By NAN Contributor
News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Tues. June 21, 2016: The latest updated travel notices from the Canadian government warns nationals to “exercise a high degree of caution” when traveling to the Caribbean nations of the Dominican Republic (DR) and Jamaica.
The cautionary advice was updated on both nations on June 17th based on high crime levels in both nations, according to the Canadian government, which last week issued similar updated warnings for The Bahamas, Guyana and Suriname.
In the DR, the Canadian statement warns travelers of violent crimes (including assault) against foreigners, which it said, occasionally occurs.
Unaccompanied female Canadian travelers are also being urged to “exercise caution in dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances, especially regarding the acceptance of rides or other invitations (since) incidents of assault, rape and sexual aggression against foreigners have been reported, including at beach resorts.”
The Canada government statement also warns about petty crime (including pick-pocketing), which it said is common in urban areas.
“Thefts have been reported in resorts, including in hotel rooms and hotel room safes,” the statement said. “Exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially after dark. Avoid showing signs of affluence and do not leave your personal belongings unattended on the beach. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Limit the valuable items you bring into the country.”
The Canadian government also alerted its travelers to be cautious since “theft of items from checked baggage at airports has been reported.”
“These thefts have taken place most frequently when travelers are departing,” added the statement. “Money and personal items have also been stolen from carry-on luggage while travelers are going through security checks. Do not pack valuables in your checked luggage. Items most likely to disappear include electronics (especially digital cameras), jewellery and perfume.”
For Jamaica, the Canada government statement warns travelers that violent crime, including armed robbery and murder, is a problem in large cities on the island, particularly in Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay.
It said the availability of firearms is widespread, and most violent crimes, especially murder, involve firearms.
“Despite the presence of police in major urban areas, drug- and gang-related violence, including shootings, continues to be a significant problem,” said the statement, which noted that there is a risk of becoming the victim of crossfire in these areas.
Still the Canadian government admitted that reports of violence perpetrated against tourists are actually very low but urged its nationals to “maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media” especially since “some inner-city and disadvantaged neighborhoods of Kingston have a significant gang population and high incidences of violent crime.”
These include, according to the Canadian government, Tivoli Gardens, Whitfield Town, Payne Land, West Kingston, Grant’s Pen, August Town, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Arnett Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Harbour View, Central Village, Spanish Town, Mountain View, Trench Town, Cassava Piece, Canterbury, Norwood and Rose Heights.
Canadian travelers are also being warned to avoid some parts of Montego Bay, namely St. Clavers Avenue and Hart Street, Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights and Mount Salem.
“Do not walk alone while visiting the island, even during the day. Go out in groups with people that you know. Exercise extreme caution in all regions of the country after dark and avoid visiting beaches and isolated areas at night. Do not use buses at night,” cautioned the statement, which also warns Canadians to “be wary of “friendly” strangers since there have been reports of “alleged sexual assaults at tourist resorts carried out by resort staff and, in some cases, by other tourists.”
“Women traveling alone are often harassed,” the government statement added, while urging them to refrain from excessive drinking, especially at all-inclusive resorts and to always ensure that their hotel room doors and windows are secure.
The Canadian government also said crimes of opportunity, including petty theft, pick-pocketing and bag -snatching are common in major tourist areas.
“Ensure that your personal belongings and travel documents are secure at all times. Do not carry large amounts of cash or show signs of affluence. Protect your cell phone, a popular item for theft,” the statement added. “Be aware of your surroundings when withdrawing money from automated banking machines (ABMs). Remain vigilant at supermarkets and retail outlets, as credit card and ABM fraud is a risk in Jamaica.”