Crime and Safety in Turks and Caicos
Last night before I went to bed I saw a news report stating that another American tourist had been shot in Turks and Caicos. Most of you know this is the second American that has been shot this summer in a robbery type incident. The strange thing is the last one happened in June on the same day that we left the island. This particular shooting happened the same day that my sister left the island. Anyway, that is of absolute no importance, but I still think its super weird that it happened like that.
As I went to sleep last night, all I could think about was the shooting that just happened and the one that happened in June. I honestly cannot imagine being on vacation and having this happen to me or my husband/family/friends. It really is terrifying to think about. My prayers go out to both of these families and I hope that everyone recovers both physically and mentally from a situation like this.
So, today when I woke up I knew that I must talk about the crime in Turks and Caicos. If you look up crime in Turks and Caicos, you will see that Turks and Caicos is actually one of the safest islands in the “Caribbean” (even though it is technically not in the Caribbean) and the crime rate there is equivalent to that of a major city in the US. Most of the crime in Turks and Caicos does happen in Providenciales because it is more populated so obviously there is going to be more crime where there is a higher population of people.
Crime in Turks and Caicos
I wanted to write this post because I do not want people to think that when they land in Turks and Caicos that they have to fear being shot on their way to their hotel or on the beach. It is not like this at all in fact. I have been places that do feel like this.
My husband and I have never once felt unsafe in Turks and Caicos. We treat it as we would any city at night. I am not going to walk down deserted roads alone…I am not going to wear flashy jewelry and try to be all showy with it…I am not going to wander around the island at night…I am not going to wander the beach at midnight…I am not going to wander the streets at one am. What I am trying to say is I am going to use the same common sense in Turks and Caicos that I would in the US. I wouldn’t do any of those things in a US city…why would I do them in Turks and Caicos.
I live in a super small town that I consider to be 100% safe. Doing any of the things I listed above in my little town would not concern me. But, would I do it somewhere else – Absolutely not.
Also, I want to be clear that despite these instances…NO ONE deserves to be hurt…no matter the circumstance. It is not the guy’s fault that he got shot back in June in Turks and Caicos and he certainly did not deserve it just for being out late and in the wrong place at the wrong time. Same thing goes for the guy in his villa…he did not deserve to be robbed and shot.
But, we can learn from those situations. My husband and I always rent a car in Turks and Caicos. We drive all over that island and have never felt unsafe. There was this one time we took a wrong turn and there were some locals sitting on their front porch they simply looked at us and pointed us back in the opposite direction. Not all locals are bad.
I have also done extensive research on this island…I mean I have a blog about it and it is my favorite vacation spot…my happy place…so I am constantly reading things about it and following anything I can find on social media that pertains to the island.
I read quite some time ago to be very cautious about renting a villa. I’ve read that there are some that will follow you back to where you are staying and if staying in a villa they have easier access to rob you. So, from the very beginning I knew that I would never stay in a villa – despite a security guard and alarm system.
The resorts are more secure and you are less likely to get your room broken into in a resort. For that reason, I will always choose to stay in a resort with lots of other people. Also, keep your things of value in a lock box in the room. You will more than likely not have your room inside a resort broken into, but again, just use some common travel sense and you should be fine.
Quick Story about Jamaica
My husband and I stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica on our honeymoon. We had a few sketchy things happen to us during the trip. So, I will say that by the time our last night rolled around, I was ready to leave – which is never the case when I am on vacation. I always want to stay. On our last night there, we had been down to where the locals were selling hand made goods (inside our resort). My husband had his cash in a rubber band. It probably looked like a lot of money but was actually under $100. He used this to pay for our souvenirs that we bought.
After buying our souvenirs, we went back to the room to pack because our flight left early the next morning. As we were packing, our room phone rang. I answered it because I thought it may have had something to do with us checking out. Instead, no one said a thing. I hung up. The phone rang again, no one answered again. I hung up. After the second time, I thought it was pretty odd. I mean, our families had our cell phone numbers and not the resort numbers.
About five minutes after that, we get a knock at our door. We are not stupid, so we peeked through the peep hole before opening the door. There stood a guy at our door…not dressed in hotel attire. We just looked at each other and were like…we are not opening that door. So, we just ignored him…thinking he would go away as we continued to pack. A few moments passed and he began running and hitting the door and shaking the door knob.
This went on for about 20 minutes. We sat helpless in our room watching this guy try to break in our room – through our peep hole. The way the rooms were laid out…there was a door from the hallway that actually closed the hallway from the actual guest room doors. So, that door was closed so no one could see this man trying to break into our room. We had nothing to defend ourselves if he broke in. We did like they do on the movies and put a chair underneath our door knob. We also took the Red Stripe glass beer bottles from our refrigerator thinking we would throw them at him if he made it in. Our room was on the second floor so we couldn’t just walk out that way either.
Finally, after what seemed like hours (only about 20 minutes) this person left us alone. We were scared to call anyone because we felt quite sure the guy was working with the front desk. I mean, what explains them calling our room to make sure we were in there. I am confident they wanted us in there because they saw the money my husband had rolled up in his rubber band. It was stupid of us to take this out and pay for our goods, but we did and we learned our lesson.
Needless to say…we were so ready to leave Jamaica. We didn’t feel safe there from the very beginning and especially not by the end. My point – I never felt safe in Jamaica. My husband and I have traveled to quite a few places in the Caribbean and not a one of them compares to the safety we feel in Turks and Caicos. I also wanted to tell this so everyone understands that we are well aware of what can happen. We escaped our situation thankfully. However, it became a learning experience for us to always keep your eyes and ears open and pay attention to what is going on around you – anywhere but especially on vacation and in another country.
Traveling to Turks and Caicos
Please do not let the shootings and such scare you from visiting such a magical place. Their crime rate is less, but it is still there. The islands in general have a lot of crime. Turks has less but that doesn’t mean ZERO. They have their share of robberies, burglaries, and shootings. But, at the end of the day, it is much safer there than most places. Go to Turks and Caicos, stay in a resort, go to the beach, go to dinner at night, and then come back to the resort and go to your room. Like I said, we travel all over the island during the day and have never once had a fear of being robbed. You will easily see which areas you need to stay away from and you are not going to go explore at night.
Do not let a fear of something like this happening prevent you from living your life and enjoying things you love. Shootings happen every day in my neighboring towns…does this prevent me from going there…No. Why…because I just use my common sense and try not to place myself in certain situations. If I use caution and my common sense and something happens…well then I guess it is just God’s plan. I could just as easily get shot in the US as I could in Turks and Caicos.
Again, I pray for those families who have had to go through such horrible events while on Vacation in Turks and Caicos. As I said, no matter the circumstance, they certainly did NOT deserve it.
- Stay in a resort – Not a villa
- Do not wear flashy jewelry
- Leave NOTHING in your rental cars
- Do not walk down the empty, dark beach at night
- Do not walk in remote areas at night
- If you are out walking from dinner at night, stay with a crowd, in well-lit areas
- Before you walk back to your room from dinner alone – Get a Taxi
- Lock your belongings in the safe in your room
- Do not ride with or pick up strangers…not even a WOMAN
- COMMON SENSE
Unfortunately, events like this cause people to not want to visit because they are scared. Not all people in Turks and Caicos are bad or dangerous. As a matter of fact, most of the people we have met are very nice, helpful people. Do not let the bad people ruin the good things about the island. It seems as there are always those “bad ones” that have to try and ruin things for everyone.
At the end of the day, the crime in Turks and Caicos is low but nowhere near non-existent. Go and have a good time but just use your common sense, judgement, and your gut feeling. If something seems not right, it probably isn’t. You do not have to go and “live in fear” the entire time you are there. Can I guarantee nothing will happen – of course not? But we only hear about the bad things and not about the great experiences from everyone else. Go and have fun.