Expert Info

Posted by
on 31 Oct 2012
Hi

I was planning to go to Jamaica for a couple of months and backpack around because it's always been my dream to go to Jamaica. I was doing some research just to check what the damage was after Sandy, and I came across lots of stuff about how dangerous Jamaica is - highest murder rate in the world, people say you can't go out by yourself and all that - I just wanted to know if this is the case at the moment. Is there looting after the hurricane? Will I be OK travelling around Jamaica by myself? I'm from South Africa so I'm not a moron when it comes to personal safety or anything. Sorry if its a stupid question. Thanks in advance for helpful replies.
GabyS on 1 Nov 2012
Hi Jenny

Since you're from SA you'll know how different people's opinions can be about safety - you get American and British expats saying they'd heard horror stories and then were pleasantly surprised when they arrived. Then you get South Africans who were burgled or hi-jacked one time to many and emigrated with nothing but curses for the country. I've personally never had a problem besides the odd house burglary or pick-pocketing.

As a South African you'll have a good idea what to expect. If you walk around with an expensive camera looking gormless in a well-known tourist spot, you could be singled out as a target. Don't leave valuables in plain sight in your hotel room, don't walk around dark/dodgy areas at night by yourself, lock your room, etc etc.

The truth is Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and is considered the worst place in the world to be gay because of violent homophobic attitudes. There's also a fair amount of machismo - be prepared to fend off amorous Jamaicans who think it's OK to cat-call! But most violence is gang related and occurs in certain areas of the big cities. Outside of these areas, i.e. in touristy places where you're likely to go, you should be fine if you follow commonsense personal safety rules of thumb.

Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Aug 2014
hello Jenny! I'm a Jamaican living in the United State for over 30 years and visit quite often and also and I still have family and friends living there, Listen to me please, anyone who's not from a country or an area will hear and believe the worst. Go there and see for yourself, it's like every capital of every country, Kingston, it's kind of like New York city in the USA, just parts of kingston and that gives the entire a bad rap. A few murders here and there but not even a percentage of the middle east. You don't see the crimes especially in the country and rural areas, beautiful 98% of friendly people, religious mostly, smile and happy despite being poor. Very beautiful and lush vegetation, lot of fun things to do. Yes we should all use common sense everywhere. All poor countries have thieves, look at America, more thieves and criminals than ever and it' supposed to be a wealthy country. Be nice smile, and make friends but do not trust anyone 100% at first, you'll love Jamaica and the food , btw visit the blue mounting hiking trail while you're at it, Bob Marley museum, Appleton Estate, the caves, cockpit country,Martha brae river and the bobsledding excursion throughout the rain forest... sorry for too much info. take care and have fun...Peace!

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