Trinidad and Tobago have overtaken Jamaica in a dubious distinction: the “murder capital of the Caribbean.”

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“Although much of the violence is gang-related, in recent years tourists have increasingly become targets for robbery, sexual assault and murder,” says CDNN. INFO.

While homicides increased two percent in Jamaica in 2008, murders were up 38 percent in Trinidad and Tobago.

The US and the UK issued travel advisories warning travelers about increasing violence and the failure of police in Tobago to apprehend and prosecute criminals.
A US travel advisory warns travelers that armed robbers have been trailing tourists as they depart international airports in Trinidad and Tobago. It said:

“Violent crimes, including assault, kidnapping for ransom, sexual assault and murder, have involved foreign residents and tourists (and) incidents have been reported involving armed robbers trailing arriving passengers from the airport and accosting them in remote areas…the perpetrators of many of these crimes have not been arrested.”

The English-speaking Caribbean, which extends from the Bahamas in the north to Trinidad and Tobago in the south, averages 30 murders per 100,000 inhabitants per year, one of the highest rates in the world, according to the Economist.

With 550 homicides in 2008, Trinidad and Tobago has a rate of about 55 murders per 100,000 making it the most dangerous country in the Caribbean and one of the most dangerous in the world, according to press reports.
The rate of assaults, robbery, kidnapping and rape in Trinidad and Tobago is also among the highest in the world.

According to a report issued by the United States State Department, gang-related homicides and other crimes will continue to increase in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009 and 2010.