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Antigua and Barbuda - Crime and Safety

There have been instances of violent crime in Antigua and in that respect it is important to take the same precautions with your own safety as you would in any country. It is advisable to avoid wandering on the beaches alone after dark and to avoid less densely populated areas.

Tourist areas are always targets for petty criminals such as pickpockets so it is wise to keep an eye on all valuables and not leave belongings unattended on a beach or in a car. There have also been reports of thefts from hotel rooms and villas. It is also advisable to be careful when using taxis. The driver should be licensed and a member of the regulatory body. If the driver is unlicensed there is a risk of being charged extortionate fees.

To obtain emergency assistance from the police if you are a victim of crime you can dial 911. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the location of the nearest police station should you need it. You should also make sure you are familiar with the telephone number of the embassy of your home country should you need their assistance.

Antigua and Barbuda is a low risk of the threat of terrorism although nowhere is truly free from the threat. Terrorists tend to target public places, particularly those frequented by tourists so it is advisable to be vigilant and if you have any concerns report them immediately. Generally speaking the crime rate is much lower than that in other countries and violent crime is very rare.

The justice system is based on that of the English system, consisting of magistrate's courts, an industrial court, high court and court of appeal. Those who wish to take matters further than that can take their cases to the UK's Queens Privy Council. Antigua and Barbuda is also part of the Caribbean Court of Justice which is intended as an appeals court.

The police are not permitted to arrest people indiscriminately and anybody who has been arrested must appear in court within 48 hours. However, the system does tend to move slowly and if you are arrested then it can take several months for a proper trial to actually take place. The police are also not permitted to search a person's belongings either at home or in public without first having excellent reason and permission from their superiors to do so.

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