I decided to ask a Security Consultant to share his views and some tips about living in the sun for people considering moving to Jamaica, as many are often confused by the conflicting reports.
The first thing many people here about Jamaica, is how beautiful it is, but the crime rate and violence is high. Expats here aobut Jamaica the crime rate is high in Jamaica, over 2.7 million people live here and many enjoy a good lifestyle with expats moving in and out of the country yearly. Expats are also rarely ever targeted or harmed.
The following piece is written by our specialist and his name is at the bottom of the article. Please send me a note, should you have direct questions for him.
Traveling to Jamaica:
It is always a good idea to get as much information about a country you are about to visit. For me I usually go as far as getting maps and studying the physical layout of the land, its topography and its communication systems, including roads and river ways. But probably some of the most important areas you want be updated on are the culture of the people and the crime situation as both could impact on you in very significant ways.
This article is especially directed to persons traveling to Jamaica whether it is for vacation, business or relocation. The points which will be highlighted will be general ones mostly pertaining to security; if more detailed information is required I may be contacted through this Blog.
Jamaicans in general are a very friendly people however you should endeavour not to misread that friendliness for subservience.
There is much unemployment and poverty in Jamaica at this time and therefore it is advisable that you take all precautions to secure your personal belongings, and be alert at all times so as to deter any attack on your person.
In many depressed areas especially those with high crime rate persons are very wary of strangers and so it is advisable that you keep to the beaten path unless escorted by someone familiar with the area.
Jamaicans tend to be extremely homophobic and it is therefore strongly recommended that if you are a practitioner of such a lifestyle that you do not make a public display of it.
The average Jamaican is very vocal and will often blow a lot of “hot air”. They will, however, quite often relent and even become an instant friend if you hold your ground and reason with them in a no confrontational manner. There is always the exception however and in those cases discretion must be the guiding principle.
More general points:
1. Exercise great caution when entering or exiting your vehicle. Take a few seconds to look around and decide that all is ok.
2. You are at great risk of attack in the area of your home when engaged in routine activities when your movements can be predicted.
3. On arrival at home take a quick look around to ensure that everything is normal if you have a dog that usually greets you and it does not show up be extra careful and on the alert.
4. Do not take threats lightly, report them to the police.
5. If you get a threatening phone call do not hang up, instead, try to keep the person talking as long as possible and get as much information to report to the police.
6. Never agree to receive or meet anybody for any purpose that does not give his name and state his business and never allow yourself to be driven to anyone who is not vouched for or known to you.
7. While driving always keep the doors to your vehicle locked.
8. Avoid narrow and lonely streets.
9. If you suspect that you are being followed, try not to allow yourself to be overtaken or forced off the road. Take a known detour and if still suspicious, attract attention by turning on your lights, honking your horn and drive to a police station or other safe area.
10. In the plaza always have your key in hand when you approach your vehicle and develop the habit of looking around before getting in.
11. While walking on the street, walk near to the curb facing incoming traffic. Avoid passing too close to shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of concealment.
12. If you feel you are being followed cross the street and if you continue to be followed try to draw attention to yourself.
13. If a driver pulls up alongside to ask a question, do not approach the vehicle. In particular beware of suggestion to look at a map.
14. If you find yourself in a situation with a weapon threat, do exactly what you are told.
The above list is not an exhaustive one but as was suggested I may be contacted for further information as it pertains to your special circumstance.
Major Stanley Ford (Ret’d)
Security Consultant/ Trainer