism or Transnational Terrorism
 
There is nothing to suggest that there is any international or transnational terrorism in Bermuda.

Civil Unrest  

There is no evidence of civil unrest. Political demonstrations are few and far between, and even when the Consulate has been the target of a demonstration it has been non-violent.

Post-Specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards
 
The greatest environmental hazard is the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms. Past hurricanes have caused significant damage to the island’s infrastructure.

Industrial and Transportation Accidents

Ordinary traffic accidents are the most routine and cause the most concern on the island.

Kidnappings

There are almost no records of any type of kidnappings occurring on the island. What has occurred has not been related to tourism, narco-traffic, or organized crime.

Drug and Narco-terrorism

Bermuda has been described as an island with an appetite for drugs. Whereas many Caribbean islands are merely weigh points for drug shipments en-route to the U.S., virtually all of the drugs entering Bermuda are for local consumption. In fact, drugs are often brought from the U.S. for sale on the island. In 2011, there were a number of Americans caught attempting to smuggle drugs into Bermuda, after a notable increase the previous year. The main drugs of choice are marijuana and cocaine, but ecstasy, crack, and heroin have been seen in quantity as well. While the “kingpins” of the narcotics trade are all well-established players (who have managed to stay out of jail), gangs are generally involved in the street-level drug trade. That said, although the majority of drug seizures occurred at the street level, due to an increased cooperation between Bermudian and U.S. law enforcement agencies, over $41.9 million worth of drugs were seized in 2011, including almost $1.5 million in the U.S. bound for Bermuda.

Police Response

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

In the event of detention by the police, an American citizen should contact the U.S. Consulate on the duty phone, monitored 24/7, at 1 (441) 335-3828. Harassment by the police would be a rare incident; however, any individual who feels that he/she has been unfairly treated should contact the Bermuda Police Complaints and Discipline Department at 1 (441) 299-4279. 

Where to Turn for Assistance if you Become a Victim of a Crime and Local Police Telephone Numbers

If you are the victim of a crime, contact 1 (441) 299-4431 to reach police dispatch. In an emergency, dial 911. The U.S. Consulate may also provide services to American citizens in need. The 24-hour duty telephone number is 1 (441) 335-3828.

Medical Emergencies

Contact Information for Local Hospitals and Clinics

The local hospital in Bermuda is the King Edward Memorial Hospital. The phone number is 1 (441) 236-2345. There are various other clinics and medical facilities available on the island.

Air Ambulance Services 

Medical Air Services: 1 (441) 295-6272

Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

There are no scams that are particularly unique to Bermuda, however; motorcycles and motor scooters are ubiquitous on the island and are a favorite amongst thieves. Tourists should be particularly careful when renting one of these, from a safety and security perspective. Be careful carrying bags on the side facing the street or in the rear basket; persons on motor scooters can easily snatch bags that are not properly secured. 

Areas to Avoid

Walking or cycling after dark, or in deserted areas, is not recommended. Hamilton, north of Dundonald Street, should be avoided, particularly after sundown.

Further Information

Consulate Contact Numbers

Hamilton does not have a switchboard operator. During regular office hours (8am – 4:30pm) the Consulate telephone is 1 (441) 295-1342. Otherwise contact the duty telephone number – 1 (441) 335-3828.

OSAC Country Council

No OSAC Country Council exists in Bermuda.