US State Department warns about rising crime in Caribbean

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    The United States Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) has issued a travel advisory warning their citizens to take precautions when travelling to certain Caribbean islands as crime has increased in the region.

    The advisory says the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados have seen rising levels in crime.

    Jamaica’s high murder rate was highlighted, but the OSAC noted: “Most criminal activity is ‘Jamaican on Jamaican’ violence, often involving organized criminal elements and gangs.”

    OSAC reported that last year there were five US citizens murdered in Jamaica, as well as 36 reports of robbery, three reports of rape and/or sexual assault, and 14 reports of aggravated assault. Plus, credit card skimming has emerged as another major crime issue, the report said.

    “American tourists generally need to be concerned about street crime, especially outside the main tourist areas. The State Department advises US citizens to avoid traveling into notoriously high-threat areas of Kingston including, but not limited to, Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, and Arnett Gardens,” the report said.

    It also warns about the Montego Bay areas such as Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street.

    OSAC also warned that Trinidad and Tobago has a particular problem with security services and branded the island’s police force as “very unreliable”. OSAC rates the island nation’s crime situation as Critical.

    “American citizens have been victims of pickpocketing, assault, theft/robbery, fraud, and murder. There is no evidence to indicate that foreigners, specifically expatriates, are targeted in particular, but crimes, robbery, break-ins/burglary, vehicular break-ins, home invasions, and assaults (including sexual assaults) – do occur in areas frequented by tourists and in which the expatriate community lives. The use of incapacitating drugs is not uncommon in thefts and other crimes,” the report stated.

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