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Bermuda 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Western Hemisphere > Bermuda; Western Hemisphere > Bermuda > Hamilton

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Consulate General Hamilton does not assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the persons or firms appearing in this report. The ACS Unit cannot recommend a particular individual or location and assumes no responsibility for the quality of service provided.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED BERMUDA AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Please review OSAC’s Bermuda-specific webpage for proprietary analytic reports, Consular Messages, and contact information.

In May and June 2017, Bermuda will host the 35th America’s Cup international sailing regatta. The event will have an international TV audience from more than 80 countries, with live media coverage. Bermuda is anticipating an unprecedented amount of visitors on the island and in a variety of luxury yachts for the event. International support will be provided for security. Local hotels are expected to be at full capacity. Local and international governments have not indicated an elevated threat.

Crime Threats

Valuables left unattended in public areas, in unsecured hotel rooms, or on rental motorbikes are vulnerable to theft. Criminals have been known to target visitors on motorbikes and at popular tourist attractions; opportunistic crime (purse snatchings perpetrated by thieves riding motorbikes) and muggings have occurred. The back streets in Hamilton have been the setting for nighttime assaults, particularly after the bars close, typically at 3am. Travelers should exercise caution when walking after dark or visiting out-of-the-way places on the island, as they can be vulnerable to theft and assault and because narrow and dark roadways and isolated areas can contribute to accidents.

Travelers should be conscious of the presence of gangs and illegal drug activity in Bermuda. Gang activity is insular, and there have been no reports of gang violence targeted toward Americans or other visitors. A long-term downward trend in gang activity over recent years resulted in a different landscape in 2016, where gang membership and loyalties altered and prompted an increase in related crime. There were 30 confirmed firearm incidents in 2016, to include five shooting murders and 9 other shooting injuries.

Cybersecurity Issues

Incidents of cybercrime (identity theft, credit card fraud, phishing) are rare events in Bermuda. However, visitors are encouraged to be prudent and not leave their documentation or credit cards unattended. In 2016, two eastern European visitors were prosecuted after using scanning equipment at ATMs to copy debit/credit card details and steal money from associated accounts.

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions differ significantly from those in the U.S. Main roads, while generally in good condition, are extremely narrow and tend to be bordered by heavy vegetation or stone walls. Traffic moves on the left side, and the roads are very narrow, often with no defined shoulder. The maximum speed in Hamilton is 25 kph (15 mph) and 35 kph (21 mph) on the rest of the island; however, traffic typically moves much faster, averaging speeds closer to 50kph (31mph), compounding the consequences of traffic collisions. Traffic is moderate. Road collisions – particularly involving motorbikes – are common and can result in serious injuries or death, although incident numbers have declined recently due to improved policing.

Under Bermudian law, non-residents are not allowed to own, rent, or drive four-wheeled vehicles. Non-residents must rely on taxis, the local bus system, or rented motorbikes. Rental motorbikes are readily available, and a required helmet is provided. However, visitors should carefully consider the significant risks of riding a motorbike. Motorbikes have the greatest road accident frequency in Bermuda; local operators tend to exceed the speed limit and neglect other regulations, increasing risks to themselves and other road users. Visitors unfamiliar with driving on the left side of the road are likely to find roundabouts and the regulations for yielding at junctions confusing, and customary bad driving habits may compound the danger to a visitor.

Public Transportation Conditions

Taxis are readily available. The local bus system serves the length of the island and stops close to most beaches, hotels, the downtown shopping area, and other points of interest. A frequent commuter ferry service connects the central and western parts of the island, in addition to a less frequent service to the east end, that provide a very safe and enjoyable mode of transportation.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Bermuda’s L.F.Wade International Airport is compliant with international standards, and it serves military and private jets via a privately operated Fixed Base Office at a separate apron within the terminal complex. Plans are underway to build a new terminal and runway within the existing site with completion expected within the next three to five years.

Other Travel Conditions

Bermuda is accessible by seasonally operated cruise ships, which routinely visit from the U.S. eastern seaboard between April and November. Bermuda is a single stop destination for cruise lines with each visit remaining in port for approximately three days before returning to its home port.

Bermuda is a popular destination for private sail boats typically transiting between the Caribbean and destinations to the north.

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED BERMUDA AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR TERRORIST ACTIVITY DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns

There are no local, regional, or international terrorism threats or concerns known to the Bermudian government, other than the global threat posed by extremist groups generally.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED BERMUDA AS BEING A LOW-THREAT LOCATION FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

Bermuda remains a dependency of the UK but has an independent bicameral legislature with a mature constitution allowing near independent self-rule. Bermuda enjoys a reputation for personal wealth and success promoted by tourism and as a successfully managed domicile for international business.

Civil Unrest

Eight years of recessionary conditions have exasperated tensions and flamed occasional industrial and social protest, with race frequently being an underlying factor. Protests usually pass peacefully, commonly leading to short-term work stoppages.

During a December 2016 civil protest, demonstrators physically blocked the entrances to Parliament in an effort to prevent debate inside. Police intervened and were unsuccessful in clearing a path through the protestors, leading to the use of pepper spray to disperse the crowd. This led to social outrage and the unfounded suggestion that the police received political direction to use aggressive tactics.  

Religious/Ethnic Violence

Bermuda has one of the highest churches per capita ratio’s in the world and is served by numerous religious denominations. While some churches are politically and socially active, there is no evidence of associated risk or violence.

Expatriate residents in the work force are often a subject of disquiet by those who believe that they displace indigenous workers; however, there is no evidence of racial or ethnic based violence.   

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

Bermuda is often hit by storms and hurricanes from June through November; however, its robust infrastructure and competent emergency response can lessen a storm’s impact. U.S. citizens are urged to visit the U.S. Consulate website for advice on hurricane preparedness. If approaching storms threaten the island, the U.S. Consulate General will send messages with forecast updates and safety instructions.

Critical Infrastructure

Bermuda has very good, tested physical and organizational infrastructure, which caters to routine, occasional, and emergency situations.

Economic Concerns

Law enforcement agencies have neither received nor investigated any complaints of economic espionage or intellectual property theft in the last year. Bermuda has a robust legal community with a significant capacity to deal with these issues should such matters be reported.

Privacy Concerns

Personal information and other aspects of privacy are respected in both corporate and private environments. Legislation (‘The Data Protection Act’) exists to protect privacy and privileged relationships. Most corporate entities also have internal directives to restrict the sharing of information. There is no evidence of widespread misuse of locally sourced information.  

Personal Identity Concerns

The European Convention on Human Rights applies to Bermuda, as does the locally applicable Human Rights Act (1981). Subject to recent amendment, the Human Rights Act forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 2016, Bermuda held a referendum designed to measure support for same-sex marriages, same-sex civil unions, or a continuation of the status quo. There was considerable local debate, and the referendum failed to attract a sufficient quantity of the electorate to make it legally valid; those who did vote supported the retention of the status quo by an approximate 2 to 1 majority.  

Drug-related Crimes

Illegal drugs sales are common. The drug of choice remains marijuana, but cocaine, heroin, and other drugs can be easily sourced. Drug-related crimes account for a significant portion of overall crimes in Bermuda. Almost all drugs are imported from overseas and have a considerably high street price, making Bermuda a sought-after market for overseas suppliers. Importation is facilitated by individuals or Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) with established overseas contacts, and drugs are carried by an arriving passenger or smuggled in cargo at at all points of entry. Crime inspired by drugs occur. Gangs indulge in drug sales but disputes between gangs are not routinely motivated by drug activity.    

Kidnapping Threat

Bermuda has no recorded incidents of kidnapping; however, many persons of significant wealth reside on the island, and the presence of senior industry personnel of internationally influential entities could present a potential threat. 

Police Response

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

The Bermuda Police are a modern and competent organization and operates subject to UK legal standards and internationally-recognized best practices.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

The majority of detentions is subject to arrest on suspicion of an offence and are managed by adherence to the local ‘Police and Criminal Evidence Act,’ which observes all necessary rights to a detained person. If a traveler perceives unfair treatment by the police, they should immediately contact the US Consulate in Hamilton.

Crime Victim Assistance

Although Bermuda does not have a formalized Victims of Crime Program, there is a Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. They can be contacted at:
The Supreme Court
113 Front Street
Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda
Telephone: + (441) 292-1350
Fax: + (441) 292-2268.

Police/Security Agencies

The emergency number is 911. This connects the caller to the Police Dispatch center and the relevant emergency service.

The Bermuda Police Service provides a number of policing resources, including Routine Patrol, Criminal Investigation, Narcotic Investigation, Traffic Enforcement, Marine Patrol, Community Engagement, Intelligence, Financial Crime Investigation, Forensic Support, Family Liaison, and others.

Her Majesty’s Customs Service has priority to police all ports of entry to interdict contraband and collect customs import revenue. 

The Bermuda Immigration Department administers (among other things) the presence of visitors and foreign residents and issues passports for Bermudians. 

Medical Emergencies

Adequate medical care is available for routine procedures, although extremely expensive.

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

The single hospital performs general surgery, has an emergency room, and intensive care unit.
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital
Point Finger Road
Paget DV 04
Telephone: + (441) 236-2345
Fax: + (441) 236- 2213

Available Air Ambulance Services

There is no local air ambulance in Bermuda. In the event that it is necessary to transport a patient overseas for medical treatments that are not otherwise available in Bermuda, there are number of international-based service providers:
Air Ambulance Express (800) 725-2260 aae@comcast.net
Medway (770) 963-1412 (800) 233-0655 fax (770) 962-3253 medwayair@aol.com
MedEscort (610) 791-3111fax (610) 791-9189 http://medescort.com
MedCenter Air (704) 355-3960 (800) 254-3880 fax (704) 355-1622 aadler@carolinas.org
Critical Care (770) 513-9148 (800) 426-6557 (770) 513-0249 http://criticalcaremedflight.com
Air Ambulance Professionals (954) 491-0555
Trinity Air Ambulance 954.771.7911 ingerlisa@trinityairambulance.com
 

Insurance Guidance

Serious or complex medical issues will likely require medical evacuation to the U.S. Most Bermudian health care providers, including the local hospital, do not accept foreign insurance and will expect payment at the time of service.

Bermuda has existing agreement with the Lahey Hospital for Bermudians and other residents for treatment that may not be otherwise available on the island. Those who have local medical insurance are generally covered for these services in the U.S. and for the medevac. Visiting Americans are advised to ensure that they have either travel insurance or a clause in their general insurance to cover international medevac in the event it is required.

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

The CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Bermuda.

OSAC Country Council Information

There is currently no active Country Council in Bermuda. Please contact OSAC’s WHA team if you are interested in private-sector engagement in Bermuda or have questions about OSAC’s Country Council programs.

U.S. Consulate General Hamilton Location and Contact Information

Consulate Address and Hours of Operation

U.S. Consulate General
16 Middle Road
Devonshire DV 03
Bermuda

Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 0800-1630

Consulate Contact Numbers

Tel: + (441) 295-1342
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (441) 335-3828
Fax: + (441) 295- 1592
HamiltonConsulate@state.gov
Website: https://bm.usconsulate.gov/

Consulate Guidance

The Consulate General recommends any visitor enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Additional Resources

Bermuda Country Information Sheet