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Carnival Safety
13 MINUTE READ
January 24, 2024

Event: The annual Carnival celebration will take place between Friday, February 9 and Tuesday, February 13.

Carnival is a cause for celebration full of festive events and positive energy. Unfortunately, it is also a time when some individuals attempt to interrupt and dampen the spirit. During past Carnival celebrations, crime has increased.  On top of the normal heightened risk of crime during Carnival, recent events in Trinidad and Tobago have resulted in an environment where individuals should exercise heightened situational awareness and caution due to elevated risks of crime, violence, and terrorism.

Good Situational Awareness Helps Your Safety for Carnival and Beyond

U.S. citizens are urged to share their security plan with friends and family while considering the following safety tips.

Before Carnival

Have a plan. In the event of a terrorist or criminal event, know what actions to take, including moving to a safe area away from the incident or seeking immediate shelter.

During Travel to and from the Airport

  • Criminal elements have been targeting individuals leaving the airport for both crimes of opportunity as well as gang-related violence.
  • Maintain a low profile while at the airport.  You and your visiting guests should avoid flashy vehicles, jewelry, clothing, luggage, or anything that makes them stand out as a potential target.
  • Exercise heightened situational awareness while leaving the airport to ensure that no vehicles are following you.
  • Drive defensively and maintain situational awareness while on the highway between Port of Spain and the airport.  The neighborhoods adjacent to the airport are historically known to the police as areas of heightened crime and violence. Recently there has been an increase in murders, kidnappings, and carjackings on these roads.

 

During Carnival

  • If you are being followed or harassed by an individual or another car, try to find the nearest police station, hotel, or other public facility to call the police (999).
  • Use extra caution when driving as the number of intoxicated drivers tends to increase.
  • To avoid vehicle break-ins, park in a safe, well-lit area, lock your vehicle, and do not leave valuables inside your car.
  • Have your keys in hand when you approach your vehicle and upon entry immediately start the vehicle and secure all doors and windows.
  • It is illegal to ride in the bed of a truck.
  • Maintain situational awareness as sexual harassment, assaults, and related crimes tend to increase due to higher alcohol consumption. Beverages may be drugged or spiked, so please always keep control of your drink.
  • Do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Be aware of your environment: Stay in well-lit and populated areas and use caution when walking alone, especially late at night.
  • Carry at least one form of identification when attending events and leave at least one form of identification at home in case the other is lost or stolen.
  • If you are bringing children to an event, identify them with their names, a contact phone number, and the address of a responsible person in case they should become separated from you.
  • If traveling with a group, select a meeting place in case of separation.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by tourists.
  • If you are a victim of a crime attempt, do not resist. Remain as calm as possible, do not make sudden movements, and give the perpetrator what he/she wants as quickly as possible. Do not attempt to follow the criminals after an incident. Immediately remove yourself from the area and contact local authorities. The U.S. Embassy will not be able to accept visitors, so please email acspos@state.gov and await further guidance.
  • Monitor local media for updates. In the event of a crisis or large-scale incident, phone service may become unavailable. Follow social media updates from Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), National Carnival Commission, Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Office, etc.
  • Carnival events can occur during late evening hours or early in the morning. While these events are usually crowded, exercise extreme caution when traveling to and from them.  Do NOT walk alone at night or traverse isolated areas.  Stay in a group until everyone is safely at home or traveling by safe and approved transportation methods.
  • Exercise increased situational awareness while attending smaller events during Carnival.  Criminal elements have been targeting individuals for gang violence, retaliation, and crimes of opportunity while bar hopping and “liming” at late hours. While violent events such as shootings can take place at any time and in any place in Port of Spain, visiting areas such as Ariapita Avenue (“The Ave”) between 11:00pm and 4:00am places you, your family, and any visitors in a situation of extreme risk.

Household Tips

  • Be mindful that household robberies tend to increase due to the number of unoccupied homes.
  • Do not leave keys in mailboxes, under mats, or anywhere else outside your residence.
  • Be observant when returning home.

Routes and Road Closures

There will be extensive expected and unexpected road closures. Expect to walk long distances as extensive traffic and road closures will in place. Routes to and from the Embassy will be closed or impassible due to pedestrian and vehicle conditions.

 

ASSISTANCE:

 

TRINIDAD TOBAGO
POLICE: 999 POLICE: 999
FIRE: 990 FIRE: 990
AMBULANCE: 811 AMBULANCE: 811
REPORTING A CRIME: 555 / 800-8877 EMERGENCY 911
VICTIM AND WITNESS SUPPORT

612-2577/612-2465

VICTIM AND WITNESS SUPPORT

612-0337 EXT 14059-14062

TRINIDAD COAST GUARD: 868-634-4440 TOBAGO COAST GUARD: 639-1461
CHILDREN’S AUTHORITY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (REPORT CHILD ABUSE): 996 OR 800-2014 CHILDREN’S AUTHORITY OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO (REPORT CHILD ABUSE): 996 OR 800-2014
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: 800-SAVE (7283) NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: 800-SAVE (7283)
KIDNAPPING HOTLINE: 868-623-6793  

 

Sincerely,

U.S. Embassy Port of Spain

15 Queen’s Park West
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Emergencies: +1 (868) 622-6371, then press 1
Non-Emergency inquiries email: acspos@state.gov
Website: tt.usembassy.govor follow onFacebookTwitter and InstagramContact the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs

1-888-407-4747 toll-free from the United States and Canada
1-202-501-4444 from other countries or

Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates

Trinidad and Tobago Country Information

Visit Ready.Gov for information on emergency preparedness.