Haitian National Police Protection Response and Living Conditions in Haiti Make Visiting Risky

Visitors contemplating a visit to Haiti should be forewarned about the pitfalls that accompany being in the country. Security in Haiti is uncertain. The Haitian National Police (HNP) is a compromised law enforcement agency. They have been subjected to internal militant politics, which have caused them to mistreat detainees, violating human rights laws. Under-staffed, under-paid, and awash with corruption, some of its members are suspected to be gang-affiliated.

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Haiti national Police

Haiti National Police is supported by the UN stabilization peacekeeping police, who keep barely acceptable security levels in Haiti in place. Because the HNP lacks the capacity--even with an adjunct policing body in the UN forces--to investigate every crime committed towards visitors to the island, they remain largely ineffective. The HNP warns travelers landing at Port-au-Prince Airport to not use public transit, but to call someone ahead of time to come and pick them up.

Because moving about Port-au-Prince is considered dangerous, the U.S. Embassy operates under a self-imposed curfew. As a result, embassy personnel's capacity to offer emergency help to U.S. visitors is limited. Mass protests and dangerous behavior are frequent happenings in Port-au-Prince, and police recommend staying away from any large gathering. They also advise taking precautions whenever political events are scheduled in Haiti.

Haiti National Police response in high-crime neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince is infrequent and city authorities advise staying away from Croiz-des-Bouquets, Carrefour, and Martissant areas. Another very dangerous area is Route Nationale #1, a place of many thefts, muggings, carjackings, and killings.

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