The U.S. government is urging caution when traveling to several popular spring break destinations in the coming months. FOX 5’s Josh Rosenthal has the story.
The U.S. government is urging caution when traveling to several popular spring break destinations in the coming months.
In the past two weeks, the State Department has updated travel advisories for both The Bahamas and for Jamaica.
A Level 2 advisory has been issued for The Bahamas, which means travelers should "exercise increased caution" in this case due to crime.
Meanwhile, a Level 3 advisory has been issued for Jamaica. That’s the second-highest advisory level, and it means Americans should "reconsider travel" because of medical services, and once again, because of crime.
"These crimes are actually occurring on the resorts, where people often felt safe," said travel expert Troy Petenbrink. "I think we’re getting a little immune to some of these advisories sometimes because they are coming out pretty regularly now, but I think people really do need to take them seriously."
Travel warnings for Jamaica and the Bahamas each cite violent crime and sexual assaults as a potential threat to tourists.
That’s even if some of the specific concerns in the advisories may also apply here at home.
For instance, the Jamaica advisory lists "violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides" as a common concern.
Asked about the prevalence of those same crimes in the District, Petenbrink drew a distinction between the two.
"We are dealing with a crime crisis here in our own city, but at the same time, we are seeing people take precautions. We’re seeing a decrease in people going out to restaurants," he explained. "I think oftentimes when we’re on vacation, we let our guard down."
For the second time in as many weeks, the State Department is citing increased crime on another Caribbean island nation and warning American citizens to "reconsider travel" to Jamaica.
Petenbrink recommended would-be travelers do their research before booking, and he added that it’s important to read the State Department’s travel advisories, which include quite a bit of detail and helpful advice.
Both Jamaica and The Bahamas responded to the travel advisories with statements, noting that the countries have made improvements, and generally, are safe.
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