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Is Jamaica a Safe or Dangerous Country?
Crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common in major tourist areas. It is recommended, as in any country, you avoid certain areas, especially at night. Drugs and alcohol are predominant throughout the island, so be alert especially in rural areas. Be sure to talk to locals and ask for advice before visiting some districts. It is best to avoid going to Jamaica during elections as there may be more violence. Organized criminal groups, commonly known as Posses, are widespread in Jamaica. They tend to be very politicized, but pose a lesser risk to visitors than the small, opportunistic petty crime groups on the island. During low tourist season (hurricane season), the security decreases.It is important to note that, contrary to popular belief, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana (‘ganja’) in Jamaica. There are penalizations for all drug offences. Homosexuality is also against the law and may provoke violent reactions. Many Jamaicans are extremely generous and warm, so make sure to be respectful and return this friendliness. Jamaica can be safe as long as you use common sense and take advice from authorities, hotels and tour operators. Follow the news on television and radio closely. Be aware of your surroundings at all times like you would in any large city.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Standard safety precautions are recommended in Jamaica as crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pickpocketing and bag-snatching are common. Exercise common sense and remain vigilant for suspicious behaviour as you would in any other country.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Pickpocketing and purse snatching are common in tourist locations and public transportation.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Muggings have happened in urban areas. People walking alone are often the targets, especially at night. In case of being robbed, do not resist and hand over your valuables.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
As in any other country, taxi drivers will try to take advantage of travelers by overcharging them. Remain vigilant for thieves that use different strategies to rob you like a tap on the shoulder, spitting or getting something spilled on you. Credit card skimming is also common.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transportation is not considered safe due to high levels of crime and overcrowding. Make sure you book a ride or use radio taxis from places like a hotel when possible as there have been reports of traveler being robbed and assaulted by taxi drivers. Knutsford Express offers trustworthy and comfortable bus transportation between major towns.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Since Jamaica is located in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean, it sometimes experiences significant storm damages. The hurricane season extends from June to November. Jamaica is also prone to earthquakes. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There is no recent history of terrorism in Jamaica. However, they should not be ruled out, so remain vigilant for suspicious activity.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women travel safely without any issues. However, there have been reports of sexual assault throughout the country. Avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark. Remain extra vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.