Jamaica, travel, violent crimes

U.S. Issues Level 3 Travel Advisory For Jamaica

The Department of State is urging Americans to “reconsider travel” to Jamaica.

The U.S. government has issued a level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica amid a rise in violent crimes.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” warned the alert, which was issued on Jan. 24.

A Level 3 advisory, as categorized by the State Department’s ranking system, signals a heightened risk and advises individuals to reassess their travel plans entirely.

The island has seen 65 murders in January 2023—the second highest in the world according to the World Population Review. The advisory also stated that victims may face obstacles when they do report a crime to authorities.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities.“

Antony Anderson, police commissioner for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told NBC News that the force is taking measures to increase security by hiring more police officers. Jamaican officials also pointed out that homicide rates have decreased nearly 20% since January 2023.

This is the second travel warning for a Caribbean island in days. The U.S. Embassy issued a level 2 warning for The Bahamas. This is in response to an uptick in homicides on the island. The U.S. Embassy cites “retaliatory gang violence” as the reason for most of the murders. They also stated that most of the violence is happening on New Providence (Nassau) and Grand Bahama (Freeport) islands. They warn travelers to be aware of their surroundings and to use extra caution when staying at properties that don’t have security.

If you plan to travel to Jamaica or the Bahamas, the State Department advises Americans to obtain travel insurance, including medical evacuation insurance. They also encourage travelers to join the STEP (Smart Traveler  Enrollment Program), which may make it easier for you to be located in case of emergency.