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Thread: Safety question

  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Safety question

    We are looking forward to our CSS stay this month and first trip to Jamaica. When discussing Jamaica with some friends they were not complimentary of Jamaica at all, stating there are police or guards with machine guns and to be careful with people who try to set you up by putting drugs in your purse or bag. Is this just a bunch or stuff or is there any truth to this?

  2. #2

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    First question I ask those that reply like this is "so, when were you there last"?

  3. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    We had also heard this before our first trip to CSS last January..NOT true....we loved it so much we are going back in 2 weeks! Most people that say negative things have been on cruises that stop in Ochos Rios and are bombarded by vendors when they dock.. CSS is our "home"...you will know what I mean once you go!

  4. #4
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    Sounds like the stuff movies are made of. Have your friends been or have they heard from a friend who heard from a friend...........Yes, there are gaurds, dont think they are armed and police do carry a large imtimidating gun but Jamaica is as safe as anyother place you might go. Use common sense and you will have nothing to worry about.

  5. #5

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    Hello,
    We have been to Jamaica 4 times, and have NEVER felt unsafe. Jamaica is a third world country; however, I practice the same safety tips I use whenever I travel be it first world or third world--be smart, be aware of your surroundings, don't carry more cash than you to, and deal with recommended vendors!

    Have a great trip!
    suzyQ

  6. #6
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    May 2012
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    I'm very curious to hear the answer to this. Everyone tells me these things as well.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2009
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    Nonsense. Be careful but not overly paranoid. The shopping excursions may expose you to some rather aggressive sales people (I won't go on those anymore...I don't need the souvenirs or grief).

    One time when we flew into the Negril Aerodrome there were a bunch of police/military people there, but we found out the Prime Minister was just behind us. Other than that, I have never seen any police activity.

  8. #8
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    I have seen machine gun toting individuals in Venezuela, Hungary, Washington DC, the Hoover Damn and Paris but NEVER in Jamaica. My cousin talks about machine gun toting guards and jeeps with machine guns, but the last time he was there was in the early 80's or late 70's, so long ago he does not remember. I feel safe there have never seen many police officers, other then those trying to catch speeders along the road and having lunch at Couples Negril once. Enjoy and don't worry, be happy.

  9. #9

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    We have been to Couples 6 times now, 3 at CSS and 3 at CSA with no hint of a problem. Forget the machine gun armed guards as it does not exist anywhere I have been. There is security at the resorts and beaches as you would expect but nothing like that. Talking to the driver on the way back to the airport last month and his oppinion was that most people know that either their livelyhood or people they know is dependant on the tourists and that any horror stories will keep people away and make them lose their source of income. All the Jamaicans we come in contact with on or off the resort have been great. Just use common sense as you would in any city back home. Don't walk alone at night in secluded areas or dark streets, don't flash a lot of cash or jewelry off resort, etc. This is all the same as when I visit anywhere. We love Jamaica and the people we meet there.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by suzyQ View Post
    Hello,
    We have been to Jamaica 4 times, and have NEVER felt unsafe. Jamaica is a third world country; however, I practice the same safety tips I use whenever I travel be it first world or third world--be smart, be aware of your surroundings, don't carry more cash than you to, and deal with recommended vendors!

    Have a great trip!
    suzyQ
    I'm glad you typed it so I didn't have to. This is 100% dead on. I've been to some out of the way places in JA and have never felt unsafe.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondurbin View Post
    ... there are police or guards with machine guns and to be careful with people who try to set you up by putting drugs in your purse or bag. ...
    The JCF (~police) do carry M16/AR16 or M4 rifles, though I only recall seeing these in larger urban areas like MoBay or Sav-La-Mar (and certainly in news photos in and around Kingston).
    The JDF (~military) seem to always bear assault rifles, unless on parade, though we've also only seen them in large urban areas or at election times.
    The resort guards, mostly Guardsman employees, typically do not bear arms. At least we've never seen them with any, though I do recall a Gleaner (newspaper) photo of an armed guard in front of some industrial plant.

    Someone slipping drugs into your bag is far more likely to do so intending to retrieve the drugs at your destination rather than setting you up, and neither is particularly likely. Maintain awareness and use common sense when off property as stated above and you should be fine.

  12. #12
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    Security with machine guns? They must have Jamaica confused with the Dominican Republic, as there were certainly armed guards at each end of the beach in Punta Cana. Never seen an armed guard at any Couples resort, though.

  13. #13
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    Dec 2009
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    8 trips to Jamaica and never a problem or concern. We also have people tell us the same things.
    Funny thing is, they have never been to Jamaica.
    We live in Chicago, Jamaica is much safer. A typical weekend in Chicago has more incidents than an entire year in Jamaica but thousands of tourists will come to Chicago this summer on vacation.
    There have been some problems in Kingston over the years, just like any big city in the US, Canada & the UK. Kingston is nowhere near Ocho or Negril.

  14. #14

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    [QUOTE=Bert;179387]Nonsense. Be careful but not overly paranoid. The shopping excursions may expose you to some rather aggressive sales people (I won't go on those anymore...I don't need the souvenirs or grief).




    CSS is a private resort & beach. If you feel uncomforable don't go off the resort. They have a very nice gift & jewerly shop there. Plus vendors set-up on the beach (they are all very nice) so there is no need to go out of the resort.
    Dianavr

  15. #15
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    Jul 2011
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    We were told some horror stories before we left and honestly didn't know what to expect when we went last year for the first time. I can honestly say that on the resort, we had no issues; with that said I would not want to travel off the resort very far on my own. We stayed at CSA and took the shopping trip and walked down to Margaritaville and i can say that the vendors were more aggressive once you got off the resort. I never saw any guards with guns or anything like that but I have heard that Ocho Rios and the cruise ship area is a little different.

    I live in Illinois and there are parts of Chicago that I wouldn't go to so like someone else said, be aware of your surrondings and just be smart about things.

  16. #16

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    We have seen police with guns when we are off-property. They are not handguns like we are used to seeing the police carry. They are bigger rifles but I don't think they are machine guns. I think police carry these kinds of weapons in a lot of other countries so while it was a little surprising, it wasn't disturbing. They were all very nice, just checking on things, making sure everyone was okay.

    As far as drugs go... you ARE going to be offered drugs pretty much wherever you go (especially walking down the beach) but you just need to say "No, thank you." and be on your way. It's not as seedy as it may seem to Americans. Smoking ganga is common there and really no big deal. If you choose to take advantage of a little of the local flavor and that's fine, too. Just remember... there's no such thing as a "free sample." ;-)

  17. #17
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    Jun 2009
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    These types of ignorant statements always make me laugh.
    Unless you want to lock yourself in your home and never emerge again, you are taking risks. And even then you are not 100%safe.
    I never quite understand people who pass along "information" about something they know nothing about.
    Is there crime in Jamaica? Sure, just like there is crime in the United States, England, Africa, Asia, Australia and your own home town. Are you 100% safe anywhere? Nope. But millions of people travel to Jamaica every year and return to tell wonderful stories of hopitality and friendship. Just like anywhere else, don't be stupid, use common sense and you will have a fantastic trip.

  18. #18
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    Jan 2012
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    Yes there are check points. They don't stop resort buses unless they are speeding. I have traveled all over Jamaica in taxis and rented cars and have never had a problem. I have been pulled over a few times at the check points. Never a problem. I feel safer in Jamaica than in some cities in the USA. I never had to take my Rolex off in Jamaica but there are many places in the USA I wouldn't wear it.

  19. #19
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    Oct 2011
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    Security with machine guns? They must have Jamaica confused with the Dominican Republic, as there were certainly armed guards at each end of the beach in Punta Cana. Never seen an armed guard at any Couples resort, though.

    I agree with bobandjudy, I have spent a lot of time in the DR and you see this all over the place. I have spent time in Haiti, grew up in Puerto Rico, a few other islands ad well as time in Belize and Mexico. Many of these places you tend to see more "armed" guards than Jamaica. Our last trip home we felt so comfortable, never unsafe or felt threatened. Go, relax, enjoy and respect!

  20. #20
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    6 trips later and we have not had problems and we do leave the resort. I take the power walks at CTI which is up the mountain through some jungle. It is an escorted walk, but no problems. We have gun toting police in our city, not machine guns, but they do have guns. Last time I was in LAX, there were military with big guns. As stated previously, take whatever precautions you would normally take in an unfamiliar area. For example, when we do the shopping excursion, we don't take much cash and we don't wear big jewelry. When I go on the power walk, I leave everything behind. I don't carry stuff with me when I walk at home, so why would I in Jamaica. I have taken my camera on the last day just to take photos of some amazing views.
    Vicky

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanfastic View Post
    Security with machine guns? They must have Jamaica confused with the Dominican Republic, as there were certainly armed guards at each end of the beach in Punta Cana. Never seen an armed guard at any Couples resort, though.

    I agree with bobandjudy, I have spent a lot of time in the DR and you see this all over the place. I have spent time in Haiti, grew up in Puerto Rico, a few other islands ad well as time in Belize and Mexico. Many of these places you tend to see more "armed" guards than Jamaica. Our last trip home we felt so comfortable, never unsafe or felt threatened. Go, relax, enjoy and respect!
    In 4 trips to Mexico I have seen Military or Police with machine guns 4 times, in one trip to Costa Rica seen it, 1 trip to Punta Cana did not see it, and in 4 trips to JA (2 to Negril, 2 to Ocho Rios) We have seen Police w/machine gun 1ce (Police woman actually). Never at any of the resorts.

    As a previous poster said you will encounter vendors trying to sell you drugs, you may see and smell it. It is much more common there than here, and much more in the open, although contrary to what many think it is not legal.

    In 4 trips to JA we have travelled extensively with Private Guides to many different area's. YS Falls, Pelican Bar, Black River, Mayfield Falls, Port Antonio, Boston Bay, Somerset Falls, Blue Lagoon.
    Believe me we have experience the "real Jamaica" eaten at roadside stands, visited local farms, hung out with Rasta's learing about their beliefs, diet etc, Never felt unsafe. I think so much of the bad reputation comes from cruise ship visitors, I think they get bombarded as they enter from the ships with vendors (it is the way so many of them make their living) and it not the nicest area so people think that is what JA is.. It is truly not at all. It is a poor country, the people make nothing compared to the U.S yet the cost of living is much the same. As a result many of the people live in poverty without so many of the comforts we so take for granted. In spite of that most of the people of Jamaica take extreme pride in their country, and will treat you with the utmost respect. The laid back "It's all good" attitude is infectious. You may encounter the rare few that does not apply to, but in reality how many rude people do you come in contact with here in the States on a daily basis? As others have mentioned it is a 3rd World Country you must always exercise street smarts. I certainly would not go into the heart of any major city here in the States without some street smarts use the same cautions there.

    Looking forward to returning to Negril in 2013.

    Marie
    CN 06, 07
    CSS 08, 10
    CN 2013 soon come.

  22. #22

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    Three trips in the book to CTI already and confirmed for our fourth next year in Aug 2013...Never, and I mean NEVER have I felt unsafe...Once you go, you will know...Enjoy, breath and relax!

  23. #23
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    Jun 2009
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    In 10 trips to Jamaica (#11 booked) we have never felt unsafe ...... Unlike when we were in Mexico several years ago .... There WERE policemen there that looked more like high school boys with machine guns all over & we never felt overly safe anywhere we went so have never gone back. There are places in Kansas City (where we live) that we wouldn't think of going after dark & Jamaica has the same type places but you're not going to be going there so no worries. Most of the problems you hear about are from over around Kingston & that is not anywhere near the resorts you will be staying at. The only people that I've heard complain about feeling "unsafe" are those that are traveling by cruise boat ..... Going to any of the AI resorts, is a totally different experience. There are guards at the gates to the resorts & along the beach & around the property. If you want to leave the resort on your own (other than a tour), just have the front desk get you a driver .... They will look after you. My family - none of whom have ever been to Jamaica or anywhere else outside the US - all worry about us going to Jamaica because of the stories they hear ...... Think they would believe that we wouldn't keep going back if it were scary or unsafe.
    Julie

  24. #24
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    i live in western pa...but i'm not going to work tomorrow because of some problems i've heard of in Chicago.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobandJudy View Post
    Security with machine guns? They must have Jamaica confused with the Dominican Republic, as there were certainly armed guards at each end of the beach in Punta Cana. Never seen an armed guard at any Couples resort, though.
    I was thinking they got lost on the way to Jamaica and ended up in Tijuana.

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