The U.S. State Department rates crime in Trinidad and Tobago as high, including one of the highest murder rates in the world. Certain areas of the country, including parts of the capital city Port of Spain, are dangerous places where visitors can be especially at risk of crime.
Most violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago is related to the drug trade. Travelers are usually not targeted as the victims of violent crime, although such crimes have occurred in areas frequented by tourists. Travelers have been victims of crimes of opportunity, such as pickpocketing, assault, theft/robbery, fraud, and murder. Most reported crimes take place in Port of Spain and the city of San Fernando.
As for the sister-island of Tobago, murder, home invasion, petty theft, and hustling have affected tourists, including theft of cash and passports taken from hotels rooms. Several violent home invasions have targeted well-to-do homes and villas sometimes rented to tourists.
The government of Trinidad and Tobago declared a curfew in 2011 to fight a surge in crime, and police resources have been beefed up in recent years. Visitors to the islands can expect to receive the same level of service from police as local residents ... but that response often is inadequate.
To avoid crime, travelers are advised to adhere to the following Crime Prevention Resources:
- In general, travel outside of tourist areas should be undertaken with caution, especially at night, due to the prevalence of unmarked and unlit roads.
- Be vigilant when using public telephones or ATM machines, especially those located near roadsides or in secluded areas.
- As in many U.S. metropolitan areas, wearing expensive jewelry, carrying expensive objects, or carrying large amounts of cash should be avoided.
- While at the beach, visitors should safeguard valuables. Although hotels and resorts are generally safe, loss of unattended items is possible.
- Hotel burglaries may occur in less reputable hotels, and all valuables should be locked in room safes when possible.
- Keep doors and windows locked especially at night. Burglaries of residences are generally achieved by exploiting a vulnerability such as unlocked doors and windows, substandard door and window grills, and poor or non-existent outdoor lighting.
Main roads in Trinidad and Tobago are generally safe. It is always safer to travel during the day than at night, and to make sure you stick to heavily populated areas and avoid side streets. When taking taxis, be sure to not enter unmarked cars without determining for certain that they work for a legitimate taxi company. If driving a rental car, be sure to lock the car when you leave and take any valuables with you. For absolute safety, keep any valuables locked away in your hotel room before going out.
Hurricanes only rarely hit Trinidad and Tobago. Earthquakes also can occur, and flooding is sometimes a danger. Read more about hurricane season in the Caribbean here.
In the event of a medical emergency, seek help at the Port of Spain General Hospital, San Fernando General Hospital, Seventh Day Adventist Center, St. Clair Medical Center, or the Tobago Regional Hospital.
For more details, see the Trinidad and Tobago Crime and Safety Report published annually by the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.