Violent crime remains high in Trinidad and Tobago, warns US


In its latest travel update, the US State Department has warned that violent crime remains high in Trinidad and Tobago.

The update, issued on Sunday, cautioned that the high crime rate “affects local and expatriate communities, as well as tourists,” and advised visitors to “exercise caution and good judgment.”

“Be particularly cautious when traveling after dark from Trinidad’s Piarco Airport as incidents have been reported in the past involving armed robbers trailing arriving passengers from the airport and accosting them in remote areas of the airport parking lot, on the highway leading from the airport to downtown Port-of-Spain, and outside the gates of residences,” the State Department warned.

Areas to be avoided in the Port-of-Spain metro area included Laventille, Morvant, Sea Lots, Beetham, the interior of the Queen’s Park Savannah, South Belmont, and Cocorite, the update said.

Places that should be avoided after dark included scenic rest stops and public parks, including Fort George, downtown Port-of-Spain, the interior and perimeter of Queen’s Park Savanah, and all beaches, according to the statement.

It added that tourists are particularly vulnerable to pick-pockets and armed assaults in these locations, with an increase in criminal activity often experienced at holiday periods, especially Carnival and Christmas.

Violent crimes, including assault, kidnapping for ransom, sexual assault and murder, have involved expatriate residents and tourists, including US citizens, the State Department said.

“The perpetrators of many of these crimes have not been arrested. It is highly recommended that female visitors and residents avoid travelling alone, particularly at night or in secluded areas,” it advised.

According to the travel update, burglaries of private residences are common, with robbery a risk, particularly in urban areas and especially near ATMs and shopping malls.

“You should avoid wearing expensive jewellery, riding in flashy cars, or displaying large amounts of money in public,” it said. In some cases, robberies of Americans have turned violent and resulted in injuries after the victim resisted handing over valuables.

“When riding in a vehicle, always be sure to have your windows up and doors locked,” it advised.

“On more than one occasion, US citizens have been approached in their vehicles by people attempting to attain rides to nearby areas despite the short, walkable distance and availability of public transportation.

“It is highly advisable to avoid offering rides to people you do not know,” it urged.

With reference to Tobago, the department said that violent crime was an issue, “including attacks on expatriate residents and tourists in their residences, many of which involve the use of machetes.”

According to the State Department, there have been reports of home invasions in the Mount Irvine/Buccoo Bay, and Bacolet areas, as well as robberies at the waterfalls and on isolated beaches in Tobago where visitors are not in a group.

“If you rent a villa or private home, the Embassy urges you to ensure adequate, 24-hour security measures are in place,” the statement advised.

“Visitors residing at these facilities have encountered intruders in the middle of the night who entered their rented, private residences with copied sets of the actual keys.”



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