In a recent travel advisory, the United States Department of State escalated its warning for Jamaica to a Level 3 travel advisory, urging travellers to reconsider plans to visit Jamaica, citing elevated risks related to crime and medical services in the Caribbean island.

A Level 3 advisory, in the State Department’s ranking system, communicates an elevated risk and asks people to reconsider their travel plans altogether.

The advisory highlights various safety concerns, including violent crimes such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, which are reported to be commonplace. Notably, according to the travel advisory, sexual assaults have been reported even within the confines of all-inclusive resorts.

The U.S. Department of State has also called into question Jamaica’s law enforcement’s effectiveness in responding to serious criminal incidents, noting infrequent prosecutions and delays in issuing final death certificates for U.S. citizens who have met untimely ends.

“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,” the advisory stated.

In addition, the advisory stated that the homicide rate in Jamaica remains among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

The travel advisory also revealed that U.S. government personnel under Chief of Mission (COM) security responsibility were prohibited from using public buses, driving outside of prescribed areas of Kingston at night, and from travelling to select areas across Jamaica.

For those who decide to travel, the Department of State strongly recommends that they obtain traveller’s insurance, including medical evacuation coverage, before embarking on any journey to Jamaica. It emphasizes that the U.S. government does not cover medical expenses incurred abroad, and U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.

Six days following the advisory, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) published a report, stating the island experienced a notable decline in murders during the initial 27 days of this year (65), a nearly 20 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2023 (81). However, the report indicated that some parishes have experienced an increase in murder rates.

In addition, it also highlighted an increase in other violent crimes, with 76 shootings reported compared to 64 in the same period last year. Robbery reports reached 50 cases, indicating a rise in such incidents. However, there was a decline in reported rapes, with 21 incidents recorded, down from 40 in the corresponding period last year.

Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana are the only two other Caribbean Islands ranked level 3 on the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory list.