Security Message for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Port of Spain

The incidence of burglaries, thefts and robberies increases during the holiday season. We would like to take this opportunity to remind all U.S. citizens of the need to exercise caution and to practice heightened personal security during the holidays. Below are some tips to help you reduce your vulnerability to holiday crime.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Trinidad and Tobago is: Police – 999, Fire Service – 990, Ambulance Service – 990 or 811, and Coast Guard 634-4440 and Tobago Service Center – 211. SCIEMS is a private ambulance service and can be reached at 694-2404. The Anti-Crime hotline is 555 or 800-TIPS. The kidnapping hotline is 623-6793.

In Your Home

  • Beware of strangers posing as representatives of charitable organizations, police officers, or other solicitors. They may be casing your house.
  • Never automatically open the door. Always verify the identity of the visitor through the optical viewer, the intercom, or a window from which you cannot be observed. If you know the person, ensure that no strangers might be forcing them to have the door opened.
  • Be aware of persons loitering on your street or in your neighborhood. They may be criminals conducting surveillance. Call the police and if you’re suspicious of a loiterer.
  • Make a habit of keeping doors double locked (dead bolted) even when you are in the house.
  • Get in the habit of setting your alarm, even when you are at home.
  • Don’t place holiday gifts where they can be seen from outside the home.
  • Consider breaking down boxes and turning them inside-out for expensive, easily sold items before placing them on the street for garbage pick-up. Nothing screams “rob me!” like a box for a large flat screen TV or other electronic items.

In Your Car

  • Drive defensively. The number of drunk drivers greatly increases during the holidays.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle – in the seat or in the trunk. Return home to drop off your purchases rather than leave them in the car.
  • Be careful returning home from shopping. A vehicle full of gifts is a target for a home robbery.
  • When in crawling or stopped in traffic, try leaving at least a half car length between you and the car ahead to allow space to exit rapidly if necessary.

While Shopping

  • Remember exactly where you parked your car. Make a mental note or write it down if necessary. Wandering around a parking garage or parking lot is an invitation for trouble.
  • Have your keys out and ready as you approach your vehicle. Someone fumbling for keys with an armload of packages is a prime target for a mugging or carjacking.
  • Be alert to your surroundings. If someone is watching you too closely, is following you, or is loitering near your vehicle, return to the store or contact the police and request help.
  • If you’re paying cash for your purchases, don’t show any more cash than is necessary. Split up your money into different pockets.
  • Keep just the credit cards you routinely use in your wallet. Keep any unused cards out of your wallet and in a safe place.
  • Monitor credit card bills for fraudulent charges.

See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. Read the Country Specific Information for Trinidad and Tobago. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s Web site.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Trinidad and Tobago enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or https://tt.usembassy.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have internet access, you can enroll in person at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1 888 407 4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1 202 501 4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8) to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain is located at 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain. Routine services are by appointment only. To schedule your appointment, please visit https://tt.usembassy.gov, emailacspos@state.gov or call 868 622 6371. U.S. citizens in Trinidad and Tobago who need emergency services should call the Embassy at 868 622 6371 for assistance.