New Jersey : Safety by City
- Asbury Park
- 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
We’re going to peel off the layers of “The Oranges” in New Jersey, focused on East Orange.
It’s not a fruit.
It’s a collection of towns, all with the name “Orange.”
- City of Orange
- East Orange
- West Orange
- South Orange
There is no North Orange, oddly.
East Orange, like its name, means it’s the easternmost “Orange.”
All the Oranges were part of Newark before splitting up and then dividing into quadrants.
What we have now is a group of towns that might be neighbors but don’t always have a lot in common.
Some are among the wealthiest in the state, and some are working-class communities.
Known as the “Crossroads of New Jersey,” the Garden State Parkway and Interstate 280 intersect in East Orange.
East Orange is just 14 miles from New York City and has dealt with a bad reputation for years due to crime rates and the competitive affluence when comparing Oranges to Oranges.
However, in 2023, new developments are popping up, hoping to revitalize East Orange in the Urban Enterprise Zone that helps retailers and affordable housing thrive.
Warnings & Dangers in East Orange
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in East Orange, given the high crime rates and the lack of things to do other than just drive through it or catch the train to NYC.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
NJ Transit is the public transportation system to get around the region and state. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find, and rental cars are widely available. Keep in mind that 14 drive to NYC can take up to an hour in heavy traffic.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
No crime data is available to answer this question, which is part of a larger lack of transparency from New Jersey law enforcement agencies (especially those in higher crime areas). Treat it with a medium risk, just to keep your guard up. Use extra caution at the NJ Transit station.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Severe or extreme weather can happen any time of year, so treat this as a medium risk too. You need to stay weather aware and watch out for potential severe storms, hurricanes/tropical storms, nor'easters, flooding, winter storms, and extreme temperatures.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is 25% higher than the national average, but that's as of 2020. This is definitely not a place you want to be walking around at night if you don't know where you are going.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Any town this close to New York City is going to fall into the medium risk. It's important to know the latest terrorism concern, which you can find on the Homeland Security website. There's a low risk that East Orange would be a target, but it's still in that greater NYC/Newark area.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You can check the Better Business Bureau and the local police department's social media sites for the latest scams, but this is a place where locals will be more targeted than tourists. Of course, that's because this isn't a tourist destination.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Nothing in the limited crime data shows a woman would be more at risk, but again, this isn't a place to walk around at night alone. The risk is lowest in West Orange and South Orange.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows mostly full compliance with a handful of reporting violations. Those violations would not impact the water quality and have since been addressed. You should follow the city's social media pages to look for more pressing water quality issues, like hydrant flushing or water main breaks.
Safest Places to Visit in East Orange
The closest thing you’ll find to a tourism site for East Orange is the “Places of Interest” section on the city’s website.
The Newark Happening website can give you information about the greater Newark area, which does include The Oranges.
East Orange is a diverse community, with just 3.4% of the population being Caucasian.
Nearly 87% of the town is African American, another 12% is Hispanic or Latino, and 4% is mixed race.
This brings a cultural experience through the restaurants and nightlife, like the popular South Beach restaurant and nightclub on Main Street.
Main Street is also going through a transformation (some would call it gentrification, but I’m not here to debate that).
You can follow the East Orange Chamber of Commerce on Instagram @oenjchmabers to get updated information on local cultural and heritage festivals.
The East Orange Public Library is going through renovations, and hopefully, by the time you visit, it will be complete.
Follow the progress on Facebook @EastOrangePL.
In nearby West Orange, one must-see destination is the Thomas Edison National Historic Park.
You’ll be able to tour the inventor’s home and walk in the historic steps of his inventions.
Less than four miles away in Bloomfield, you can visit the Historical Society of Bloomfield with a self-guided walking tour of historic homes and artifacts throughout history.
One of the best outdoor spaces in Essex County is the South Mountain Reservation, with hiking trails and waterfalls.
That’s also where Essex County Turtle Back Zoo is located.
Places to Avoid in East Orange
The closer you are to Newark at the interstate crossroads, the higher the crime rates will be, mostly because that’s where the largest groups of people are.
The crime that plagues this city appears to be mostly among people who know each other.
Sure, you can find trouble here if you go looking for it, but there’s not a rash of crimes against random strangers.
By following safety steps and using common sense, like not wearing valuables and showing off your new smartphone, you’ll be able to lower your risk.
Avoid intervening in any criminal activity you see, even if it is someone spraying graffiti.
Always call the police instead of trying to be a hero.
You don’t want to ignore the crime, but you also don’t want to put yourself at risk.
At the launch of the Safe Summer Crime Initiative in East Orange, Mayor Ted Green said, “We have a robust summer planned, and it’s all hands on deck.
If you see something, say something.
We have zero tolerance for anyone disrupting our community.
We just want everyone to enjoy their summer and have a great time.”
Safety Tips for Traveling to East Orange
- East Orange has its own police department, but so do all the other Oranges. You can call them at (973)266-5000 to ask specific safety questions. If you suspect criminal activity, that number is (973)266-5041.
- The town of East Orange has a Notify Me section on its website where you can get specific information about weather issues and other safety issues. Sign up online, but only choose the Alert Center options, so you don’t get flooded with items like City Council agendas.
- East Orange has emergency notifications for specific major weather issues. You can sign up through Swift911.
- You can follow the activities, new businesses, and local events of East Orange on their Facebook page @EOCityHall.
- If you’re using the Garden State Parkway, that’s a toll road. You can sign up for an EZ Pass account to pay the tolls automatically. Most rental cars will come with a device to help with this, but confirm before you add money to your own account.
- The East Orange Parking Authority is in charge of all parking in the town. Most available spots are metered at a rate of $1 per hour.
- East Orange does have an NJ Transit station. You can download the app to check schedules, see delays, review alerts, and purchase fares. NJ Transit also has its own police department. You can review crime data by district on their website.
- The town of East Orange has a hurricane preparedness guide on its website. If you’re not used to tropical activity, this is a great guide to help you before, during, and after a storm. It’s most important to know the closest evacuation route to your hotel.
- Bears live in Essex County, so you should have basic knowledge of how to handle a bear encounter. If you’re visiting the larger parks, bear spray is worth considering, but not mandatory. Usually, if you leave a bear alone, it won’t mess with you. Don’t ever bait or feed a bear.
- Many of the side streets in East Orange are narrow and will have cars parked along each side. Keep your eyes on the road. If you need to recalculate directions on your GPS, pull over to a safe place like a post office or police station parking lot.
So... How Safe Is East Orange Really?
If you’re trying to choose which slice of Orange you should stay in, East Orange should be at the bottom of the list.
It’s the most dangerous from a violent crime standpoint.
The City of Orange comes in second, with both West Orange and South Orange being very safe places to visit.
While we don’t have official crime data since 2020, the local newspaper reported that 2022 saw a 23% decrease in violent crime with another 37% drop in shootings.
A major news story in 2022 was a 16-year-old who was shot four times in the head after leaving high school.
It’s not just that East Orange is the most dangerous.
It’s also that there’s nothing to do here from a tourist perspective.
The museums and parks that draw crowds are in other Orange communities.
East Orange and Orange are also underserved minority communities.
Nearly 20% of people in East Orange live in poverty, and nearly 22% in Orange.
Between the two, the average income is $51,500, and the average income between West Orange and South Orange is $139,000.
How Does East Orange Compare?
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- Visas - International guests need a visa or visa waiver with a passport that doesn't expire for at least six months at the time of the trip. You can check the latest visa processing times on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only acceptable currency here. Don't use ATMs to exchange currency in East Orange. It's just too dangerous. Use credit cards for as many purchases as you can to get the best fraud protection.
- Weather - This region gets four distinct seasons, and you'll need full winter gear from November through March. Summers will be hot and humid. Spring and fall will require layers for fluctuating temperatures. If you'll be enjoying the parks, bring bug spray.
- Airports - Newark Liberty International Airport is just 12 miles from East Orange. LaGuardia is 33 miles away, while JKF is 45 miles away.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance that includes supplemental healthcare coverage and protection against acts of nature, like hurricanes.
East Orange Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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