The U.S. Department of State is warning Americans to reconsider traveling to Jamaica and Colombia.
The U.S. Department of State is warning Americans to reconsider traveling to a pair of popular Caribbean and South American countries amid a recent uptick in crime.
The State Department last week re-classified both Colombia and Jamaica as “Level 3,” urging Americans to “reconsider travel” to the countries. The State Department regularly assesses the security and health situations in each country and adjusts the classification accordingly on a scale of one (which indicates travelers should exercise normal precautions) to four (which warns Americans not to travel there).
In Jamaica, the department warned “violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common” and said “sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.” The Department added “local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”
A do not travel advisory was issued for several areas on the island, including downtown Kingston.
In Colombia, the State Department warned travelers should reconsider their trip “due to crime and terrorism” and should “exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping.” Additionally, the department warned terrorist organizations may carry out attacks on transportation hubs, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, airports, or other public areas.
The department said travelers especially should not visit the Arauca, Cauca (excluding Popayán), and Norte de Santander departments, and should not go to the Colombia-Venezuela border region “due to crime, kidnapping, and risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia.”
“Violent crime, such as homicide, assault, and armed robbery, is widespread,” the State Department wrote in its updated advisory. “Organized criminal activities, such as extortion, robbery, and kidnapping, are common in some areas.”
If travelers do go to Colombia, the Department said they should avoid protests and large crowds and keep a low profile.
Travelers who do visit these countries can enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive alerts “and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.”
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