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Photographer Travel Warning Caribbean & St Maarten-St Martin

The Caribbean is a popular destination for many photographers thus I post this topic here as well as in other forums.

I just took a visit to St Maarten - St Martin and they are having a crime wave. There are two sides of the island which is the more affluent Dutch side and the less affluent French side. The French side is where the crime wave is taking place and some of it is leaking into the Dutch side. If you decide to visit this particular destination, stay out of the French side. There have been several armed robberies and muggings during the day time right on the beaches. The tourist will park their car and when they get back to the car they are jumped by 3 or more youths with knives or guns. Also, do not even consider a low-cost hotel. There have also been many hotel room breakins. Dont leave anything in the rental cars as those are being broken into as well.

I decided to Google several other Caribbean destinations and it seems there is a crime wave going on all over the Caribbean. When I visited Italy, there seemed to be a lot of petty thievery such as pickpockets, but whats going on in the Caribbean is more akin to violent crime. Muggings with knives and pistols, etc.

If you decide to visit any of the Caribbean Islands I strongly suggest you review your security measures before bringing out your full frame kit into public view. In fact, I used my EOS M during the entire trip as I was afraid I might get mugged with any more camera than that.

Comments

  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Thanks for that information, not that it will affect me but at least others will now be in the 'know'.

  • I hope they get this under control. Word will spread fast, Tourism will drop, and the crime will intensify. Thanks for the heads up.
  • It appears to me its getting worse. Thd police over there know about it, but dont seem to have any control over it. I was able to identify several incidents of very bold armed robberies in the news. Some of the news I found indicated the tourist was critically injured. In one article I read that a couple was assaulted stabbing the man and knocking the teeth out of the woman. I read about a body being found in a trunk.

    I know that many photographers love to go to the Caribbean and I felt a moral obligation to share the information I found on the issue.

    Ive been all over the world and many times I felt my gear was at stake, but never did I feel that my physical well being was at stake. If you go to the Caribbean with anything over a grand your life may be at stake.

    Take caution everyone with this destination. In fact, I will not be going back next year or more likely a few years.
  • I've researched this a little and have found the crime rate in much of the Caribbean has gone up quite a bit. St. Kitts, St Lucia, The Grenadines, as as well as St Martin (French Side). Should be of great concern to all our members and their families. And Michael is correct, they don't care if you're male or female.
  • I read this article about the safest Caribbean nations:

    http://gocaribbean.about.com/od/healthandsafety/a/CaribCrimeStats.htm

    These are the safest:

    Montserrat
    The Cayman Islands
    St. Barts
    British Virgin Islands
    Bonaire
    Martinique

    Personally speaking, I am not going to St Martin again for a very long time if at all. I enjoy photography and taking expensive gear with me. If I cant carry the gear I like or am constantly looking over my shoulder than thats not a place I should vacation. Italy might be the exception. You constantly have to look over your shoulder in Italy, but it has so many sites that you really have to go no matter the risk.

    One thing every photographer should carry in any area is a monopod. The monopod can be used as a defensive night-stick/baton. When carrying the monopod, you carry it in a ready position like leaning on your shoulder or in both hands. I have NEVER had any issues carrying around a monopod in NYC, Italy or anywhere for that matter. My Oben monopod is the same size and weight as an officer's night-stick. It doesnt provide great stabilization, but it can give a good defensive whack if need be.
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