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Feds Advise Canadians Travelling to Jamaica and Colombia to Exercise ‘High Degree of Caution’

The federal government is advising Canadians travelling to Jamaica and Colombia to exercise a “high degree of caution” while there and to avoid certain areas in both countries due to rising rates of crime and kidnappings in those vicinities.

The government’s warnings come shortly after the U.S. State Department called on U.S. citizens to “reconsider travel” to Jamaica and Colombia because of rising crime rates, highlighting elevated terrorism threats in Colombia.

“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the U.S. State Department said in a Level 3 travel advisory updated for Jamaica last week.

Ottawa is issuing similar warnings to Canadian travellers considering trips to Jamaica and Colombia, a spokesperson from a Canadian government department told The Epoch Times.

“The Government of Canada advises Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to both Jamaica and Colombia,” the spokesperson said.

The federal government lists a number of reasons for this warning on its travel advice web pages for both countries.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) warns Canadians to “avoid all travel” to certain border areas and ports in Colombia “due to the risk of kidnapping and violent crime posed by the presence of illegal armed groups and other criminal organizations.”

GAC also advises Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel in certain Colombian cities, such as Córdoba and Guaviare, because of “drug-related criminal activity.”

For Jamaica, GAC says violent crime “including armed robbery and murder” is a problem in large cities and tourist areas including parts of Kingston and Montego Bay “despite the presence of police to counter criminal activity.”

GAC also says firearms are widely available across the country, contributing to “violent drug and gang related crimes, especially murder.”

“There is a risk of becoming the victim of crossfire in these areas. Tourists are also at risk of crimes of opportunity, especially theft and robberies,” the department says.

GAC advises Canadian tourists in Jamaica to “avoid walking alone, even during the day” and to “avoid visiting isolated areas and beaches.” The department says there have been many instances of female lone travellers being harassed, including at tourism resorts.

“There have been reports of sexual assaults at tourist resorts carried out by resort staff and, in some cases, by other tourists. Women travelling alone are often harassed,” GAC says. “Be particularly vigilant if you are staying at a smaller or isolated establishment with less security.”

Jack Phillips contributed to this report. 

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