Security Alert: U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince, Haiti (January 15, 2020)

Location:  Haiti, Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and countrywide.


Violent crime is on the rise in Port-au-Prince.  The U.S. Embassy continues to receive reports of armed robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings involving employees and family members of Embassy staff, the staff of other embassies, and private American citizens.

Embassy staff were made aware of two incidents during the weekend of January 11-12, 2020, targeting women driving alone and stuck in traffic in Petionville.  Both incidents occurred in heavy traffic in dimly lit areas. The first incident involved a local staff member of the Canadian Embassy.  The perpetrator approached the vehicle on foot, tapped on the windows to get the attention of the driver, and then attempted to smash the window(s).  The perpetrator was unsuccessful in smashing the window because it was protected by film/mylar protection, and the driver managed to get away.  The second incident involved a U.S. Embassy employee driving alone in the vicinity of Place St. Pierre near the Kinam hotel.  An unknown individual tapped on the window with an unknown item in his hand to get the driver’s attention, but the employee managed to drive away from the scene without further incident.

The Embassy prohibits its personnel from:

  • Visiting establishments after dark without secure, on-site parking;
  • Using any kind of public transportation or taxis;
  • Visiting banks and using ATMs;
  • Driving outside of Port-au-Prince at night;
  • Traveling anywhere between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.; and
  • Visiting certain parts of the city at any time without prior approval and special security measures in place.

Actions to take:

  • Travel in groups of at least two people;
  • Travel at times when traffic is expected to be lighter (such as early in the morning);
  • Ensure adequate spacing between vehicles to provide options for evading a potentially dangerous situation;
  • Patronize shops or restaurants that provide secure, enclosed parking;
  • Install window/mylar film on personal vehicles.
  • Arrange airport transfers and hotels in advance, or have your host meet you upon arrival.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Conduct banking transactions (Banks/ATM/ Money Exchange) only at safe locations such as supermarkets and hotels with security guards.
  • Avoid withdrawing large sums of money.
  • Keep vehicle doors locked and windows closed at all times when driving.
  • Exercise caution and alertness, especially when driving through markets and other traffic-congested areas.
  • Avoid demonstrations and any large gatherings of people;
  • Do not attempt to drive through roadblocks.
  • If you encounter a roadblock, turn around and get to a safe area.
  • Purchase travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance ahead of time.