The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has updated travel advice, reminding travellers that a state of emergency is in place in multiple areas in Jamaica due to violent crime. If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, make sure you check out our piece from last autumn – Expert Advice: Is it safe to go to Jamaica? 

The areas covered by the states of emergency are St James (which includes Montego Bay), Hanover and Westmoreland, and part of the Parish of St Andrew. The Jamaican Information Service sets out the areas that are covered by States of Emergency (correct as of 10th July 2019) –

  • East.  Starting at the foot of Red Hills at the intersection of Perkins Boulevard, Molynes Road and Red Hills Road, extending in a south-southeasterly direction along Molynes Road, Seaward Drive, Mimosa Road, Aloe Ave, Bay Farm Road, Newark Avenue, Elm Crescent, Keesing Avenue, Hagley Park Road, Omara Road, and Chisolm Avenue to the point of intersection with Maxfield Avenue.
  • South.  Extending in a south-westerly direction from the intersection of Chisolm Avenue and Maxfield Avenue, along Maxfield Avenue onto East Avenue to the coastline in the vicinity of Petrojam and extending along the said coastline in the vicinity of the Kingston Container Terminal to the Portmore Causeway Bridge.
  • West.  Continuing in a north-westerly direction from the Portmore Causeway Bridge along the Fresh River, the shared parish border of St Andrew and St Catherine west of Riverton, and extending to the vicinity of the western most end of the Belvedere to Ferry secondary road.
  • North.  Extending in an easterly direction along the Belvedere to Ferry road to the foot of Red Hills at the intersection of Perkins Boulevard, Molynes Road and Red Hills Road, the start point.

Travel advice

In addition to the information below, please consider the following –

  • Avoid travelling with valuable items where possible.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings and avoid situations that make you feel uneasy.
  • If challenged, hand over your items – items can be replaced, and your health is much more important.
  • Make sure you have a copy of your passport and other key documents in a secure online location that you or your emergency contact can access if needed. If your passport is stolen, having access to this information will help prove your identity.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of your travel insurance company and your local embassy stored in a secure offline location.
  • If something does happen, contact the local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so.

Official travel advice

Links to travel advice on visiting Jamaica from the following governments –

Please note that the travel advice varies – it is worth reading them all and reaching your own conclusion.

From the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Crime levels are high, particularly in and around certain areas of Kingston and Montego Bay. Gang violence and shootings are common, although usually confined to inner city neighbourhoods. Be especially cautious if you’re travelling to West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Harbour View, Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay, including Flankers, Barrett Town, Norwood, Glendevon, Rose Heights and Mount Salem.

As part of security enhancement measures, the Government of Jamaica is taking action in areas of concern. The States of Emergency in the parishes of St James (which includes Montego Bay), Hanover and Westmoreland have been extended to 13 August 2019. A State of Emergency is also in place until 21 July in part of the Parish of St Andrew, which includes areas of Kingston: detailed boundaries are set out by the Government of Jamaica.

The Jamaican government has also extended Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in certain neighbourhoods in Kingston (Denham town and other areas in West Kingston).

These measures allow the military to support the police in joint security operations in response to recent violence and shooting incidents.

The motive for most attacks on tourists is robbery. There are mobile police patrols, but you should take steps to protect yourself and your belongings. Be vigilant at all times, even if you’re staying with friends and family. Don’t walk alone in isolated areas or on deserted beaches, even during the day. Take particular care when withdrawing money from ATMs. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Try to vary which restaurants you use. Using the same place too often might make you a target for thieves. Avoid using buses at night.

Most hotels and resorts are well guarded, but robberies can occur. Follow hotel security procedures. Use hotel safe, lock windows and doors and report suspicious activity. If you are in residential accommodation, make sure proper door locks and window grilles are fitted and consider employing a guard and fitting a house alarm. Gated and guarded compounds are normally the safest type of accommodation.

Criminals have targeted visiting British nationals and those returning to resettle permanently in Jamaica. Before returning to resettle, seek advice from the Jamaican High Commission in London and the local Jamaican Information Service. The Jamaican Constabulary Force have produced a safety and security guide for returning citizens.

There have been some violent incidents, including armed robbery, murder and rape. There is also a risk of sexual assault against tourists. You should maintain at least the same level of personal safety awareness as you would at home, including at popular events. The FCO has guidance for women travelling abroad that may be helpful.

Don’t resist in the event of an attempted robbery. If you need the police in an emergency, call 119.

from Travel Advice Summary, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/jamaica

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