Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 24 January 2018, 15:20 NZDT
  • Still current at: 15 December 2018

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to violent crime.

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Violent Crime
Jamaica 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, Cassava Piece and Mountain View. Crime is also high in Spanish Town and certain parts of Montego Bay (non-resort areas). Police may impose curfews with short notice in areas where gang activity is a concern.

New Zealanders are advised to assure themselves their accommodation has appropriate security measures in place. Most hotels and resorts are well guarded and gated communities are considered the safest accommodation in the Kingston area. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, even when staying with family or friends.

New Zealanders should be aware that most attacks against tourists are financially motivated. Exercise particular vigilance while withdrawing money from ATMs. It is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such jewellery and mobile devices. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence.

New Zealanders are advised to avoid walking alone or in isolated areas, including on beaches. Do not take buses at night and only use taxis approved by the Jamaica Union of Travellers’ Association. These taxis can be identified by their red and white license plates.

There have been outbreaks of violence on the Mountain View Avenue route from Kingston International Airport to the city. We advise New Zealanders travelling between the airport and the city use the alternative Humming Bird route along South Camp Road. 

Petty crime such as bag snatching, passport theft and pickpocketing occurs in Jamaica and is common in tourist areas and in Kingston. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. Extra care should be taken to ensure food and drink is never left unattended. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.

State of Emergency
On 18 January 2018 the Government of Jamaica declared a state of emergency in St James Parish (including Montego Bay) due to a significant increase in violent crime. There is an increased police and military presence in the area to stabilize the situation. If you are staying in the affected area, be extremely vigilant particularly at night, monitor local media and follow all instructions from local authorities. Expect travel delays.

Civil Unrest
Demonstrations and protests are not common in Jamaica but do occur. New Zealanders should avoid demonstrations as they have the potential to lead to violence and opportunistic crime. Be alert, take precautions to ensure your safety and comply with instructions from relevant security authorities.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Jamaica should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Jamaica are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand High Commission Ottawa, Canada is accredited to Jamaica

Street Address 150 Elgin Street, Suite 1401 Ottawa Ontario K2P 1L4 Telephone +1 613 238 5991 Alternate Telephone +1 613 238 6097 Email Web Site Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1630 hrs

See our regional advice for the Caribbean

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Accredited New Zealand High Commission Canada

Street Address
150 Elgin Street, Suite 1401 Ottawa Ontario K2P 1L4

Telephone: +1 613 238 5991

Alternate Telephone: +1 613 238 6097



Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1630 hrs

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