Jamaica has had an ongoing issue with violent crime, largely perpetrated by gangs which are often armed with firearms. While government travel advisories still indicate that the country is safe to visit, caution must be taken due to the heightened risk in some areas.
The Jamaican government has made several state of emergency announcements throughout the year, with some being extended due to continuing crime issues. This warning does not affect other parts of Jamaica such as Negril and Ochos Rios. However, wherever you are on the island, it's advised to be aware of your surroundings and exercise safety precautions.
The Jamaican government declared on 18th January 2018, a state of emergency due to increased outbreaks of violence in the St James parish which includes the touristy area of Montego Bay and surrounds. Military and police are carrying out joint security operations including check points and curfews in a bid to crack down on the violence and restore order. Since its inception, authorities have made significant progress with hundreds of arrests and patrols.
This state of emergency has been extended until 31st October 2018.
A state of emergency is currently in place until January 7th, 2019 for Kingston Central, Kingston Western and St Andrews South due to longstanding crime and an increase in gang related crime.
Violence in the city has been known to occur with little or no warning. Tourist have often been targeted largely to rob them of their valuables including to and from Norman Manley International Airport, with increasing risk at night.
The Australian government travel advisory highlights the following areas to avoid: Tivoli Gardens, Whitfield Town, Payne Land, West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Arnett Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Harbour View, Central Village, Spanish Town, Mountain View, Trench Town, Cassava Piece, Canterbury, Norwood and Rose Heights.
The police division of St Catherine North's state of emergency has been extended until January 2019. This covers locations such as Spanish Town, Ellerslie Pen, Dela Vega City and Brooklyn.
You should check your government's travel warnings for Jamaica as this can have ramifications on your travel insurance coverage.
If you act against the advice of your government you will be in breach of the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy and it's very likely your claim will be denied.
If you are unsure of your government's advice for Jamaica or need to discuss coverage, please contact your travel insurance provider.
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