Wondering about street crime in Nassau, Bahamas? First we witness a tourist robbery, then meet another tourist just robbed at gunpoint.
We’re standing on Bay Street, the main drag, while I’m checking email on my iPod.
“Hold onto your stuff, these guys are targeting us,” Bob said. I had the iPod in one hand, a good camera in the other. We’d planned to stroll down the beach to where we spent our first three years together. A seven-mile stroll, but one we’d done daily in the eighties, often on bikes.
I glanced up and saw the two suspects crossing toward us. Suddenly they caught sight of a better-looking target. A pair of men, one shirtless, who were cutting through the parking lot of the Hilton British Colonial, heading back to their room. As the scruffy suspects approached the tourists, Bob narrated: “They’re offering drugs,” he said. A tourist is offered drugs in Nassau as often as tourists are offered “copy watches” in Italy or Singapore.
“Crack or weed,” was the actual offer.
“Weed,” the shirtless one said.
A deal was struck. $60 for an eighth, the victim later told us, twice what he pays in Canada, “but what the hell.” He pulled out the cash. The “dealer” grabbed it and ran. He dashed between cars in the parking lot, cut through a lush tropical border planting, jumped a five-foot wall, and ran down a side street. His partner had disappeared during the deal-making.
In terms of street crime in Nassau, this was pretty tame.
The victim, a Canadian, was both mad and bemused. A Bahamian man who’d also witnessed the robbery dragged the victim off to the police station. Interesting to see the story as slanted in the Nassau Tribune.
We gave up on visiting our old home and beach cove in Cable Beach. We wandered the streets and fended off a few more offers of pot. Do we really look like the target market?
Real street crime in Nassau
Then we met the Ad Koens, a visitor from Holland. He’d gone on a Segway tour. At 11:00 in the morning his entire group, eight tourists and one Bahamian tour leader, were held up at gunpoint and made to spread-eagle on the ground. Another group of nine was already down.
The bandits wielded shotguns. They tied one man’s wrists to a long wooden plank placed across his back. Ad was kicked in his ribs, others were kicked in the head. “It was very, very professional,” Ad said. They demanded everything of value: cameras, video cameras, iPods, wallets, purses, GPS devices—everything the tourists had on them. One man lost a Rolex and a laptop. Eighteen men and women robbed, and the two scruffy thieves got away.
After the ordeal, all eighteen victims were taken to the police department to file reports. They were shown 500 mug shots, 25 to a page, each the size of a postage stamp. When Bob asked the victim how he’d rate the police-reporting experience on a scale of one to ten, the answer was “Zero to one. It was a joke.”
The two robberies were front-page news in Nassau on Saturday, November 21.