This is the first year that Jamaica made the 2016 List of 10 Worst Countries for Women Travelers. It ranks as #10.
Much as we appreciate Jamaica’s amazing waterfalls, rainforests, and reggae; we had to add it to the top ten list mostly due to its high level of crime perpetrated by gangs, organized crime and individuals that includes murder, rape, carjacking, armed robbery. And, new for 2016, there is also the Zika virus.
It’s worth quoting the New Zealand’s beautifully written warning to its citizens: “has a high rate of violent crime, particularly in the capital Kingston. 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, Grant’s Pen, Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town, Arnett Gardens, August Town, Harbour View, Denham Town, Hannah Town and Mountain View. Crime is also high in Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay (non-resort areas)…There have been outbreaks of violence in the Mountain View area en-route from Kingston International Airport to the city and New Zealanders travelling between the airport and the city are advised to exercise particular care.”
Meanwhile, the US State Dept. has a variety of warnings about high crimes areas (some of which are different than the Kiwis) as well as problems with bad roads and accidents due to high speed travel there. OSAC voices a concern over the high level of crime against Americans, including homicide, sexual assault and robbery. OSAC also warns tourists against Skimming “a hi-tech method by which thieves capture your personal or account information from your credit card, ATM card, driver’s license, or even passport. Another concern is Carjacking (robbery of a motorist in which the vehicle is stolen). Also a problem is the “bump-and-rob.” A car carrying a driver and at least one passenger will “innocently” bump their intended victim from the rear. When the victim inspects the damage, the extra person jumps into the victim’s vehicle and drives away. The Aussie note all of the above, recommending a high degree of caution due to the violence and crime as well as Zika virus.
One should also beware of the hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides and flooding may occur.
If you want to go to Jamaica or must go: Much as we hate to recommend resorts, Negril has some that are well guarded at the hotels and beach. Sure, resorts tend to insulate you from the real world but when the real world is getting a bit too dangerous, that can be good.
Conclusion: Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 safest countries for women tourists.
Cover Photo: Jamaica Observer
Photo Description: Serial rapist nabbed.