- Reviewed: 18 January 2019, 14:40 NZDT
- Still current at: 20 January 2019
Exercise increased caution
Exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to violent crime.View Larger Map Close/Open map
Jamaica has a high rate of violent crime, particularly around Kingston and Montego Bay. Much of this crime, which includes armed robbery, kidnapping and murder, is related to the presence of street gangs and organised criminal groups.
There is a particularly high incidence of crime in Kingston neighbourhoods such as West Kingston, Whiteford Town, Olympic Gardens, Payneland, Portmore, Whitfield Town, Grant’s Pen, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town, Arnett Gardens, August Town, Harbour View, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Cassava Piece and Mountain View. Crime is also high in Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay such as Flankers, Norwood, Canterbury, Mount Salem, Barett Town, Norwood, Glendevon, Rose Heights, Clavers Street and Hart Street. Police may impose curfews with short notice in areas where gang activity is a concern.
New Zealanders are advised to assure themselves their accommodation has appropriate security measures in place. Most hotels and resorts are well guarded and gated communities are considered the safest accommodation. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, even when staying with family or friends.
New Zealanders should be aware that attacks against tourists are often financially motivated. Exercise particular vigilance while withdrawing money from ATMs. Avoid using ATMs that look temporary in structure or location, and only use ATMs in well-lit public areas or inside banks. It is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such jewellery and mobile devices. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence.
New Zealanders are advised to avoid walking alone or in isolated areas, including on beaches. Do not take buses at night and only use taxis approved by the Jamaica Union of Travellers’ Association (commonly known as ‘JUTA’). These taxis are authorised by the government and can be identified by their red license plates.
There have been outbreaks of violence on the Mountain View Avenue route from Kingston International Airport to the city. We advise New Zealanders travelling between the airport and the city use the alternative Humming Bird route along South Camp Road.
Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs in Jamaica and is common in tourist areas and in Kingston. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. Extra care should be taken to ensure food and drink is never left unattended. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.
State of emergency
The Government of Jamaica has declared a state of emergency in St James Parish (including Montego Bay), due to a significant increase in violent crime. There is an increased police and military presence in the area to stabilise the situation. If you are staying in the affected area, be extremely vigilant particularly at night, monitor local media and follow all instructions from local authorities.
Demonstrations and protests occasionally occur in Jamaica. New Zealanders should avoid demonstrations as they have the potential to lead to violence and opportunistic crime. Be alert, take precautions to ensure your safety and comply with instructions from the relevant security authorities.
General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Jamaica should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders travelling or resident in Jamaica are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand High Commission Ottawa, Canada is accredited to Jamaica
Street Address 150 Elgin Street, Suite 1401 Ottawa Ontario K2P 1L4 Telephone +1 613 238 5991 Alternate Telephone +1 613 238 6097 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/canada Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1630 hrs
See our regional advice for the Caribbean
Accredited New Zealand High Commission Canada
150 Elgin Street, Suite 1401 Ottawa Ontario K2P 1L4
Telephone: +1 613 238 5991
Alternate Telephone: +1 613 238 6097
Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1630 hrs