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Jamaica travel warning issued after 65 murders in just four weeks

The State Department issued a stark travel warning for another Caribbean nation Tuesday — cautioning that Jamaica has been rocked by 65 murders this month.

The US Embassy in Jamaica upgraded the travel advisory to a Level 3, “Reconsider travel,” which is just one level short of the most severe, which warns Americans against travel altogether.

The crimes have become so pervasive that tourists aren’t even safe in the shelter of their resorts, the embassy said.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the warning stated.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence,” it continued.

“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.”

According to the State Department, Jamaica has reported one of the highest homicide rates in the Western Hemisphere for several years.

The US Embassy in Jamaica upgraded the travel advisory to a Level 3, “Reconsider travel.” Jamaica Constabulary Force
The US Embassy in Jamaica upgraded the travel advisory to a Level 3, “Reconsider travel.” Jamaica Constabulary Force

At least 65 people were killed between Jan. 1 and 27 of this year, data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force show.

Shockingly, the high murder rate is down from last year — 81 people were killed in the first month of 2023.

At least 1,393 homicides were reported throughout all of last year, following 1,498 murders in 2022.

At least 65 people have been murdered in Jamaica since the beginning of January. Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images
At least 65 people have been murdered in Jamaica since the beginning of January. Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Jamaica has not reported fewer than 1,000 murders per year since 2003, data show. The country has a population of 2.8 million.

The travel advisory marks the second the State Department has made against a Caribbean nation in days.

The US Embassy in the Bahamas on Friday put the island on a Level 2 “Exercise increased caution” warning, telling Americans to keep a low profile while visiting and not to fight back if they find themselves the victims of a crime.

“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” the US Embassy in Jamaica warned. dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images
“Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” the US Embassy in Jamaica warned. dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

While not as severe as Jamaica, the Bahamas was labeled unsafe for tourists amid 18 murders — “primarily” motivated by gang violence — in January alone.

“Murders have occurred at all hours including in broad daylight on the streets,” the embassy wrote in a release, also recommending the use of “extreme caution” on the eastern side of the Bahamas’ capital city, Nassau.