Authorities in the Bahamas say they are cracking down on crime after the U.S. issued a security alert warning that the archipelago has reported at least 18 slayings in January.
The U.S. Department of State issued a Level 2 travel advisory for travelers planning on going to the Bahamas. The advisory tells travelers to “exercise increased caution” due to crime.
The number of reported killings rose to 19 over the weekend, with police holding a news conference on Sunday to talk about recent operations that led to the seizure of weapons, ammunition and drugs. None of the killings have targeted any foreigners.
The U.S. Embassy said that most of the crime has occurred on the islands of New Providence and Grand Bahama, with “retaliatory gang violence” behind most of the killings.
“Murders have occurred at all hours, including in broad daylight on the streets,” it said in a statement last week.
U.S. officials said the local population is the one primarily affected by the high homicide rate.
The number of homicides reported in the archipelago of roughly 400,000 people last year weren’t immediately available, but killings increased by 8% from 2021 to 2022, with 128 slayings reported, up from 119, according to the Royal Bahamas Police Force.