The country is under a Level 3 travel advisory due to its "crime and medical services"
The U.S. State Department is asking travelers to reconsider visiting Jamaica.
The country is under a Level 3 travel advisory due to its "crime and medical services." The agency announced the travel alert change on Jan. 23, stating that "violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides" are common in the country, and sexual assaults frequently occur, including at "all-inclusive resorts."
"The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has, for several years, been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere," the alert reads.
The agency stated that violence and shootings "occur regularly" throughout many areas of the country, and local police "do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents." Multiple Jamaican neighborhood communities were labeled high-risk travel areas.
Individuals looking to travel to Jamaica are warned that medical providers with varying response times are under-resourced and not readily available.
The advisory encouraged potential travelers to obtain travel insurance, as U.S. health insurance may not be accepted, and Medicare and Medicare do not apply overseas. Tips for those who travel to Jamaica include avoiding public buses, staying away from secluded places, and not walking or driving at night.
The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica also shared the advisory notice.
Jamaica Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett stated earlier this month that the country welcomed a "substantial" growth of tourists last year.
"In 2023 we welcomed a total of 4.15 million visitors, which is a substantial 24% increase over the previous year. This reflects the remarkable appeal of Destination Jamaica. This includes 2,886,064 stopover visitors, which marks a 16.4% rise over the figure recorded in 2022. Additionally, there were 1,265,586 cruise arrivals recorded for the year, representing a whopping 48.3% increase over the number of cruise passengers that visited the island in 2022," a press release statement from Bartlett reads.
The travel alert change comes days after the U.S. State Department issued a level 2 advisory for the Bahamas due to crime rates. The agency advised travelers to "exercise increased caution" in the area and the water.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
"Activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated. Watercraft may be poorly maintained, and some operators may not have safety certifications. Always review and heed local weather and marine alerts before engaging in water-based activities," the alert explained.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.