US issues 'exercise increased caution' travel advisory against Jamaica
Police at a scene of a shooting in downtown Kingston. (PHOTO: File)
The United States government is warning its citizens to exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to crime.
The Level 2 "exercise increased caution" travel advisory was issued on Wednesday amid out of control crime in the country, where more than 40 homicides have been recorded since the start of 2018 against the background of one of the bloodiest years in the island's history with more than 1,600 dying violently in 2017.
The US government has advised its citizens to not travel to some sections of Kingston, some sections of Montego Bay, and anywhere in Spanish Town due to "violence and shootings" which it says occur regularly in those areas.
"Violent crime, such as home invasions, armed robberies, and homicide, is common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, even at all-inclusive resorts," said the advisory. "Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents."
Specifically, in Kingston, the US government personnel are prohibited from traveling to downtown Kingston - which is defined as the areas between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road, and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads, and includes Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, and Arnett Gardens; Standpipe, Grants Pen, and Cassava Piece.
US government officials are also prohibited from traveling to Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street in Montego Bay.
Americans who do decide to travel to Jamaica are advised to, among other measures, avoid walking or driving at night; avoid public buses; avoid secluded places or situations, even in resorts; do not physically resist any robbery attempt; and be aware of their surroundings and keep a low profile.
The US has four advisory levels`. Level 1 is exercise normal precaution; the second level is increased caution, Level 3 is reconsider travel and the fourth level is do not travel.