- The US Department of State issued a travel advisory in Jamaica on March 8.
- Violent crime — including sexual assault and homicide — is "common," according to the department’s website.
- Government personnel are barred from driving outside of certain neighborhoods of Kingston, the country’s largest city and capital, at night.
- Fifty-seven other countries have the same level-two travel advisory issued against them, including Antarctica because of its unpredictable weather.
Some 4.3 million tourists visited Jamaica in 2017 — a record for the Caribbean island nation.
But, in recent months, reports of violent crime directed at tourists in Jamaica have surfaced. According to an investigation from The Detroit Free Press, several women said they were sexually assaulted at Sandals Resorts properties in Jamaica. The victims said they were asked to not report those incidents in exchange for free stays and other compensation, according to the report.
Earlier this year, an elderly Canadian couple was found dead in their home in Jamaica.
The US Department of State announced a travel advisory against the country on March 8. It issued a level-two warning to "exercise increased caution" in the area. There are four levels, ranging from "exercise normal precautions" to "do not travel."
Violent crime — including home invasions and armed robberies — is common, according to the department travel-advisory site.
The advisory said "do not visit" certain neighborhoods of Kingston and Montego Bay, because "(v)iolence and shootings occur regularly" in those areas. Government personnel are barred from driving outside of certain neighborhoods of Kingston at night.
The advisory said Spanish Town in its entirety should not be visited. It also said sexual assaults "occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts."
"Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents," it noted.
Canada has also advised citizens who visit Jamaica to "(e)xercise a high degree of caution" due to violent crime. The UK has a similar warning, but also notes that most visits to Jamaica are "trouble-free."
The State Department has level-two travel advisories in 57 countries, including popular travel destinations such as France, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Those advisories mostly stem from an uptick in terrorism concerns in Western Europe.
Antarctica also has a level-two travel advisory because of "environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather."
Fourteen level-three advisories are presently issued. There are 12 level-four advisories, including cautions against all travel to Haiti because of "crime and civil unrest." Those who visit that country are advised by the State Department to ensure they are not being followed upon leaving the airport and to secure medical evacuation insurance before visiting.
Read more about the travel-advisory concerning Jamaica here.
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