KINGSTON, January 11, 2018 - The US State Department has posted a level 2' on its new four tier travel advisory scale, warning Americans "exercise increased caution" when travelling to the Jamaica due to the high crime rate.
The advisory, posted on the US State Department's website, said violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, homicide and sexual assaults occur frequently, even at all-inclusive resorts and Jamaican police "lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents."
With just under fifty murders reported across Jamaica since the start of the year, Americans were advised not travel to some areas of Kingston, Montego Bay, St. James and Spanish Town in St Catherine. U.S. Government personnel have been prohibited from driving outside of Kingston at night.
As it relates to Kingston, the State Department says violence and shootings occur regularly in some areas. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from travelling between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road; south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Arnett Gardens; Standpipe, Grants Pen, and Cassava Piece.
The Department highlighted that violence and shootings occur regularly in Spanish Town and U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to that area of the city.
Concerning Montego Bay, the State Department says "Violence and shootings occur regularly in some areas of Montego Bay. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling to the following areas: Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street."
The website cautions Americans: If you decide to travel to Jamaica:
- Avoid walking or driving at night.
- Avoid public buses.
- Avoid secluded places or situations, even in resorts.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Jamaica.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
The new State Department travel advisory scale ranks countries from one to four on safety, security and risk factors.
Level 1 countries are where travellers need to “exercise normal precaution”. The US asks its citizens to “reconsider travel” to Level 3 countries such as Pakistan, while for Level 4, which lists countries such as Afghanistan, the US recommends “Do Not Travel”.