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US warns of another dangerous resort destination, urges Americans to reconsider visiting

by Staff

The U.S. State Department is advising Americans to reconsider traveling to Jamaica for the time being due to a rise in violent crime combined with other factors. A travel advisory issued last week even indicates that some government personnel are prohibited from visiting parts of the country due to crime.

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

Related story: US issues new security alert for this popular vacation island, citing murders in ‘broad daylight’

Because of the increasing criminal activity, those who do visit Jamaica are warned not to walk or drive at night, avoid taking the bus, stay out of secluded areas and do not attempt to physically resist a robbery. Government personnel are barred from taking the bus completely and cannot drive at night in certain parts of the country.

On top of the increase in violent crime, State Department officials say police work in Jamaica is not effective and even when arrests are made, “cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence.” That’s particularly concerning considering the homicide rate in Jamaica routinely ranks near the top of the list of countries located in the Western Hemisphere, according to the advisory.

Officials say it frequently takes a year or more to receive a death certificate if a loved one dies in Jamaica.

If you still plan on visiting Jamaica, officials recommend buying traveler’s insurance which includes medical evacuation coverage. Medical services in the country are lackluster and U.S. health insurance is not accepted.

Public health care systems are not reliable, according to the State Department and private health care requires payment up front. Even if you pay front, it doesn’t guarantee the facility will be able to properly care for you. If you do not have coverage and have to use an air ambulance service to return to the U.S. for care, the flight alone can cost between $30,000-$50,000.

For more information on traveling to high risk areas outside of the U.S., visit the State Department website.

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