10 Most Dangerous Cities in Jamaica

Updated On October 10, 2023

Jamaica is located in the Caribbean just south of the island nation of Cuba and to the west of Haiti

Jamaica’s population sits at just under three million residents.

However, local officials say this number is expected to surpass three million within the next five to seven years. 

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Jamaica

While Jamaica is a culturally rich, vibrant, and naturally beautiful country, it has a few downsides. 

Many cities in Jamaica report high crime rates in highly populated tourist areas. 

Local officials at the Jamaican Constabulary Force say that the most common serious crimes perpetuated against residents of Jamaican cities and tourists in Jamaica include some of the following. 

  • Murder 
  • Assault 
  • Shooting Deaths 
  • Violent Crime 

Crime and population estimates for Jamaica are based on data reported by local officials, including policing agencies like the Jamaica Constabulary Force, city police departments, and Global homicide data supplied by the United Nations. 

Spanish Town
Spanish Town

#1. Spanish Town

Spanish Town, Jamaica, has one of the highest crime rates of all dangerous cities. 

Warring gang factions make life dangerous for Jamaican residents and tourists in the area.

Government officials report high murder rates, ongoing gang turf wars, and overt drug trafficking, making some city areas nearly impossible to police. 

Local officials say the primary factors contributing to such incredibly high crime rates include poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and limited access to essential resources like food, shelter, and clean water. 

Many tourists continue to visit Jamaica despite its violent reputation.

However, people traveling in the area should avoid walking alone at night and keep valuables, cash, and cell phones out of sight. 

Latest Population Estimate: 154,819 

Montego Bay 
Montego Bay

#2. Montego Bay 

Montego Bay beaches, nightlife, and culture attract scores of US travelers each year.

However, many travelers don’t know that the area is also considered a hotbed of crime for gangs, organized crime syndicates, and drug traffickers, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the country. 

Latest Population Estimate: 427,891


#3. Kingston

Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, is located on the southeastern coast.

Like many coastal cities in Jamaica, Kingston attracts scores of tourists each year. 

The tropical climate in this steamy city also attracts violent criminals who rob, murder, and assault residents and visitors at an alarmingly high rate. 

In 2022, Kingston, Jamaica, reported the highest number of murders in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

The murder rate in Kingston is currently reported at around 52.9 out of 100,000 residents.

This number translates to 1,287 murders in the city of Kingston in just one year. 

Latest Population Estimate: 1.24 million (Most Populated City in Jamaica) 


#4. Portmore

While Portmore, Jamaica, is considered relatively tame compared to other dangerous Jamaican cities, travelers and residents should still beware. 

Portmore regularly reports serious incidents of burglary, theft, drug trafficking, and related violent criminal offenses. 

Local officials have been trying to curb violent crime and property crime in Portmore by beefing up security in their police forces and implementing more social programs for impoverished residents. 

Latest Population Estimate: 216,000


#5. Savanna-la-Mar

Savanna-la-Mar is a Jamaican port city famously known for its sugar cane production.

It is located on the country’s southwest coast and is a popular tourist destination for US travelers. 

This coastal Jamaican city has high levels of armed robberies, petty thefts, and drug-related crimes that American tourists should take care to steer clear of when traveling in Jamaica. 

Latest Population Estimate: 13,930


#6. Clarendon

Although Clarendon is not one of Jamaica’s most popular tourist destinations, it sees its fair share of tourists and foreign visitors annually. 

The crime rate in the city of Clarendon is incredibly high.

Murder rates in Clarendon double the national average, already representing the highest murder rate in the Latin Americas and the Caribbean. 

Clarendon’s crime rate is around 49.8 per 100,000, double the national average. 

Latest Population Estimate: 271,000

St. Andrew
St. Andrew

#7. St. Andrew (South) 

Local and global crime statistics reports show that the south end of St. Andrew in Jamaica is one of the most dangerous locations in the country. 

The city reports abnormally high levels of violent crime, property crime, armed robbery, and theft.

Government officials say lack of education, high unemployment rates, and heavy gang saturation drive sky-high crime rates in St. Andrews. 

Latest Population Estimate: 573, 369

St. James
St. James

#8. St. James

Moreso than other dangerous Jamaican cities, St. James is known for ongoing turf wars initiated by local gangs as they vie for control of the region’s crime and drug trade. 

Reports show that St. James has a long history of gang wars that render pockets of the city inaccessible or dangerous to visitors and other city inhabitants.  

Latest Population Estimate: 183, 102+

St. Catherine
St. Catherine

#9. St. Catherine (North and South) 

US travelers getting ready to venture out to St. Catherine, Jamaica, should beware that the area is known for high levels of personal and property crimes. 

Regardless of what area of the city you happen to be visiting, travelers should know there are incredibly high rates of robbery against persons walking alone on the streets, after dark, and even in hotels. 

Local officials recommend not carrying around large sums of money or appearing to be flashy in any way when visiting or traveling through the St. Catherine’s area. 

In fact, with the city’s theft and murder rate on the higher end of the spectrum due to the presence of local gangs and organized crime — the US Department of State’s Level 3 Travel Advisory says it may be best to avoid visiting the area at all. 

Latest Population Estimate: 519,515


#10. Hanover

San Miguel, Argentina, is in the northwest corner of the Greater Buenos Aires metro area.

This city has an active industrial corridor filled with automotive plants, factories, food processing plants, and textile mills. 

Hanover is home to high crime and interpersonal violence despite its smaller population.

Local officials say that most of Hanover’s violence is concentrated in the capital of Lucca. 

There are high numbers of homicides, shootings, and gang-related robberies in the area, making it a hazardous location for people to live in and visit. 

Latest Population Estimate: 67, 908

Safety Tips

#1. Beware of the Level Three Travel Advisory Issued by The US Department of State

If you plan on traveling to Jamaica to enjoy the country’s gorgeous coastal beaches and natural water formations, you should postpone your trip to a later date.

US Department of State Officials has issued a level three travel advisory warning against traveling in Jamaica due to increased violent crime. 

#2. Stick to Your Itinerary

Along with being home to the Latin American murder capital, the most dangerous cities in Jamaica are also home to many scam artists. 

US tourists traveling in Jamaica can become easy targets for personal injury or robbery scams when they deviate from their original itinerary and into uncharted territory. 

#3. Stay in Tourist Areas 

Jamaica is filled with natural oceans, beaches, waterfalls, and luscious landscapes that can pique the interests of even the most aware traveler. 

It is inadvisable to venture out of tourist areas such as hotels and resorts without a local guide, especially not on your own at night. 

#4. Use Licensed Taxis Only 

While saving a few dollars on getting around the island may be tempting, that temporary savings could cost you more than you think. 

Use only licensed taxis and transportation services when traveling in dangerous Jamaican cities to avoid becoming the victim of taxi scams which can result in robbery, theft, or physical violence against American tourists. 

#5. Travel in Groups

Avoid being the victim of petty theft, robbery, and other crimes in dangerous by traveling with tour groups and local guides with verifiable reputations who are familiar with the area. 

Traveling in groups can reduce the likelihood of an individual traveler being attacked as anxious criminals await confused tourists to stray away from the safety of travel groups. 


Jamaica Travel Advisory. (n.d.). Jamaica Travel Advisory. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/jamaica-travel-advisory.html

Statistics – Jamaica Constabulary Force. (2020, October 12). Jamaica Constabulary Force – Serve, Protect, and Reassure. https://jcf.gov.jm/stats/

Homepage. (n.d.). Homepage – U.S. Embassy in Jamaica. https://jm.usembassy.gov/

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Global Study on Homicide – 2019

Victims of Intentional Homicide – https://dataunodc.un.org/dp-intentional-homicide-victims

Jamaica Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Jamaica Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any travel safety advisories issued for Jamaica?

The US Department of State has listed Jamaica travel as a level three travel advisory threat.

This warning means that US officials strongly recommend against traveling to Jamaica in any capacity due to elevated levels of violent crimes, shooting deaths, and armed robberies happening in the country.

Why is it dangerous to travel to Jamaica right now?

High levels of murder, violent crimes, armed robbery, and sexual assault in many cities across the country make it inadvisable for US travelers to risk going into the country.

US tourists who visit Jamaica under the current travel advisory are at a much greater risk of becoming victims of violent crime or property crime in the country’s current political and socioeconomic climate.

What cities in Jamaica should US travelers avoid?

The latest global security reports show that the US Department of State has issued a level two-three travel advisory in Jamaica.

This elevated travel advisory recommendation states that US travelers should avoid all Jamaican travel at this time.

Travelers who must visit Jamaica should exercise extreme caution when visiting or passing through the following areas:

  • Kingston
  • St. Andrew
  • Clarendon
  • St. Catherine
  • St. James
  • Westmoreland
  • Montego Bay
  • Hanover

2 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Jamaica

  1. S
    Saundra says:

    I lived in Negril for two years. I loved the warm ocean and loved diving or snorkeling the major amount of time. I went as a single 50 year old woman. Negril is dangerous too. It is not unusual to see a conflict among Jamaicans turn into a machete fight. Often in the middle of town. I had some pretty bad experiences with both Jamaican men (especially) and a few women. They’re going to steal from you given any chance. Even if you’re they’re friend. Unless they have a steady stream of money coming from a job..this is what’s true. Everything is a Hussle everywhere you go.
    I traveled the island.. Most have too many children by too many mothers and no money. They pray on women from richer countries. To support them. With or without them knowing they have a family already! Especially older ones believing they’re more vulnerable and have more to take.
    But there’s a mysterious beauty about Jamaica. The diving, glass bottom boats, snorkeling. All fabulous. I traveled the entire island 🌴. I feel lucky I survived.
    If I ever went again I would choose an all inclusive around Port Antonio and be a little more solitary. I had many close calls. Stayed there too long!

  2. I just got back from Jamaica and had a blast. I stayed in Negril, visited Montego Bay, Kingston, and went into the countryside all over Westmoreland Parish. I found the vast majority of people to be extremely friendly and cool.

    But just like in American cities like Baltimore near me, you have to have street smarts. Know your surroundings, don’t go there and get involved in any criminal activities, and don’t flash a lot of money around. If you plan where you’re going to stay and have common sense, you’ll have a blast. As far as crime goes, Kingston seemed like the worst area, but if you go during the daytime (or better yet, get a local guide), you can avoid the more crime-ridden neighborhoods and have a great time.

    Don’t let fearmongering prevent you from going to the places you want to visit. Jamaica is a wonderful place.

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