Report   DETAILS


Barbados & Grenada 2018 Crime & Safety Report

Western Hemisphere > Anguilla; Western Hemisphere > Antigua and Barbuda; Western Hemisphere > Barbados; Western Hemisphere > British Virgin Islands; Western Hemisphere > Dominica; Western Hemisphere > Grenada; Western Hemisphere > Guadeloupe; Western Hemisphere > Martinique; Western Hemisphere > Saint Barthelemy; Western Hemisphere > Saint Martin; Western Hemisphere > St. Kitts and Nevis; Western Hemisphere > St. Lucia; Western Hemisphere > St. Vincent and the Grenadines

 

According to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication, Barbados has been assessed as Level 1: exercise normal precautions. 

According to the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication, Grenada has been assessed as Level 1: exercise normal precautions.

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 American Citizens’ Services unit (ACS) 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 Barbados 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.

Please review OSAC’s Barbados-specific page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact information, some of which may be available only to private-sector representatives with an OSAC password.

Tourism is a major contributor to regional economies. The islands’ news media outlets seem reluctant to report criminal incidents against visitors that could have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

Crime Threats

Crime is a major concern throughout the Eastern Caribbean. Generally, individuals or groups are free to travel with few restrictions. Robberies and other crimes committed in high traffic business areas are usually opportunistic in nature. Americans visiting the Eastern Caribbean are not targeted for crime to a greater extent than other foreigners.

A common concern is visitor harassment. Individuals and groups in tourist areas will offer a variety of items for sale, including drugs.

The 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.

In general, travel outside of tourist areas should be undertaken with caution, especially at night, due to the prevalence of unmarked and unlighted roads. Be vigilant when using public telephones or ATMs, especially those located near roadsides or in secluded areas. Visitors should use caution in dealing with beach merchants. 

Burglaries of residences generally occur by exploiting a vulnerability (unlocked doors/windows, substandard door/window grilles, and poor/non-existent outdoor lighting). 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. Resorts, hotels, and other businesses that cater to tourists provide additional security measures, including: walled-in compounds with access controls, private security staff, background checks on employees, and hired drivers for safe transport of guests.

Some American tourists alleged that they were the victims of “date rape” drugs (such as rohypnol “roofies”, PCP, scopolamine, etc.), slipped into their drinks or food in furtherance of criminal activity. Visitors should be mindful and not leave drinks or food unattended while at public venues. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report “Shaken: The Don’ts of Alcohol Abroad.”

Below is a snapshot of 2017 statistics, tracking eight primary categories. As the visual representation indicates, there are significant numbers of residential burglaries, drug-related crimes and sexual assaults. The first table and graph show 2017 statistics adjusted per 100,000 people, allowing for an accurate comparison of crime issues between countries. The next tables show five years of historical data for each of the seven islands, illustrating developing local trends.

2017 Reported Statistics per 100,000 Citizens:

Country

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

Antigua & Barbuda

22

16

31

124

17

83

387

54

Barbados

11

4

60

84

29

361

567

41

Dominica

17

6

135

101

17

907

163

93

Grenada

9

0

182

54

3

858

684

0

St. Kitts & Nevis

56

4

80

106

93

574

504

22

St. Lucia

16

0

138

216

18

248

138

93

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

36

8

215

70

38

476

247

17


Graphical Representation of reported 2017 statistics, per 100,000 citizens
(see attached pdf for graphs)

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

2017

20

14

28

112

15

75

348

49

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

-

 

Barbados (population ~ 285,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

30

10

172

239

84

1030

1617

116

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


Dominica (population ~ 72,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

12

4

97

73

12

653

117

67

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

 

Grenada (population ~ 106,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

10

0

193

57

3

910

725

0

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

-

 

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

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

22

1

55

81

49

314

396

0

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

 

St. Lucia (population ~ 182,000):

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

53

13

296

311

29

984

338

209

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

 

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

Year

Murders

Kidnappings

Sexual Assaults

Robberies

Shootings

Residential Burglaries

Drug Related Crimes

Vehicle Thefts

2017

40

4

262

69

42

565

278

24

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


Cybersecurity Issues

Cyber security incidents continue to rise worldwide. 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 these types of attacks and intrusions.

In recent years, 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.

The governments of the Eastern Caribbean appear to be taking some steps to develop better investigative infrastructure for cyber incidents as evidenced by the 2017 opening of the Regional Security Systems Digital Forensic Laboratory, significantly enhancing their ability to investigate crimes with a digital nexus. Nevertheless, digital security remains a concern in the region, particularly with ATM fraud, credit card fraud, and other cybercrimes. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “The Overseas Traveler’s Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud.”

Transportation-Safety Situation

For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “Security in Transit: Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.”

Road Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions on the main coastal highways in Barbados and other 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. 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 in order 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 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 relevant 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 Barbados as being a LOW-threat location for terrorist activity directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Grenada 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

The region has several vulnerabilities that could be exploited by terrorist elements, notably: porous borders, established narcotic and alien smuggling routes, and limited counter-terrorism capabilities of local law enforcement. 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 in general. 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 Barbados as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

The U.S. Department of State has assessed Grenada as being a LOW-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.

Civil Unrest

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 prone to tropical storms and hurricanes (June-November). The most recent hurricanes to strike the Eastern Caribbean were Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in the summer of 2017. Within the Embassy’s area of responsibility, Irma struck Antigua and Barbuda most heavily, causing severe damage to nearly every structure on the island and completely destroying the utilities infrastructure. Hurricane Maria arrived just weeks later, making landfall on Dominica and leaving the island with only sporadic electricity and water for months. While in these instances much of the damage was caused by hurricane-force winds, due largely to inadequate drainage infrastructure, even storms without such powerful winds can cause extensive flooding damage through sheer rainfall.

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 – a 7.4 that caused one fatality -- in the region occurred on November 29, 2007, 30 miles northwest of Martinique.

Grenada has the only known submarine volcano (Kick 'em Jenny) in the region, located five miles north of the mainland. The first recorded eruption occurred in 1939. Studies dating back to 1972 indicate that minor eruptions have been occurring on a fairly regular basis and that the summit of the volcano is growing at a rate of approximately four meters (13 feet) per year. The potential hazard of Kick 'em Jenny to the Eastern Caribbean lies in the form of a tsunamis should a major, underwater volcanic eruption occur.

Economic Concerns

Strong intellectual property regulation is foreign to the Caribbean, and enforcement is relatively weak. 

Privacy Concerns

The growth of internet usage and social media has raised concerns about privacy of 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 effective enforcement of these laws is somewhat reduced by lack of resources.  

While local drug dealers do get involved in shootings, this type of activity is localized and not directed at innocent citizens. The Eastern Caribbean countries are primarily drug transshipment points from South America (Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and 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. For more information, please review OSAC’s Report, “Kidnapping: The Basics.”

Police Response

Regional police forces usually cooperate with U.S. counterparts; however, response time to law enforcement and security requests can be quite slow due to inadequate funding, lack of equipment and training, and staffing shortages. The level of professionalism and quality of service can vary from island to island, and the level of protection is directly proportional to an incident’s possible impact on the tourist trade. Areas frequented by tourists command a more visible police presence than other parts of the island. Uniformed police presence is higher in residential and business areas frequented by tourists. Police stations and outposts are usually strategically located in those areas. American citizens who reside in the Eastern Caribbean do not always enjoy the same level of police protection that regional governments provide to tourist areas.

The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) response in tourist areas is usually timely and efficient, but response delays to the non-tourist, less populated and rural areas of the islands can be significant. However, 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 Tel: 1-246-227-4000 (24/7). Consular Officers at the U.S. Embassy do routinely check on the well-being of incarcerated American citizens, work to ensure that American citizens have access to legal counsel, if desired, and are treated fairly in accordance with local and international laws.

In Grenada, for routine inquiries call (473) 444-1173 to 6. The after-hours/emergency contact number is (473) 407-2495. 

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 the hours of 1400 and 1600, Monday through Friday (excluding U.S. and Barbados holidays). You may also send an email to BridgetownACS@state.gov.

In Grenada, for routine inquiries call (473) 444-1173 to 6. The after-hours/emergency contact number is (473) 407-2495. You may also send an email to StGeorgesACS@state.gov.

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, proceed 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 IV's and other advanced life support services.

Ambulance Service in Barbados: 311

Emergency Service in Grenada: 911

Contact Information for Available Medical Services

The U.S. Embassy in Barbados maintains lists of medical facilities and physicians by country for American citizens needing medical care. For more information, please see the Embassy’s Medical Assistance page.

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 and for Grenada.

OSAC Country Council Information

The Bridgetown Country Council is active and meets quarterly. Interested private-sector security managers should contact OSAC’s Western Hemisphere Team with any questions.

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.

 

U.S. Embassy of Grenada

Lance Aux Epines

St. George’s

Grenada, W.I.

Embassy Barbados Contact Numbers

Embassy Main: (246) 227-4100

Marine Post One: (246) 227-4066

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

Embassy Grenada Contact Numbers

Embassy Main: (473) 444-1173 to 6

Emergency Contact Number: (473) 407-2495

Website: https://bb.usembassy.gov/embassy/grenada/

Consular coverage for multi-post countries

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown Chief of Mission (COM) 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.

Additional Resources

Barbados Country Information Sheet

Grenada Country Information Sheet