Trinidad and Tobago 2016 Crime & Safety Report
Travel Health and Safety; Transportation Security; Stolen items; Theft; Assault; Fraud; Murder; Hotels; Burglary; Rape/Sexual Violence; Kidnapping; Drug Trafficking; Piracy; Riots/Civil Unrest; Earthquakes; Intellectual Property Rights Infringement; Financial Security
Western Hemisphere > Trinidad and Tobago; Western Hemisphere > Trinidad and Tobago > Port of Spain
Overall Crime and Safety Situation
The government faces numerous challenges in its effort to reduce crime, including an overburdened legal system, bureaucratic resistance to change, unemployment in marginal areas, disenfranchised youth, the negative influence of gangs, drugs, weapons, and an economic recession.
Post Crime Rating: Critical
Crime in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) continues to be a serious concern, although Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) 2015 crime statistics show a 6.7 percent decrease in overall serious criminal activity as compared to 2014. Crime is the principal threat to visitors, and most are crimes of opportunity. American citizens have been victims of pickpocketing, assault, theft/robbery, fraud, and murder. Visitors to local hotels have reported the theft of items from their rooms. While not common during daylight hours, robberies and petty theft have been reported. There is no evidence to indicate that foreigners, specifically expatriates, are targeted in particular, but crimes (robbery, break-ins/burglary, vehicular break-ins, home invasions, assaults (including sexual assaults)) do occur in areas frequented by tourists and in which the expatriate community lives.
Violent crime remains a major concern for local security services and the general population. Despite the seizure of 691 firearms in 2015, almost 81 percent of murders were committed by firearm, continuing to highlight the problem of imported and often illegal weapons and firearms smuggling. Drug trafficking and gang-related activities continue to fuel the demand for illegal weapons. According to TTPS statistics, there were 420 murders in 2015, 403 murders in 2014, 407 murders in 2013, 379 murders in 2012, and 352 murders in 2011 out of a population of approximately 1.3 million people. The detection rate for murder was 13.6 percent for 2015, a decrease from 16.1 percent in 2014. The murder rate continues to be driven primarily by gang- and drug-related activities that are concentrated in a few urban areas (primarily, though not limited to, East Port of Spain), with limited spillover into the wider community.
According to several sources, including the 2012 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Caribbean Human Development Report and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs 2013 report entitled “Gangs Are The New Law In Urban Trinidad & Tobago,” approximately 100 criminal gangs were identified in T&T. These gangs, as well as other organizations, were linked to crimes related to weapons smuggling, fraud, and other organized criminal activities.
Reported instances of crimes related to sexual assault and domestic violence decreased to 625 in 2015 from 825 in 2014; in 2013 there were 551 reports.
In late 2011, the government implemented a State of Emergency to deal with what they deemed specific and emerging threats. Along with the State of Emergency, a curfew in particular areas of the country was imposed. During the State of Emergency, the murder rate was greatly reduced, contributing to lower numbers of murders for 2011.
The majority of violent crimes (homicides, kidnappings, assaults, sexual assaults) in Trinidad are gang/drug-related or domestic in nature. A significant and growing portion of this violence is attributed to the influence of gangs, illegal narcotics, and firearms. Most reported crimes occur within the metropolitan areas of Port of Spain and San Fernando. While there were 805 less reported serious crimes in 2015 compared to 2014, the overall percent of crimes that resulted in an arrest remained steady at 23 percent for both years.
In Tobago, crimes of murder, home invasion, petty theft (including theft of cash and passports stolen from hotel rooms), swindling, and fraud continue to affect tourists. Several violent home invasions targeted well-to-do homes and villas sometimes rented to tourists:
In October 2015, a British couple was found murdered in their Carnbee Village home. Police charged two individuals with the crime; robbery seems to be the motive, as bank surveillance footage showed them using the couple’s stolen ATM cards.
In November 2014, an elderly German couple who resided in Tobago were murdered in the Bacolet Beach area; the case remains under investigation.
There were seven murders in Tobago in 2015, eight in 2014, and three in 2013.
There have been incidents of piracy in the waters between T&T and Venezuela in which vessels were boarded and the occupants assaulted, robbed, and in some cases murdered. While the majority of incidents have involved local fishermen, there is a small community of private boat owners who stay in Trinidad temporarily during the hurricane season that have also been affected.
Other Areas of Concern
U.S. citizens are advised that, due to serious safety and security concerns, U.S. government personnel and their families are restricted from traveling to the following areas (see yellow shaded areas of map): Laventille, Sea Lots, Cocorite, Beetham, the Interior of Savannah, Downtown POS (after dark), Ft. George (after dark), and all beaches (after dark).
Road Safety and Road Conditions
Vehicles are driven on the left side of the road, although driving regulations are similar to those in the U.S. Local law requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts and motorcyclists to wear helmets. Children under five years of age should ride in a child-safety seat, and older children should ride in a back seat. The use of cellular telephones is prohibited while driving, unless used with a hands-free device. Persons caught talking on a cellular telephone while driving can be fined. Drivers should be alert for the use of hand signals to indicate turning, slowing, or stopping, none of which necessarily correspond to hand signals used in the U.S. Trinidadian drivers are generally courteous but can be flexible with the rules of the road.
Road travel is generally safe; however, there continue to be a relatively high number of traffic fatalities from speeding and drunk driving. Road fatalities decreased in 2014 to 143, down from 151 in 2013 and 189 in 2012. In January 2015, the government amended provisions of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act to significantly increase the fines associated with driving under the influence ($12,000 TT (approx. US$1,900) for a first conviction) and other road offences, including speeding and failing to submit to a breathalyzer test. Traffic wardens help to monitor and enforce traffic safety; however, they have no powers of arrest and often request the assistance of the TTPS if an arrestable offense occurs. Unannounced road checks are not uncommon and may occur at any time.
The Beetham Highway, a main thoroughfare in/out of the city, is dangerous if a vehicle has broken down. If your vehicle is mobile, you should get out of the area before seeking help. On the Beetham stretch, there are regular incidents of persons running out into the road or throwing debris (including masonry bricks) at cars to cause accidents and force cars to stop. A group of accomplices then descends upon the accident victims, robbing them of valuables, and often violently assaulting them, even if they are compliant.
Trinidad has good four-lane highways and one controlled-access highway. However, road quality decreases quickly on secondary roads. Rural roads are narrow and often have deep drainage ditches on either side. Many are in poor repair and are frequently congested. Night travel should be avoided other than on major highways. Roadside assistance exists but is limited and may be subject to lengthy delays; it is recommended to carry water and a charged cellular phone with you.
When driving at night, use well-traveled, well-illuminated streets. Plan your route before you leave. Do not stop your car if you are flagged down along the road; hitchhikers are usually swindlers and can be threatening. Criminals are also known to follow travelers from the airport to their destination.
Public Transportation Conditions
Traditional, non-shared, marked taxis do not exist. Private taxis are available at the airports and major hotels, but they are unmetered and unmarked. You can hire them to take you door-to-door, but fares should be agreed upon in advance. Private taxis and route taxis both have plate numbers beginning with “H.” You should ensure your taxi is not a route taxi before getting in, because route taxis will stop to pick up additional passengers. Crimes (rapes, assaults, robberies, thefts) have taken place inside taxis. Taxis have also caused serious traffic accidents when they swerved suddenly across several lanes to pick up/discharge passengers.
You should also avoid small buses and vans known as “Maxi Taxis” for the same reasons.
You should use only private taxis for transportation around Port of Spain, and only private taxis or full-sized inter-city buses for travel between cities. If unsure, consult with the establishment where you are residing or through your travel agency, if applicable.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Trinidad’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
The Piarco International Airport is a hub for flights throughout the Caribbean. Airport services may be slow or not up to Western standards, but there are no concerns for safety or scams. The airport is located approximately (28km east) of the city. The Piarco Airport Taxi Cooperative Society provides service to/from the airport. Taxis are located outside the arrival area, and drivers are uniformed in white shirt, black/blue trousers, and a yellow photo identification pass.
Piarco Airport Taxi Cooperative Society: 868-669-1689
Dispatcher Contact Number: 868-669-0282
Travelers are recommended to have Trinbagonian currency for taxi fare; fares are typically negotiated in advance with the taxi driver. T&T police and Airport Authority Officers are posted throughout the airport, and private security is located in the parking lot areas to assist in an emergency.
Other Travel Conditions
There are a number of tour organizations that arrange travel throughout the islands, with varying degrees of service. None is deemed off-limits.
Post Terrorism Rating: Low
Local, Regional, and International Terrorism Threats/Concerns
Radical elements are thought to make contact with individuals and groups with possible terrorist ties around the world. Given the crime rate and some weaknesses in border control, there remains a continued concern that T&T could be utilized as a transit point for potential terrorists or terrorist organizations. In September 2014, the government signed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) anti-terrorist resolution, indicating its commitment to fighting terrorism. Traffickers continue to exploit T&T’s relatively porous borders to move drugs and weapons, and it is possible that organizations could use similar routes for terrorist-related activities.
There are no known indigenous terrorist groups operating in T&T&. However, local newspapers cite government sources reporting that T&T nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Muslims make up about five percent of the population and are roughly equally split between persons of African and Indian heritage. Fighters appear to have come from both the Afro-Trini and Indo-Trini Muslim communities, and many appear to have had prior affiliations with criminal gangs. In 2015, T&T has taken steps to address foreign terrorist fighters. Organizations within the Ministry of National Security identify and closely monitor the travel and activity of persons of interest. In addition, the previous government formed a National Counterterrorism Working group, chaired by the former T&T Chief of Defense Staff, to draft a National Counterterrorism Strategy. The draft strategy takes into account international and domestic commitments in combatting terrorism, and the specific nature of the terrorist threat to T&T, identifying the priorities, principles, and key assumptions. In November 2015, an ISIL propaganda video circulating on the Internet and social media, featured several young men claiming to be Trinidadian nationals fighting in Syria. Since 2014, sporadic videos alleged to feature Trinidadian nationals in support of ISIL have surfaced on social media; this has led the government to address the issue of terrorism and foreign fighters.
In December 2015, the T&T High Court ruled Trinidadian national Kareem Ibrahim as a terrorist, allowing the state to proceed with freezing his local assets in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Act (2005). The judgment is the first under the law and will likely play a far more important role setting legal precedents on terrorism rulings in the court system for future, more substantial matters. In 2012, the U.S. Eastern District Court convicted Ibrahim to life in prison for conspiring to commit a terrorist attack at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport. (Ibrahim died on January 19 in a U.S. federal medical center in Missouri.)
In March 2014, 17 Trinidadians (men, women, and children) were detained by Venezuelan authorities for terrorist-related activities. Twelve were subsequently released and returned to Trinidad, while five were reportedly charged in November 2014 with terrorism and alleged to have received training from Venezuelan police officers who were charged with treason and criminal conspiracy. The individuals remain in Venezuelan custody.
Although terrorism poses a low threat to travelers, all should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. The call for self-radicalization, whether disseminated on extremist forums, or via the broader approach with social media, continue to be a global concern. It is difficult to determine what message will inspire a violent extremist. These could take place in public areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, as demonstrated by terror attacks in France and Turkey. Travelers should review the U.S. Department of State’s most recent Worldwide Caution.
The majority of Trinbagonians regard Americans and Westerners in a positive manner and are friendly to foreigners.
Political, Economic, Religious, and Ethnic Violence
The radical Muslim organization Jamaat al- Muslimeen (JAM), which is locally-based, was responsible for a violent, unsuccessful coup attempt in July 1990. Since then, JAM and its leaders have focused on Islamic education and a number of business ventures and have been linked to serious crimes, including murder. In September 2010, the government launched a formal inquiry with the establishment of a five-member Commission of Enquiry into the 1990 coup attempt. Throughout its tenure, the Commission interviewed numerous individuals and held more than a dozen public hearings in an attempt to understand what led to the coup attempt. On March 13, 2014, the final report of the Commission was presented to the President and a day later to Parliament. In her address before Parliament, then-Prime Minister Kamala Persad-Bissessar stated: “The findings of the Commission of Enquiry will be to ensure that history will not repeat itself, and to see what can be done to ensure that if such an event arises again, it can be better contained for the benefit of you the Trinidad and Tobago people.”
As a result of elections on September 7, a new prime minister and government came to power. The new Minister of National Security continues to discuss national security in the areas of crime and counter-terrorism with stakeholders and Parliament.
Post Political Violence Rating: Low
Trinidad experiences periodic demonstrations by labor unions over salary negotiations, tax structures, and other issues involving public resources or government operations.
Demonstrations are occasionally held, are often large, and usually take place in/near Parliament downtown or outside the Prime Minister’s Offices in St. Clair. Demonstrations must be approved in advance by the police who typically provide appropriate coverage. Foreigners are advised to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. U.S. citizens are advised to consider the risk of attending or being near large public gatherings or those venues where Westerners gather on a routine or predictable basis. Such gatherings or venues could provide vulnerable targets for extremist or terrorist groups.
T&T is a multi-ethnic country with a diversity of religions; Christians, Hindus, and Muslims comprise the main religious groups. The ethnic and religious composition of the two islands varies distinctly.
On Trinidad, those of African descent make up 32 percent of the population and are predominantly Christian, along with a small Muslim community concentrated in/around Port of Spain, along the east-west corridor of northern Trinidad, and in certain areas of central and south Trinidad. Those of East Indian descent comprise 37 percent of the population and are mostly Hindu, with some Muslims, Presbyterians, and Catholics.
The population of Tobago is 85 percent African-descendant and predominantly Christian.
Violence between religious groups is non-existent.
T&T has been rated in the “extremely vulnerable” category for seismic activity. The 2011 University of West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center Annual Report indicated that seismic activity remains elevated in the Paria Penninsula (extends eastward off Venezuela toward Trinidad). In 1955, an earthquake occurred north of Trinidad, which UWI deemed would have been catastrophic if it occurred in the same location within the islands’ current topography. The same report indicated that in 2011 four earthquakes considered “moderate,” measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, occurred near T&T. In October 2013, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake off the coast of Venezuela was widely felt in T&T; there were no reports of damage.
The islands are considered below the hurricane belt, though some storms have occurred nearby. Inadequate infrastructure and drainage as well as heavy rains occasionally cause flooding in certain urban areas, resulting in landslides that can block remote roads.
General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
The disruption of utility services as a result of industrial action group protests and non-violent demonstrations by labor organizations remains a concern.
Economic Espionage/Intellectual Property Thefts
The Embassy is not aware of any confirmed cases of industrial espionage.
T&T is on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Report Watch List, indicating that significant problems exist with respect to the protection or enforcement of intellectual property rights (IP) or market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. T&T’s lax enforcement means wrongdoing can only be uncovered by the content owner, who in many cases is not in the country.
Private companies are hesitant to pursue IP claims in T&T because of the country’s small market size and reputation for having a slow legal system. Those that have pursued claims generally receive limited engagement by law enforcement. The T&T Police Service’s statistics indicate that they have not detected any intellectual property crime in several years. Companies say T&T Customs Officers are hesitant to search containers, even with significant evidence that counterfeit products are present. In one case illustrative of the IPR regime, a U.S. company reported counterfeit products to government officials, but the allegedly infringing products were pulled from shelves just hours before an inspection, suggesting collusion between law enforcement and the seller of the counterfeit goods.
Trinidad is a major trans-shipment point for illicit drugs, and drug-related crimes are a significant contributor to crime.
According to TTPS crime statistics, there were 110 kidnappings in 2015, 94 in 2014, and 112 in 2013. There were four kidnappings-for-ransom in 2015 (one was solved), three in 2014, and four in 2013.
While you are in T&T, you are subject to its laws. There are also some things that might be legal in T&T but remain illegal in the U.S, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law. If you break local laws, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. For example, T&T law prohibits the use of obscene language to the annoyance of other persons on a street. Using obscene language (swearing) in public may result in an arrest. It is also illegal to carry ammunition when arriving, departing, or transiting T&T. In some cases, individuals found with as little as one bullet or even casings in their luggage have been detained, charged, and fined.
In recent years, in response to citizen concerns, the government bought additional police cruisers, constructed several new police stations, renovated several other police stations, recruited new officers, and made efforts to improve police customer service. Several units of the TTPS utilize some dashboard cameras, which support the TTPS’ goal to continue to earn the trust of members of the public through honesty, transparency, and accountability. Despite police labor union advice not to use body cameras, there are reports that units of the TTPS are using them.
In 2015, the government passed the Bail Amendment Bill, which denies bail for 120 days if a person over the age of 18 is caught with an illegal gun or accused of using a gun in the commission of a crime.
In 2014, the government implemented a Community Comfort Patrol (CCP) Program whereby marked CCP patrol vehicles are operated by private security officers under the authority of the TTPS and serve as a visible deterrent to criminal activity in residential communities. The CCP aims to enhance relations between communities and local law enforcement personnel. CCP officers are not authorized to carry firearms, but they may be equipped with handcuffs, batons, and flashlights. CCP officers are not granted any extraordinary powers of arrest but possess the same powers as any citizen to make an arrest when they suspect someone to have committed or be in the act of committing an arrestable offense, which is one that carries a penalty of 5 years or more to include, but not limited to: rape, robbery, burglary, arson, wounding, house-breaking, and larceny. The initial pilot program was expanded to cover 15 patrol sectors throughout T&T, excluding areas considered “hot spots” for crime where only law enforcement operate. The public is encouraged to report suspicious activity to the TTPS by phoning 999 so that an appropriate patrol unit can be dispatched or redirected to the location of need. This program remains operational, although it is unknown if it will continue given the economic recession and intention of the government to cut seven percent in budgetary allocations for all ministries in fiscal year 2016.
In 2013, the government implemented a limited Rapid Response Unit (RRU) for emergencies (similar to a 911 response in the U.S.). These police vehicles are equipped with GPS tracking technology and monitored by dispatchers to improve their response times to emergency calls. The RRUs have been operating with success on both islands.
How to Handle Incidents of Police Detention or Harassment
U.S. citizens detained or arrested by the TTPS should notify the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain immediately by email email@example.com or by calling 868-622-6371. U.S. citizens may also wish to contact a member of their family and an attorney. During an initial interview, the police may defer a request to make contact with family, but local law provides for both consular notification and an attorney upon request. Harassment is not common with foreigners, but you should report the incident to the U.S. Embassy if it occurs.
Crime Victim Assistance
Foreigners who are crime victims can expect to be treated and assisted with the same level of cooperation and fairness as that given to a local citizen.
The local emergency line is 991. If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy American Citizen Services (ACS) Office. If your passport is stolen, the Embassy can help you with replacement. For violent crimes, ACS can help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and help them to send you money if needed. Although the investigation and prosecution of a crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) falls under the Ministry of National Security. The TTPS functions in accordance with the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01. Over 6,500 police officers (in varying ranks) and special reserve police support the mandate of the Act. The TTPS is organized into nine divisions and 18 branches, squads, and units: Community Police, Police Complaints, Special Branch, Guard and Emergency Branch, Criminal Investigation Division and Criminal Records Office, Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit, Homicide, Fraud Squad, Court and Process, Police Band, Mounted and Canine Branch, Police Training College, E-999, Traffic and Highway Patrol Branch, Transport and Telecom, Criminal Gangs Intelligence Unit (CGIU), and the Cybercrime Unit.
Medical care is significantly below U.S. standards for treatment of serious injuries and illness, with limited access to supplies and medications. While care at some private facilities is better than at most public health facilities, patients may be expected to prove their ability to pay before assistance is given, even if emergency care is needed. Adequate private medical care is available in Port-of-Spain but is not up to the standards of industrialized countries. Medical care is substandard in the rest of the country. Patients requiring blood transfusions are expected to arrange for at least the same amount to be donated on their behalf. Physicians and nurses have been known to go on strike, causing strain on public and private medical services.
Ambulance service is often extremely limited in response time due to low availability and high demand. Ambulances provide basic life support services, with some companies moving toward advanced life support capabilities.
SCI EMS (868) 694 2404 (private service)
GMRTT: 811 for major trauma only (public service)
A recompression chamber is located in Roxborough, Tobago. Before diving, check that facilities are operational.
Contact Information for Hospitals/Clinics
Port of Spain General Hospital
Upper Charlotte Street, Port of Spain
San Fernando General Hospital
Independence Avenue, San Fernando
St. Clair Medical Centre
18 Elizabeth Street, Port of Spain
Emergency Room Located on St. Clair Avenue across from British High Commission
West Shore Medical Private Hospital
239 Western Main Road, Port of Spain
Scarborough General Hospital
Ford Street, Scarborough, Tobago
Available Air Ambulance Services
International SOS (ISOS) Assistance Inc.
3600 Horizon Blvd., Suite 300
Trevose, PA 19053
Philadelphia Assistance Center: +1-800-523-6586 or +1-215-942-8226
Operates fixed-wing fleet/aircrews based in south Florida, Puerto Rico, Phoenix (AZ), and San Diego (CA). Offers international service via network of affiliated aeromedical providers. REVA is a reliable, proven provider for the South America Region.
1745 NW 51st Pl, Hanger 73, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
24-hour response center number: +1-800-752-4195; +1-954-730-9300
Recommended Insurance Posture
Adequate evacuation insurance coverage for all travelers should be a high priority for travelers. Highly-specialized cases or complex emergencies may require evacuation to Miami (FL)
Country-specific Vaccination and Health Guidance
For additional information on vaccines and health guidance, please visit the CDC at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/trinidad-and-tobago?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-double-001.
OSAC Country Council Information
The Embassy is working to re-establish an active Country Council and held a two-day workshop in 2015. All U.S. private sector organizations and affiliates operating in the area are encouraged to participate. Interested parties should contact RSO Nicole Gallagher at 868-822-5915 or ARSO James Billington at 868-822-5935. To reach OSAC’s Western Hemisphere team, please email OSACWHA@state.gov.
U.S. Embassy Location and Contact Information
Embassy Address and Hours of Operation
U.S. Embassy Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
15 Queens Park West, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Business hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM;
Embassy Contact Numbers
Switchboard: +868 622-6371
Fax: +868 822-5905
Security Office: +868 822-5927
Marine Guard (24 Hours): +868 822-5999/5912
If you plan to reside in or visit T&T, please take the time to tell our Embassy about your presence in-country. To enroll your stay or visit, click the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) button at http://travel.state.gov. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Consular information is available at: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1113.html.
A valid passport is required of U.S. citizens for entry. A U.S. passport card alone is not accepted for entry or for direct air travel back to the U.S. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for tourism or business-related visits of 90 days or less. Work permits are required for compensated and some non-compensated employment, including missionary work. Visas may be required for travel for purposes other than business or tourism. Questions pertaining to visas should be directed to the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, 1708 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036, tel (202) 467-6490, or the Trinidad and Tobago Consulates in Miami or New York City.
Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Situational Awareness Best Practices
Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. Do not carry with you more than you are willing to lose. Carry your belongings in a secure manner and be alert/aware of your surroundings, especially when in crowds. Do not leave your valuables unattended and place articles in your vehicle’s trunk before arriving at your destination. Do not travel alone after dark, and do not walk in isolated areas at night. Remain alert to what is going on around you when in public. Avoid suspicious individuals who may be looking for potential victims. If possible, seek a safer location, like a nearby store or bank. If there are no safe locations nearby, cross the street and alter your route. Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. While this is a personal decision, statistics show that victims who resist are more likely to be injured or even killed by their attackers.
Do not withdraw large amounts of cash from banks or ATMs. If you need to withdraw a large sum of money for a transaction, consider cashing a check or conducting an electronic transfer instead. Use caution when using U.S. credit cards, as they do not offer the same levels of protection as many international credit cards (requiring a PIN for transactions). If using a credit card, ensure that the credit card stays in your sight and monitor the billing activity on that card for several months after you return home.
Sailors should report any piracy incidents to the T&T Coast Guard and local police and are encouraged to check with the Coast Guard and yacht facility managers for current information.