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Jamaica Observer:-KINGSTON, Jamaica — The United States yesterday categorised Jamaica as ‘Level 2’ on its new travel advisory scale, warning Americans to “exercise increased caution” when travelling to the island due to the high crime rate.

The advisory, posted on the US State Department’s website, said violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, homicide and sexual assaults occur frequently, even at all-inclusive resorts and Jamaican police “lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents”.

Americans were advised not travel to some areas of Kingston, Montego Bay, St James and Spanish Town, St Catherine.

In  Kingston, the State Department said violence and shootings occur regularly and prohibited travel to downtown Kingston, which it defined as the areas between Mountain View Avenue and Hagley Park Road and south of Half Way Tree and Old Hope Roads.

It also includes Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Arnett Gardens, Grants Pen, Cassava Piece and Standpipe, which is located just across from the US Embassy in Kingston.

For US government personnel, travel is prohibited to Spanish Town and the following areas in Montego Bay: Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street, and Hart Street.

They are also prohibited from driving outside of Kingston at night, the US State Department  said in its advisory.

The new travel advisory scale ranks countries from one to four on safety and risk factors.

Level 1 countries are where travellers need to “exercise normal precaution”. The US asks its citizens to “reconsider travel” to Level 3 countries such as Pakistan, while for Level 4, which lists countries such as Afghanistan, the US recommends “Do Not Travel”.

The US said its new travel advisory is simpler and replaces all previous travel warnings and alerts.