Report   DETAILS


Barbados & Grenada 2017 Crime & Safety Report

Western Hemisphere > Antigua and Barbuda; Western Hemisphere > Barbados; Western Hemisphere > Barbados > Bridgetown; Western Hemisphere > British Virgin Islands; Western Hemisphere > Dominica; Western Hemisphere > Grenada; Western Hemisphere > St. Kitts and Nevis; Western Hemisphere > St. Lucia; Western Hemisphere > St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Overall Crime and Safety Situation

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown 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 BRIDGETOWN AS BEING A HIGH-THREAT LOCATION FOR CRIME DIRECTED AT OR AFFECTING OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT INTERESTS.

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

The remaining five islands to which the U.S. Embassy is accredited are not officially rated for crime, but are considered similar to Barbados and Grenada in terms of criminality.

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

Crime Threats

Crime is a major concern throughout the Eastern Caribbean. Americans visiting the Eastern Caribbean are not targeted for crime to a greater extent than other foreigners. Generally, individuals or groups are free to travel day or night with few restrictions. Robberies and other crimes committed in high-traffic business areas are usually opportunistic. A common concern is visitor harassment. Individuals and groups in tourist areas will offer a variety of items for sale, including drugs. The islands’ news media outlets seem reluctant to report criminal incidents against visitors that could have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

Tourism is a major contributor to regional economies. Resorts, hotels, and other businesses that cater to tourists provide additional security measures (walled-in compounds with access controls, private security staff, background checks on employees, hired drivers for safe transport of guests).

Below is a snapshot of 2016 statistics for eight primary categories for all countries in the Consular District. There are significant numbers of residential burglaries, drug-related crimes, and sexual assaults. The first table and graph show 2016 statistics, adjusted per 100,000 people. The next tables show five years of historical data for the seven islands, illustrating developing trends in each country. Tick marks indicate that no data was provided for that metric.

Be vigilant when using public telephones or ATMs, especially near roadsides or in secluded areas. Safeguard valuables at beaches and use caution in dealing with beach merchants. Although hotels and resorts are generally safe, loss of unattended items is possible. Hotel burglaries may occur in less reputable hotels, and all valuables should be locked in room safes when possible. Keep doors and windows locked, especially at night. Burglaries of residences are generally achieved by exploiting a vulnerability (unlocked doors/windows, substandard door/window grilles, poor/non-existent outdoor lighting).


2016 Reported Crimes (per 100,000 citizens)

 

Antigua & Barbuda

Barbados

Dominica

Grenada

St. Kitts & Nevis

St. Lucia

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Murders

9

8

14

9

56

16

36

Kidnapping

2

4

6

0

4

0

8

Sexual Assault

64

64

115

258

80

138

239

Robberies

84

65

89

52

106

216

70

Shootings

13

19

21

6

93

18

38

Residential Burglaries

19

361

1154

888

574

248

476

Drug Related Crimes

257

563

22

698

504

138

247

Vehicle Theft

17

37

78

22

93

17

 

Graphical Representation of Reported 2016 Crimes (per 100,000 citizens)

 

Below are notable crime statistics provided by the police departments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the past five years:

 

Antigua and Barbuda (population ~ 90,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

8

2

58

76

12

17

231

15

2015

5

4

54

111

13

30

208

18

2014

13

1

55

241

19

11

195

31

2013

12

2

38

155

24

15

239

-

2012

9

3

51

146

39

2

151

-

 

Barbados (population ~ 285,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnapping

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

22

12

182

186

55

1029

1605

105

2015

28

14

194

300

34

1029

1190

111

2014

25

3

167

285

33

1187

655

92

2013

24

8

183

372

25

1601

879

63

2012

21

9

165

555

25

1548

745

68

 

Dominica (population ~ 72,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

10

4

83

64

15

831

16

56

2015

9

2

96

73

10

907

109

79

2014

9

3

110

85

15

842

159

62

2013

12

6

128

62

4

899

189

51

2012

6

7

138

70

3

1046

283

39

 

Grenada (population ~ 106,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

10

0

273

55

6

941

740

-

2015

6

0

212

76

0

996

756

-

2014

8

0

112

64

0

1040

576

-

2013

6

0

183

90

0

1271

572

-

2012

14

0

254

89

0

1638

795

-

 

St. Kitts and Nevis (population ~ 54,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnapping

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

30

2

43

57

50

310

272

12

2015

27

3

33

65

46

142

204

12

2014

24

0

33

54

32

196

230

3

2013

21

0

61

56

33

362

299

2

2012

18

2

43

61

21

413

341

5

 

St. Lucia (population ~ 182,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnapping

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

30

0

252

394

32

452

252

170

2015

28

0

250

111

26

403

119

144

2014

30

0

274

29

25

491

90

144

2013

32

0

276

95

51

662

132

209

2012

44

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines (population ~ 110,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2016

40

9

236

77

42

524

272

19

2015

26

1

196

86

21

597

359

17

2014

38

3

228

80

28

704

388

21

2013

24

12

229

149

52

948

340

30

2012

28

4

175

167

46

1029

499

44

 

Cybersecurity Issues

Cyber security attacks are frequently directed at public institutions, financial institutions, and critical infrastructure. Many of the Eastern Caribbean police forces are ill-equipped to prevent and investigate cyberattacks and intrusions. In 2015, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) experienced several attacks against its website, and government websites were targets of attacks in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda. While the governments of the Eastern Caribbean appear to be taking some steps to develop better investigative infrastructure for cyber incidents, improvements have been slow. 

ATM fraud also remains a significant concern in the Caribbean. In one notable 2016 case in Barbados, two individuals (Bulgarian, Ukrainian) were arrested for an ATM skimming scheme. Additionally, three Chinese nationals were arrested in Dominica for ATM-related theft.   

Transportation-Safety Situation

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions on the main coastal highways in Eastern Caribbean islands are adequate but may deteriorate rapidly on smaller roads in the interior. Smaller roads are often narrow with poor visibility, particularly in curves. These roads are also generally not marked, and informal signs at road junctions, particularly on small inland roads, are often the only way to find your way to your destination. Travel outside of tourist areas should be undertaken with caution, especially at night, due to the prevalence of unmarked and poorly-illuminated roads. For more information on self-driving, please review OSAC’s Report “Driving Overseas: Best Practices.”

Public Transportation Conditions

There is a public transportation system owned and operated by the government of Barbados. Their large blue and yellow buses operate on a routine schedule. Buses are required to stop only at designated stops on assigned routes, which are clearly marked. 

There are also smaller, privately-owned buses. These transit buses are frequently involved in vehicle accidents, as they often speed through traffic and are known to stop without notice to pick up/drop off passengers.

Use of licensed taxis is encouraged. Travelers should negotiate the price before the trip to avoid being charged inflated fares.

Aviation/Airport Conditions

Grantley Adams Airport (BGI) is the international airport of Barbados. BGI is the only designated port of entry for persons arriving or departing by air in Barbados and operates as a major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean. BGI does not maintain sufficient screening technology for passengers, carry-on bags, checked baggage, or liquids. The Embassy and other U.S. agencies continue to work with BGI and other international Caribbean airports to strengthen their security posture.

Terrorism Threat

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS ASSESSED BRIDGETOWN 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

Though specific terrorism reporting from the Eastern Caribbean remains relatively low, the region has several vulnerabilities that could be exploited by terrorist elements, notably: porous borders, established narcotic/alien smuggling routes, and limited law enforcement counter-terrorism capabilities. The exploitation of one of these vulnerabilities could have serious implications for U.S. border security, American businesses based in the Caribbean, and the Caribbean tourism trade. The Embassy continues to work with its host nation counterparts to develop and implement counter-terrorism strategies and capabilities.

Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence

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

The Eastern Caribbean is peaceful and has experienced little political violence or revolution. The political climates are stable with little threat of political violence. The labor riots of the 1930s were the last major event to transcend the entire Eastern Caribbean. The last major political incident in the Eastern Caribbean occurred in 1983 when a military coup took place in Grenada, leading to a U.S. led military intervention.

Civil Unrest

Violent public protests and demonstrations are practically non-existent. Very little civil unrest occurs on the islands. Most unrest is connected to labor issues, which are usually settled by union and government intervention.

Post-specific Concerns

Environmental Hazards

The Eastern Caribbean is occasionally hit by tropical storms and hurricanes (June-November).

  • Dominica sustained infrastructure damage from Tropical Storm Erika in August 2015.
  • On September 28, 2016, Barbados was hit by Tropical Storm Matthew, packing winds of around 60 miles per hour. Because the storm was slow-moving, it allowed a great deal rainfall, causing wide-spread flooding, stranding vehicles, and knocking out power in many parts of Barbados. As the storm progressed northwestward, it increased strength, eventually becoming Hurricane Matthew, and devastated Haiti. 


The most recent, notable earthquake in the region occurred on July 16, 2015, and struck the northeast part of the island. The 5.7 earthquake caused no reported damage or casualties and was felt on St. Vincent, the Grenadines, and Martinique. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the last significant earthquake in the region (a 7.4) occurred on November 29, 2007, 30 miles northwest of Martinique, and caused one fatality.

Grenada has the only known submarine volcano (Kick 'em Jenny) in the region. The potential hazard of Kick 'em Jenny to the Eastern Caribbean lies in the form of a tsunami should a major eruption occur.

Economic Concerns

There are no specific economic/intellectual property thefts to the Eastern Caribbean. Strong intellectual property regulation is something foreign to the Caribbean and enforcement is relatively weak. 

Privacy Concerns

There is relatively low risk to privacy concerns in the Eastern Caribbean; however, the growth of Internet usage and social media has raised concerns about privacy of their citizens.

Drug-related Crimes

Many tourists report being harassed by individuals attempting to sell illegal narcotics. All Eastern Caribbean nations and territories have laws prohibiting the purchase, possession, transportation, sale, or use of illegal substances, but law enforcement is somewhat reduced by a lack of resources. 

While drug dealers do get involved in shootings, it is localized and not directed at innocent citizens. The Eastern Caribbean countries are primarily drug transshipment points from South America (Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela) to Europe, West Africa, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

Kidnapping Threat

Kidnapping appears to be a relatively rare phenomenon in the Eastern Caribbean, consistently ranking near the bottom of reported crime rates.

Police Response

Regional police forces usually cooperate with U.S. counterparts. However, response time to law enforcement and security requests can be slow due to inadequate funding, lack of equipment/training, and staffing shortages. American citizen residents do not always enjoy the same level of police protection that regional governments provide to tourist areas. Uniformed police presence is higher in residential and business areas frequented by tourists. Police stations and outposts are usually strategically located in those areas.

The level of professionalism and quality of service can vary from island to island, and the level of protection is directly proportional to its impact on the tourist trade. Areas frequented by tourists command a more visible police presence than other parts of the island. The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) response in these areas is usually timely and efficient, but response delays to the non-tourist, less populated, and rural areas can be significant. The RBPF enjoys comparatively greater resources than its Eastern Caribbean neighbors.

Generally, uniformed police are adequate to have an influence on crime deterrence, but uniformed police response to alarms or emergency calls are sometimes below U.S. standards. Police performance and conduct varies from poor to acceptable in professionalism and training, and regional police organizations have definite resource/manpower limitations that inhibit their deterrence and response effectiveness.

How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment

Any American citizen detained or harassed by police or other security services should immediately contact American Citizen Services (ACS) at the U.S. Embassy Bridgetown during business hours, or the U.S. Embassy duty officer during non-business hours or holidays. Both may be reached at: 1-246-227-4000 (24/7). Consular Officers at the U.S. Embassy do routinely check on the well-being of incarcerated American citizens and work to ensure that American citizens have access to legal counsel, if desired, and are treated fairly in accordance with local and international laws.

Crime Victim Assistance

For after-hours emergencies, call 1-246-227-4000 and ask for the duty officer.

For emergencies during business hours, call 1-246-227-4000 and ask for the American Citizens Services Unit. For routine inquiries, call 1-246-227-4193 between 2-4 p.m., Mon-Fri (excluding U.S. and Barbados holidays). You may also email or fax at 1-246-431-0179.

Police/Security Agencies

Founded in 1987, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) promotes and facilitates law enforcement within 24 Caribbean countries. The ACCP promotes regional cooperation among the 24 countries to fight crime through:
Collaboration to develop and implement policing strategies, systems, and procedures;
Developing the professional and technical skills of police officers; and,
Taking proactive measures to prevent crime and improve police community relations.

Medical Emergencies

Ambulance service in Barbados can be slow; therefore, for minor incidents, it is advised to proceed immediately to the emergency room at the FMH Emergency Medical Clinic or Sandy Crest Medical Center. In the event of a major accident/emergency, await the arrival of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) ambulance service or contact Island Care ambulance service at (246) 435-9425. There are six ambulances at the QEH and two at the Barbados Defense Force. Ambulance crews are allowed to perform CPR, and they are trained to administer IVs and other advanced life support services.

Ambulance Service: 311

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

FMH Emergency Medical Clinic: (246) 228-6121 or (246) 228-6120. The facility is located at 3rd Avenue, Belleville, St. Michael. FMH Emergency Medical Clinic is open from 8:00 am-12:00am. The last patient is taken at 11:30 pm.

Sandy Crest Medical Center, Sunset Crest, St. James: (246) 419-4911. This facility provides a 24-hr service. It is wise to call before going, especially after midnight.

FMH and Sandy Crest will refer cases beyond their capabilities to QEH in Bridgetown. They do not have overnight facilities for extended medical care.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is a 600-bed facility. It has the capacity to manage major trauma, medical, and obstetric emergencies. QEH is the only major trauma facility in Barbados with a 24-hour accident and emergency room. The hospital has on-staff physicians and surgeons of almost all specialties. Be prepared for long waits in the emergency room for minor emergencies; such cases are dealt with in priority order based on severity. Tel: (246) 436-6450

The U.S. Embassy in Barbados maintains lists of medical facilities and physicians.

Available Air Ambulance Services

Air Ambulance Professionals: 1-800-752-4195 or (954)-730-9300, website: www.airambulanceprof.com

Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance

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

OSAC Country Council Information

The Bridgetown Country Council currently meets quarterly during the year and has approximately 20 members. Please contact OSAC’s Western Hemisphere team with any questions or to join.  

U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information

Embassy Address and Hours of Operation

U.S. Embassy of Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS
Wildey Business Park
Wildey
St. Michael BB 14006
Barbados, W.I. 

Embassy Contact Numbers

Main: (246) 227-4100

Marine Post One: (246) 227-4066

Regional Security Office: (246) 227-4130

Consular Affairs: (246) 227-4193

Website: http://barbados.usembassy.gov/

Consular coverage for multi-post countries

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown responsibility extends to seven independent nations of the Eastern Caribbean - Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Consular American Citizen Services also cover three British overseas territories: Anguilla, Montserrat, and the British Virgin Islands and four French islands: Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, and Guadeloupe.

Embassy Guidance

American citizen travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order to receive messages from the Embassy about safety and security. It is also recommended that travelers consult the country specific information for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and any travel warnings located on the same website.

Additional Resources

Barbados Country Information Sheet