New Jersey : Safety by City
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- Atlantic City
- East Orange
- Hamilton Township
- Jersey City
- Long Beach Island
- Mountain Lakes
- Mt. Laurel
- New Brunswick
- Red Bank
- Seaside Heights
- Toms River
- Upper Township & Ocean City
- West Orange
Nestled in Passaic County, Clifton, New Jersey, is a city that boasts a rich history, diverse demographics, and a vibrant community spirit.
Established in the early 19th century, Clifton was originally an agricultural community, but it quickly transformed into a thriving industrial hub during the Industrial Revolution.
Clifton is home to a melting pot of ethnicities, including a significant population of Polish, Italian, Hispanic, and Asian communities.
This diversity is evident in the city’s culinary scene, with a wide array of restaurants offering flavors from around the world.
Today, Clifton stands as a city that embraces both its historical roots and modern advancements.
The city features a mix of historic buildings, such as the Botany Worsted Mills Historic District, and modern developments, including shopping centers and recreational facilities.
Clifton also benefits from its proximity to major metropolitan areas, with New York City just 10 miles west.
The city is known for its place in hot dog history.
Clifton is home to one of the most iconic hot dog establishments in the state—Rutt’s Hut, which has been serving its renowned deep-fried hot dogs since 1928.
Despite its urban character, Clifton has managed to maintain a close-knit community feel.
The Clifton Street Fair and the Clifton Arts and Music Fest are just a couple of examples that bring people together to celebrate the city’s spirit.
NOTE: Clifton, NJ, hasn’t provided official or unofficial crime data since 2020.
We’re limited to the information available.
When the FBI has incomplete data, they aim to guesstimate it.
However, New Jersey cities didn’t even provide enough historical data to be able to provide rough estimates of crime trends.
Warnings & Dangers in Clifton
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Going off of crime data from 2010 to 2020, the city has a low risk based on a substantial decrease in violent crimes. If you look at Passaic County as a whole, there's a lot to do here.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You have many transportation options here, from taxis/rideshares, NJ Transit, and rental cars. All options are low risk but use standard safety precautions.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
A serial pickpocketer was reported in 2017, but we don't have any more recent information, data, or otherwise. You should treat it with a medium risk because of this because we err on the side of caution. The biggest risk areas would be in the shopping and entertainment districts.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
You can get severe or winter weather throughout the year. You have to stay weather aware and treat it as a medium risk. If a storm is approaching, stay informed and have a backup plan.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
From 2011 to 2020, the robbery rate was cut in half. It was significantly lower than the national average. There appears to be a low risk, but use caution in the historic district at night. Always lock your hotel, rental home, and car doors.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Clifton has a low risk, but it's in a highly populated area. With NYC so close by, it's still wise to report suspicious activity. The city did have 24 hate crimes or "bias incident reports," as they are called, in 2022.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as this dense residential area is more prone to common resident scams. You can check with the New Jersey Attorney General's office and the local police department's social media sites for scams being reported closer to your visit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women have a low risk as long as they use standard safety precautions. Ideally, you travel in pairs or a group, and don't walk around at night alone.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
You can always check the latest Water Quality Report through the Passaic River Water Commission. Annual reports are released by July 1 of each year for the previous year. The water overall has a low risk, but you should check for more time-sensitive issues, like water main breaks or flooding.
Safest Places to Visit in Clifton
SeePassaicCounty.org is the tourism website for the county.
Clifton doesn’t have its own travel site, but the city website should provide some information on local parks.
It is worth looking at the entire county for things to do since there’s a lot of history here.
You can also look on social media for #MarchTo250 as the region is getting ready for the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.
You can give you email to the tourism bureau for special discounts on events, but that’s only valid through April 30, 2024.
While the Hamilton House Museum has no relationship to Alexander Hamilton, it is an 18th-century Dutch homestead for the Van Wagoner and Hamilton families.
This is an interactive museum meant to help you “walk in the footsteps of history.”
Just across the street from the museum, you can tour the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University.
What’s great about this museum is that all baseball fans will enjoy it, but there is a special tribute to Berra and his influence on the game.
Interactive exhibits like stepping up to the pitcher’s mound and hurling a fastball are included in the ticket price.
Clifton Arts Center & Sculpture Park used to be a field for dairy farming, and some of the original structures are still here.
Inside the center, you’ll find rotating works of regional and local artists, while outside, you can stroll through the sculpture garden.
The Historic Botany Village organization’s website showcases all the things to do along the Passaic River.
Community events are held here, and some of the best restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs are on Parker Avenue.
The Dundee Island Preserve has information kiosks as you walk the waterway to learn about the industrialization of Clinton.
This preserve has incredible views of the Passaic River Falls.
Across the river in Garfield, you can rent a kayak to ride the river below the falls. Post Ford Park is on the other side as well.
The Dundee Island Water Park is two miles down the river in Passaic.
You can enjoy the water park or catch a kayak here too.
The Promenade Shops at Clifton offer the premiere shopping in this area.
Places to Avoid in Clifton
Without crime data since 2020, it’s hard to nail this one down.
It’s worth calling the police department and asking if there are crime hot spots closer to your visit.
The latest crime data shown on Neighborhood Scout lists Middle Village, Athenia, and Dutch Hill as the places with the highest crime.
However, we cannot confirm that, and the police won’t give us information.
You will be able to tell as you’re driving around which parts of town are more rundown.
Sticking to tourist areas is always preferred because you know there’s a lot of security.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Clifton
- Clifton does have its own police department. You can find them on Facebook @CliftonNJPolice and Twitter @clifton_nj_pd. The main phone number is (973)470-5900.
- Sign up for emergency notifications through Swift 911. The signup is on the police department’s website. The alerts will cover severe weather, public safety threats, and civil emergencies.
- If you’re visiting between June and November, check out the Hurricane Survival Guide. It’s not as ominous as it sounds. If you aren’t from an area with tropical weather, it will help you get basic information to prepare for a storm.
- During winter, streets won’t get plowed until two inches accumulate on the roads. To avoid having to sort through the street parking bans during a snow event, just avoid parking on the street when it’s snowing.
- 511 NJ is the website and app to use to check road conditions and traffic around New Jersey. You can create an account and set alerts for your preferred routes. Live cameras will also help you gauge traffic.
- Use an app like IQ Air to check air quality while you’re visiting. Those COVID masks might come in handy if you’re experiencing a poor air quality day.
- The Garden State Parkway goes right through Clifton. That’s a toll road, and you’ll need an EZ Pass for the most convenient way to pay the toll. You can create your own account or ask your rental car company if the pass is installed.
- Download the NJ Transit app to see the routes available through Clifton Station. One thing to keep in mind is that overnight parking isn’t allowed in the Clifton parking lot at the transit station.
- Clifton does have an online channel where you can watch videos of previous community events. There are some city council meetings and such on there, which won’t be interesting, but sift through the channel if you prefer to watch videos during research.
- The local police departments and highway patrol will have sections on their websites to get a crash report if you have an accident. You will need this for your insurance company if you’re renting a car or driving your own. They are usually available several days after the accident.
So... How Safe Is Clifton Really?
Clifton, like many New Jersey cities, hasn’t reported official crime statistics since 2000.
The reporting system changed at that time from the UCR to NIBRS.
Reporting crime data to the FBI is voluntary but also critical to track crime nationwide.
However, we can only tell you the crime information from 2020, which is now at least several years dated at a time when crimes were surging nationwide.
The positive side is that Clifton dropped to fewer than 100 violent crimes for the first time since 2000 in 2018.
That trend stayed through 2020, with a violent crime rate of just 25% of the national average.
The latest larceny data shows that the average is just below the national level.
Unfortunately, the police never broke down that data into smaller categories.
Recent crime reports show examples of an early morning shooting at a local bar and an elderly woman bound and robbed in her own home.
There have been a handful of hate crime investigations in the past few years.
Without exact crime data, we understand how frustrating it can be to plan travel.
What I can tell you is that you should always err on the side of a city being more dangerous.
Given how close this is to Newark and New York City, it’s worth using all the best safety advice you know and reporting anything suspicious you see.
How Does Clifton Compare?
- Visas - You'll need a visa or visa waiver if you're coming from outside the United States. A valid passport that isn't within six months of expiring is needed as well. You can travel between the states without showing your ID.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar will be the only currency accepted. Please limit cash to only what you need. If you need to exchange currency, go into a bank and avoid check-cashing places that will charge you a lot more.
- Weather - Plan for four seasons, as there aren't any anomalies here with the weather. Summer will be humid, so prepare with light, loose clothing that absorbs sweat. Comfortable walking shoes and bug spray are important. Bring winter accessories and a thick coat from November through March.
- Airports - Newark is the closest airport, just 20 miles away. JFK and LaGuardia are 25–35 miles away. Just plan for traffic, as this is a busy area.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance that covers emergency health issues, rental cars, flights, and acts of nature would be ideal.
Clifton Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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