KINGSTON, Jamaica – The State Department issued a travel warning for Jamaica on Tuesday due to a surge in violent crime, cautioning American travelers to reconsider their plans to visit the Caribbean nation. The US embassy in Jamaica upgraded the travel advisory to a Level 3 – just one level short of the most severe – warning against travel altogether.
According to the embassy, Jamaica has been rocked by 65 murders in the first month of the year, making it a dangerous destination for tourists. The advisory also highlighted that violent crimes, including home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common in the country. It also mentioned that local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.
Data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force shows that at least 65 people were killed between Jan. 1 and 27 of this year. While the high murder rate is down from last year, with 81 people killed in the first month of 2023, Jamaica still reported at least 1,393 homicides throughout the entire last year.
The travel advisory comes as the second issued against a Caribbean nation in days. The US embassy in the Bahamas recently put the island on a Level 2 “exercise increased caution” warning, citing 18 murders in January alone primarily motivated by gang violence.
The State Department’s move raises concerns about the safety of American tourists in the Caribbean region, urging travelers to carefully consider the risks associated with visiting these countries. The travel warnings indicate a growing trend of violence in these popular vacation destinations, prompting US officials to take action to protect American citizens abroad.
This development serves as a stark reminder of the safety challenges that travelers may face, underscoring the need for heightened awareness and caution when planning trips to certain Caribbean nations. As the situation continues to evolve, it is essential for travelers to stay informed and stay vigilant to ensure their safety while abroad.