Jamaica is a place filled with sunshine, scenery, and a joyous culture. Although it may seem glorious, Jamaica recorded 1,301 killings in 2020. Its capital Kingston, a vibrant port town with a culture of reggae dance and music, is in fact a dangerous place to visit and travelers are currently advised to avoid wandering alone in the city.
In 2018, 169 murders per 100,000 inhabitants were recorded in Kingston. It’s not surprising as gang activity has been on the rise in recent years, and so are levels of crime and violence. Among the violent crimes that are common in Kingston are sexual assaults against women. It is still possible to visit Kingston during the day but don’t travel alone and avoid the bad part of town such as West Kingston Grant’s Pen, August Town, Harbour View and Spanish Town.
Transport and taxis risk: HIGH
You might be tempted to hire a car to get around the city, but a wiser choice would be to hire a taxi from a reputable company. Driving in Kingston is difficult and car-jacking are common. Also don’t wander alone and avoid buses as they can be sketchy.
Pickpocket & Mugging Risk: HIGH
Pickpockets operate every day in Kingston. Avoid going to the same restaurant every night as this can make you a target as thieves get to know your routine. Robberies also happen so watch your back at ATM’s.
Natural Disaster Risk: HIGH
Jamaica is prone to hurricanes. In 1988, Jamaicans experienced what is perhaps the most notorious hurricane in its history: Hurricane Gilbert. Damage was estimated at $4 billion. More recently, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 did extensive damage to the nation’s infrastructure. Keep an eye on local news for hurricanes, forecast usually give previous advice on what to do in case of a hurricane.