There was a time when crime of any sort was virtually unheard of in Tobago, but several high-profile robberies and attacks in recent years have tarnished the island’s reputation as a safe haven in the Caribbean. Most of the victims have been expat residents rather than people on holiday, and many put these crimes down to disputes and simmering tensions between the newcomers and their local neighbours rather than opportunism. Nonetheless, it has to be said that crime statistics have risen here in recent years, and while some Tobagonians still leave their front doors unlocked and their parked cars open, visitors are well advised to take the common-sense precautions to avoid potential problems.
Another main concern of late has been break-ins at villas, whose often-idyllic locations – in the middle of nowhere with only the birds for company – are irresistible to tourists and criminals alike. If you do stay in a villa, bear in mind that those clustered together in a resort-style complex, complete with gates and security guards, are obviously the safest choice. Always ask about security measures such as outside lighting and window locks or grilles before renting, and make sure that you lock doors and windows securely before going out and when retiring for the night. Should the worst happen, don’t offer any kind of resistance to thieves; and call the police on t 999 as soon as possible; in addition, there are police stations at Scarborough (t 639 2512), Crown Point (t 639 0042 or t 639 9872), Old Grange (t 639 8888), Moriah (t 660 0029 or t 660 0100), Roxborough (t 660 4333) and Charlotteville (t 660 4388).