10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey

Updated On October 10, 2023
New Jersey

New Jersey is a diverse state on the Atlantic coast that borders New York and Pennsylvania.

It’s known for mountains, beaches, tomatoes, Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and organized crime.

With a population of 9.3 million people, New Jersey as a whole comes in low in overall crime.

With 137,012 crimes reported last year, 45 states have a higher crime rate than New Jersey.

The large majority of crimes (85%) are property crimes, which include burglary, larceny, and auto theft.

Violent crimes accounted for 13% of overall crime in the Garden state.

There were 18,375 violent crimes reported in New Jersey last year.

These acts include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Most of these crimes were committed in densely populated urban areas, making them dangerous areas to be in.

Read on for a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in New Jersey.

The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey

New Brunswick
New Brunswick, New Jersey

10. New Brunswick, NJ

New Brunswick is best known for being the home to Rutgers University.

The city of 55,000 residents is also a center for arts and entertainment, medical research and services, and many historic buildings.

New Brunswick is safer than only 18% of other cities its size.

The chances of being the victim of a violent crime in New Brunswick is 1 in 226 and 2 in 54 for a property crime.

Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey

9. Jersey City, NJ

Located in the northeastern part of the state, right across the river from New York City.

Jersey City is the largest populated city in New Jersey.

Considering the population is well over 700,000, the city’s crime rate is not as bad as one might think.

However, it’s still only safer than 30% of other cities nationwide.

Jersey City has grown from being Lenape land to a diverse center of commerce, business, and the arts.

Last year, there were 4,540 crimes reported in the city.

Though most of them were property crimes of larceny and motor vehicle theft.

There were 939 violent crimes reported.

Elizabeth, New Jersey

8. Elizabeth, NJ

Elizabeth, NJ is the 4th largest city in NJ, with a population of 137,240.

It’s best known for its waterfront port/marina, as well as for being in the opening credits of The Soprano’s.

In the past, the city was home to Singer sewing machines, making the machines in a gigantic warehouse in downtown Elizabeth.

The total crime rate in Elizabeth is 26.73 per 1,000 people.

There were 644 violent crimes and 2,976 property crimes reported in the city last year.

The most common crimes in Elizabeth are larcenies, burglaries, and auto theft.

Asbury Park
Asbury Park, New Jersey

7. Asbury Park, NJ

Asbury Park was once a quaint resort town where the wealthy from northern NJ came to bask by the ocean.

Then, with the post-war housing boom and changing leisure tastes of people during the 1950s, Asbury fell by the wayside.

New Jersey beaches are notoriously crowded in the summer, but Asbury was desolate because the crime was out of control.

However, in the past 20 years, Asbury has made somewhat of a comeback.

People have returned to the beach, but the crime remains.

In fact, Asbury’s crime rate is mind-boggling considering it only has 15,200 residents.

Nationwide, it’s considered only 5% safer than other cities its size.

Last year the town saw 156 violent crimes and 476 property crimes.

The overall crime rate is 41 per 1,000 residents.

The chances of being a victim of crime in Asbury Park are about 1 in 60.

Newark, New Jersey

6. Newark, NJ

One of the oldest cities in New Jersey, Newark was founded in 1666 by Puritans.

Ironically, by the 1800s, it was known for its leather factories and breweries.

It then turned into the centerpiece of the state, full of manufacturing, commercial, and cultural opportunities.

With beautiful homes and parks, in 1922, Newark had 63 live theaters.

Sadly, with the onset of the Newark riots (part of a nationwide series of rioting), in 1967, any magic Newark had left was gone.

Businesses left in droves, as did any residents that could afford to.

At one point, Newark was one of the most dangerous cities in the United States.

Though it’s made major headway in regaining its former glory, Newark still suffers from crime.

Last year, Newark saw a total of 5,852 crimes.

There were 1,456 violent crimes, including 50 murders, 187 shootings, 121 rapes, and 1,156 assaults, 4.7 per 1,000 people.

Incidents of property crime saw a total of 4,396 (14 per 1,000 people).

This includes 1,982 motor vehicle thefts.

Of the 311,549 residents of Newark, 32% live in poverty.

Irvington, New Jersey

5. Irvington, NJ

Once known as an idyllic suburb of Newark, Irvington has become so dangerous that people avoid even driving through the small city.

Irvington was hit hard during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and has struggled with crime ever since.

Last year, the town saw 1,230 crimes.

This is astounding given its population is only 61,176.

There were 190 violent crimes, including 20 murders (3 per 1,000 residents).

Overall property crime was 1,040 (17 per 1,000 people).

Atlantic City
Atlantic City, New Jersey

4. Atlantic City, NJ

Known the world over as a Mecca for high-stakes gambling and entertainment, Atlantic City has a year-round population of just 38,500 people.

Outside of its small glitzy patches and boardwalk are rundown neighborhoods festering with a crime.

The median household income is only $26,900 and 23% of the population lives below the poverty level.

The Atlantic City police department handles over 150,000 calls a year.

Last year there were 1,199 crimes committed in Atlantic City.

Of those, 257 were violent (6 per 1,000 residents) and 1,100 were property (24 per 1,000).

Based on its crime rate to population ratio, Atlantic City is safer than 10% of US cities.

Paterson, New Jersey

3. Paterson, NJ

Located in northern New Jersey, close to New York City, Paterson has a population of 159,700.

This once beautiful town that sits near the still majestic Passaic River Falls, was home to the nation’s largest silk manufacturing industry.

Now, it is listed in the top 100 most dangerous cities in America.

The total number of crimes last year was 3,137, with 1,168 violent crimes (7.4 per 1,000 people) and 1,969 property crimes (12.4 per 1,000 people).

The chances of being a victim of a violent crime in Paterson are 1 in 135 and property crime is 1 in 80.

Paterson is 22% safer than other cities in the United States.

Trenton, New Jersey

2. Trenton, NJ

Located in Mercer county, in west-central New Jersey, Trenton is the state capital of New Jersey.

It’s densely populated with 12,000 per square mile.

The total population of Trenton is 90,000.

Though the overall crime rate declined between 2021 and 2022, the city still made the list of Murder Capitals of the United States.

Trenton had 40 murders in 2022.

That’s 6.8 times the national average based on its population.

The city actually had a celebration in August of 2022 because it had gone 2 whole months without a murder.

In 2022, there were 818 violent crimes and 1,652 property crimes.

The chances of being a victim of violent crimes in Trenton is 1 in 111, the property crime odds are 1 in 55.

Trenton is safer than only 13% of other United States cities.

Camden, New Jersey.

1. Camden, NJ

Located in Camden County in southern NJ, Camden has a population of 74,000.

The median household income is $30,000.

Approximately, 33.6% of its residents live below the poverty line.

Not only is it the most dangerous place in New Jersey, but it’s also the 3rd most dangerous place in the United States.

Camden ranks right behind Detroit and St. Louis in crime and violence.

The city was also listed on the “Murder Capitals of America ” list for 2022.

The city’s overall crime rate last year was 35.47 per 1,000 residents.

A total of 989 violent crimes occurred and 1,557 property crimes.

The chances of being a victim of a violent crime in Camden is 1 in 73.

Your chances of being a property crime victim are 1 in 46.

The city averages 23 murders per year.

Sadly, what was once a fledgling gateway between NJ and Pennsylvania, is now a blighted, crime-ridden desert, with a frightening national reputation.

5 Safety Tips For Visiting New Jersey

  1. Don’t leave anything in your car, not even loose change or an old jacket. Smash and Grabs are quite common in NJ.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention.
  3. Do not carry a purse or wallet if you don’t have to.
  4. If you come back to your car and there is stuff tied to it. Do not take it off at that location. It’s a trap.
  5. When at a bar or any public space, keep your beverage with you at all times.

New Jersey Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: New Jersey Safety Review

Safety Index:
New Jersey

Frequently Asked Questions

In which New Jersey cities should you exercise additional caution?

Use extreme caution when going to Camden, Paterson, Newark, Trenton, and Elizabeth.

What is the safest city in New Jersey?

Sparta, in Sussex county, is the safest city in NJ.

What's the most common crime in NJ?

Larceny is the crime that happens most often in NJ.

3 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    I visited Penns Grove,N.J. and Carneys Point in l999 (this is Bruce Willis’s hometown) out of curiosity..and it was somewhat rundown then, but I remember seeing a big sign about someone going to jail..??

  2. Z
    Zoey Gregory says:

    These lists serve as a reminder that safety is a collective concern. Let’s hope for positive changes in New Jersey cities to create safer environments for everyone.

  3. C
    Chanel Becker says:

    I’ve been to NJ and it seems safe for me, you just have to be alert to your surroundings too even if you are in other cities.

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