By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The United States Embassy in Nassau has warned Americans living in and travelling to New Providence and Freeport, Grand Bahama to be on “heightened alert” and to take “appropriate steps” to enhance their personal security to avoid becoming victims of crime.
The embassy issued a statement on Tuesday that highlighted the murder of two American citizens in The Bahamas in the last eight months, and several other incidents of armed robberies in the last week, which it said occurred in areas frequented by visitors.
Anthony Kyle Welch, 47, who moved to The Bahamas from Mississippi, was bound with duct tape and stabbed to death at his home on Albacore Drive, off Midshipman Road in Freeport, Grand Bahama, around 10 pm on Friday.
In May 2013, Kyle Brauner, 34, of Illinois, who was a crew member of a vessel docked in Nassau, was shot dead during a robbery shortly after leaving a bar around 4:30 am.
The embassy said that on Saturday two men, one of whom wielded an assault rifle, robbed an American couple at Jaws Beach of their vehicle and belongings. The couple was not injured.
The embassy highlighted several other armed robberies that occurred this month, including a man who was robbed of a deposit bag containing money outside CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank on January 14.
“Earlier this month, an armed robbery occurred in the Harbour Bay shopping center, and a local restaurant was robbed by armed assailants at the Caves Village shopping center. US citizens, residents and tourists frequent both of these areas.”
The armed robbery at Caves Village could not be found in the police daily crime reports.
In its statement, the embassy said armed robberies remain a major threat to US citizens throughout the country, including areas frequented by tourists.
“In the past eight months a number of US citizens have fallen victim to armed robbery and two have been murdered,” read the statement.
“The Royal Bahamas Police Force issued a message last year citing concerns about the increased number of armed robberies in [New Providence].
“In light of this situation, US citizens residing in or traveling to The Bahamas should review their personal security plans.
“Remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”
The embassy encouraged US citizens to enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to get the latest security updates and to be more easily contacted in case of an emergency by the embassy.
The embassy issued a similar crime warning in November 2013 citing at least three incidents in a six-month period where American visitors were robbed by machete-wielding assailants on Grand Bahama.
According to crime statistics released two weeks ago for 2013, armed robberies in the country fell by eight percent, from 1,106 cases to 1,022 cases, and robberies fell by two percent.
The data showed that most of the country’s crimes occurred in New Providence.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian