Canada warns travellers as Jamaica extends state of emergency due to rise in violent crime
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Global Affairs Canada has issued a travel warning for Jamaica, while the Jamaican government has extended a previously issued state of emergency.
The government of Jamaica has extended a state of emergency across several of its popular tourist destinations to Oct. 28, citing a significant increase of violent crime.
The state of emergency, which applies to St. James, Westmoreland and Hanover parishes, also includes the popular Montego Bay, a frequent destination for Canadian vacationers.
Global Affairs Canada updated the emergency status on its website, which was previously set to expire on Tuesday.
The Global Affairs warning mentions that security forces will be able to have more freedom in conducting searches and seizures, detaining any persons of interest and that curfews may come into effect without notice.
A state of emergency for St. Andrew Parish, which includes the capital, Kingston, has also been put into effect until Oct. 5.
WATCH: Canadians travel to Montego Bay in 2018 despite emergency
Reports of violence against tourists are comparatively low, but various accusations of sexual assault perpetrated at resorts have made other countries, such as the U.S., issue warnings against travel to the country.
The government of Jamaica previously declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in January 2018, which was attributed to an increase in killings in nearby communities. It has been extended several times.
A local newspaper, the Jamaica Gleaner, reported that 1,616 murders took place in 2017, with 335 of those taking place in St. James alone.
Global Affairs Canada released a list of areas in Greater Kingston and Montego Bay that are reported to have high levels of violent crime, citing petty crime and fraud as being common problems as well.
Vacationers travelling to affected areas are warned to co-operate with security officers, carry valid ID and avoid leaving their resorts after dark.
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