How dangerous is Jamaica really?

Hello! My boyfriend and I want to go to the caribbeans for 4-6 weeks next winter (jan-march, exact dates undecided) to work remotely and travel. Last year we went to Puerto Escondido in Mexico and loved it, and this time we really want to go to Jamaica, as I've always been fascinated by it. People keep saying how dangerous Jamaica is - is it really that bad in 2022? We wouldn't want to stay in a resort or stick to all-resort strips, only visiting jamaica with hotel tours... It's really not our style. With some good intelligence (not walking around with lots of money, staying somewhere safe, etc etc...), would it really be that unsafe still? Also - recommendations are the most welcome!!:) edit: for reference, we are both well-traveled and have grown up in developing countries, but we know each country is different. thank you!

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Advice

Ooh you might wanna ask a local that one. I’m a mere foreigner.

Use your judgment, short of that. I know Spanish Town was going through a particularly violent period earlier this summer and a lot of parts of downtown kingston are sketchy. I’ve heard MoBay has a fair bit of crime as well but I think that is kind of on the outskirts of the city. I’m not sure though.

Advice

How does ‘using common sense’ help here?

https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20220816/tour-operator-gunned-down-while-transporting-tourists-negril?fbclid=IwAR1HzAUk0h2vbhIgAIxz6nI0PVzSJv3D0shVQrrltzFgUypRUnkDaPF2Q-8&fs=e&s=cl

Common sense does not deter badman with guns.

Advice

What do you mean to be more proactive in their self defense? What could those two tourists and guide have done differently to avoid getting shot at?

To me, doing all the things I listed is being more proactive in their self defense.

Advice

it depends on where you’re staying . but if you plan to stay here for a while . you need to know certain things like :

don’t use your phone while walking on the road

don’t go the atm at night when the place is empty .

honestly just avoid lonely roads .

be careful of pick pockets when you’re in crowded places or in taxis , buses .

be aware of certain taxis

be very viligant as well as understanding how the dollar works because some locals will rob you and take advantage of you.

Advice

Use common sense and you will be fine. We are from Belgium and bought a house in Jamaica . We would not have done that if it was not safe .Do not change money on the streets , go to a bank or cambioAfter dark you can walk outside , but be careful like you would be in every other big city you have never been .

Enjoy your stay .

Advice

If you want check our website , we live in a quite community, just outside Ocho Rios .If you do not want to stay in a big hotel maybe our bnb is the place for you ? Https://ritashomeawayfromhome.com .We bought the property ten years ago because Eltham is very nice , lots of green , friendly people so a perfect place for us

Advice

I just spent 2 weeks in KN, Half Way Tree area, was absolutely fine. Helps that my family is there, but even so I felt fine and safe walking all over. Just like with any city, don’t make yourself a target.

Dont use ABM (ATM) alone at night

Go down roads or areas you dont know

Crowded places like Downtown KN, be weary of pickpockets

But I would say this in certain areas here in London, its just common sense

Most people are just going about their business, at most would beg a 100

Advice

Unless you’re from like Switzerland, Finland or Austria. Jamaica is very much likely safer than America or UK.

No school shooters. Not a bunch of random men running around with guns. Bad rep. There are certain places in L.A ya wouldn’t go it’s literally just like that.

Advice

Yes that’s a big part that I think some people are missing. Resorts are always safe but it’s really not our style and if it’s the only way to stay safe, we would probably not go to Jamaica this time (maybe another time when it’s for a resort trip).

Of course if we’re to stay in an Airbnb we’d still look into what neighbourhood, and possibly rent a car. But from what I’m seeing on this post, it seems most of the crimes (apart from petty theft) is gang-related rather than tourists right?

Advice

You just have to be sensible.

Book taxis, if you don’t know how the regular taxis work. (Not like UK/US taxis) they have set routes they stick to.

Don’t walk around a ghetto area, or dark street.

Be aware of scammers, and be prepared to be firm with a no.

Advice

I don’t want to rain on your parade but Jamaica can be very dangerous to live. People will watch and study you. You have to be skilled to survive. Returning residents are warned not to move back, and that is a serious issue. Do not underestimate personal security concerns. While it’s possible to go and have a great time, there are definite risks involved and if this is your first time going, stick to the tourist areas.

Advice

Jamaica has fourteen parishes, similar for example, to states in the US and provinces in Canada but naturally on a smaller scale. Kingston is one of the parishes and also the capital city. Kingston, like all the other parishes in Jamaica, has several communities (incidentally Kingston is the smallest parish). Kingston is also where the seat of Government, its Parliament, and the main offices of Government ministries are located. Several of the major commercial and industrial companies are also located in Kingston.Most of the criminal activities which take in Kingston and some of the other parishes take place in the inner-city communities.These activities are fueled mainly by internal gang wars and are mainly confined to these areas Furthermore, Inner-city communities certainly do not make up the larger of part of where most Jamaicans live their lives.In fact, inner-city communities are physically a minuscule percentage of the entire area of Jamaica. Of course, there are also random crimes and those related to private domestic situations.The random crimes are mainly related to petty-thievery, burglary etc.Criminal activities like these take place in other countries.The matter of crime and violence is however one of major concerns to all well-thinking and law-abiding Jamaicans, for very obvious reasons. It is agreed that the authorities need to do a much better job at controlling the situation, especially in the Inner-city communities. Increasingly the citizens are are calling for more effective action from those in authority

Advice

I lived in and outside tourist areas for many years and I know what I speak of. I have lived in good and bad areas. Have seen many many people get themselves in too deep. I don’t speak lightly on the topic. Plenty of people murdered in areas the internet says are ‘safe’ and ‘no problem’. My opinion may be inconvenient but I’m definitely not wrong.

Advice

I don’t know anyone who has lived in JA, that didn’t start out with the best of intentions. There are many, many traps to fall into and get in too deep. There are unscrupulous landlords that will scare you or make you uncomfortable so you leave your rent and deposit behind when you have to escape. Land deals are the easiest way to die. Had a friend get sprayed with something through her shutters and then get robbed by a bunch of machete wielding men. This was in a hotel on the beach. Some places are pre rigged to allow doors or windows to be opened for future robbery. So what is your plan for security when you KNOW that YOU WILL BE WATCHED AND STUDIED?

Advice

I hope you realize that I’m not trying to scare you or deter you. I hope you use the appropriate amount of caution and realize that while there are risks, Jamaica is worth it. It is one of the greatest places on earth, but it’s not easy.

Advice

Really? Well when you say Jamaica, are you talking about he resort areas? If not, Then Jamaica is a very violent and dangerous place, especially when looking at how small the island is.Little children go missing, it’happens almost weekly. Where are all these children? Are they being sold off?Over 30 cab drivers have been murdered since the start if the year….just regular Joe’s out trying to make an honest dollar, murdered.805 murders so far this year out of a population of just under 3 million.Natives will tell you becareful of what taxi you get into, becareful at the ATM, becareful while walking about and using your cellphone, becarefulat night.. WHY?Stats don’t lie, you can put lipstick on a pig, and it’s still a pig.Jamaica is violent and dangerous. Most Jamaicans who live there will tell you the opposite, that its safe, you just need to be aware of your surroundings. Ha! But most jamaican who don’t live there will agree with me….math and statistics beats a sob story any day of the week.

Advice

Those who deny the obvious, usually have a stake in tourism. A tour operator or Airbnb owner isn’t going to give you the cold hard truth, and definitely won’t dig you out of any problem you get yourself into. There are some hard lessons to be learned about reality. It’s lovely in Jamaica, but there is a seedy underbelly that I hope tourists never find out about.

Advice

Your absolutely right. But most tourists already know how dangerous Jamaica really is. It’s why to don’t see tour busses full of white people driving around Kingston, Spanish Town or Clarendon or tourists in the same open markets shopping.

I read earlier a taxi driver said Jamaica is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. As you said, he obviously has a stake in tourism and really doesn’t give a shit about the obvious downfall of beautiful island.

Advice

Much safer than the USA and Latin America. If you mind your business, avoid gangster men or prostitutes, respect people, and don’t flash money— it’s safe. Jamaica don’t have ruthless police officers that kill people because of their skin tone. They also don’t have a human trafficking or drug smuggling problem. Many people from all walks of life and races (mainly people from the UK and Germany) retired in Jamaica and rarely endure any danger. Just have common sense.

Advice

It’s not like it’s been said no not that bad, I am a tour operator in tge Ocho Rios area, persons walk with their phones out nothing like been said here.

As for me when my clients are with me they are safe, they take them to only places I know they can be free to explore, your on vacation you came to enjoy your time I make sure you have the best time ,

If your coming to Jamaica and want to have a good time ,hook me up and the rest is already, am based in Ocho Rios but I go all over the island for excursions.

Advice

Don’t carry any valuables you don’t absolutely need to (like your passport)

If you have cards/cash, as a woman, keep it in your bra. As a man, don’t keep it in your back pockets (btw, pickpockets actually train on each other to take things off you without you even realizing it).

Know exactly where you are going, and how you are getting there before you leave out.

If you are staying at an AirBnB, talk to the landlords about recommendations.

Advice

As a previous person said, it really depends where in Jamaica you are planning on staying.

For non-nationals who are concerned about security, you can try and rent a house at a gated community. It’s a residential area that usually has a security guard at the gate, so no one can visit you without your permission. They are usually secure, and most persons who live in these areas are working class persons so they usually have less time to be inquisitive about your business.

Street vendors will sometimes try to overprice the goods when they hear your accent, so it may be best to stick to supermarkets.

Hope you enjoy your stay

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