State Department issues travel warning amid crime in Jamaica

State Department issues travel warning amid crime in Jamaica

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For the second time in as many weeks, the State Department is citing increased crime on another Caribbean island nation and warning American citizens to “reconsider travel” to Jamaica.

The warning, issued on Jan. 23, is listed as Level 3, one level below the “do not travel” advisory.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the advisory issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica states.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” it continues. “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.”

GANGS IN HAITI HAVE ATTACKED A COMMUNITY FOR DAYS AND RESIDENTS FEAR THE VIOLENCE COULD SPREAD

Jamaican flag

The U.S. recently issued a travel warning for Jamaica due to a spike in murders. (Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images/File)

Jamaica has seen 65 murders since the new year, according to data released by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The number of killings is short of the 81 reported in the same time frame in 2023. 

The latest warning comes amid a spike in murders in the Bahamas since Jan. 1. Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau issued a warning and travel advisory to U.S. travelers, citing 18 murders that have occurred on the island nation since the new year. 

“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the warning states. “Retaliatory gang violence has been the primary motive in 2024 murders.”

A Level 2 advisory was issued Friday, warning visitors to exercise increased caution. 

The State Department said Jamaica’s murder rate has consistently been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere going back several years. U.S. citizens visiting the island are urged to purchase traveler’s insurance, including medical evaluation insurance. 

US ISSUES TRAVEL WARNING FOR BAHAMAS OVER SPIKE IN MURDERS SINCE NEW YEAR

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay, Jamaica (Will Twort/Jamaica Tourist Board/dpa/File)

In response to the uptick in crime, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said authorities will put up roadblocks and initiate more police action, the Nassau Guardian reported.

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“We will not violate anyone’s civil liberties, but you are likely to be impacted by more roadblocks and unannounced police action,” he said. “This may make you late for your appointments, or delay plans you have, but this is a small price to pay for the collective benefit of having our streets made safer, and our lives less blighted by murder and other violent crimes.”

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