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Trinidad and Tobago - Crime and Safety

While there are some areas of the islands which have fairly low crime levels, the occurrence of violent crime is becoming more frequent, particularly in areas where law enforcement is lax. There have been several instances of shootings and kidnappings, particularly against expats living on the islands.

There is a continuing threat of terrorist attack, as there is in most parts of the world. All residents of the islands are urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police, particularly in areas where tourists spend a lot of time.

Trinidad is suffering from an increase in gang violence, though this tends to be confined to the inner city areas of Port of Spain. These areas suffer from burglaries and thefts from cars and tourists and other visitors are advised to keep clear of these areas. Violent crime such as muggings and robberies is also on the increase. Tourist sites are among those which have seen an increase in armed robberies and other locations in which to take care include some beaches and car parks.

Tobago suffers more from crime against tourists and one of the major concerns is the low success rate of the Tobago police force. Recent improvement initiatives have seen better response times from the police. There have been a number of incidents involving those who have rented villas on the island. It is advised that those renting villas should ensure that there is adequate security in place such as security lighting, grills on the doors and windows and if possible, security guards.

When out and about there are a number of security measures that the local police advise. Having a mobile phone with you at all times is important, as is not carrying large amounts of cash or wearing a lot of jewellery. Tourists are also advised not to walk around alone at night and take care when using taxis.

There are several numbers which can be dialled for assistance in an emergency. The general rapid response number is 999 which will link you to the emergency services. The police force is made up of different departments which include traffic police, beat officers, investigating officers and forensic examiners, among others. The courts system is comprised of a magistrate's court, a high court, a supreme court and an appeals court. Each area has its own magistrate's court and these deal with less serious crimes while the high court hears cases on serious crimes and high value civil matters.

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