Amid a rise in violent crime, authorities in Jamaica have declared a state of emergency in several areas including the popular tourist town of Montego Bay.
Local police said on Friday that they will take a zero tolerance approach to crime in the parish of St. James, where Montego Bay is located, and nearby communities that have seen an increase in killings that officials blame on gangs and lottery scams.
According to the police, businesses and recreational areas are under a temporary curfew. The state of emergency allows them to search areas without a warrant.
Authorities also have imposed a curfew in parts of St. Catherine parish located just west of the capital of Kingston.
Canada, UK, US warnings
The Canadian and United Kingdom government websites have also put up warnings with the UK being very specific in its advice.
“You should follow local advice, including restrictions in selected areas. You should limit your movements outside of resorts in the area at this time, and exercise particular care if travelling at night. Travel to and from the airport or for excursions should be undertaken with organized tour operators, and transport should be arranged or provided by the resort hotels.”
The US State Department’s Jamaica travel advisory was posted on January 10. Its warnings mirror those of Canada and the UK.