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
New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a vibrant city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and innovation.
With its rich heritage, diverse community, and an array of attractions, it’s no wonder that New Brunswick has become a must-visit destination.
New Brunswick traces its roots back to 1681, making it one of the oldest cities in the United States.
Its strategic location along the Raritan River played a significant role in its development as a bustling port and trading center.
In fact, the third reading of the Declaration of Independence happened here, and George Washington himself announced the first Independence Day, known as the 4th of July, in New Brunswick in 1778.
Today, remnants of its storied past can be seen in its well-preserved historic districts, including elegant Victorian-style houses and colonial-era landmarks.
But the historic footprints of New Brunswick didn’t stop there.
Known as “The Healthcare City” or “Hub City,” New Brunswick has become a prominent center for medical and research institutions.
It is the founding location of the famed Johnson & Johnson brand.
New Brunswick is also home to one of the campuses of the prestigious Rutgers University, which brings a mix of cultural and entertainment options to the city.
The city’s theaters, galleries, and museums offer a rich tapestry of artistic experiences, while the State Theatre is a renowned venue for Broadway shows, concerts, and dance performances.
Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the city’s numerous parks and green spaces.
The picturesque Raritan River and the nearby Delaware and Raritan Canal provide ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and leisurely strolls along the scenic trails.
Warnings & Dangers in New Brunswick
OVERALL RISK : LOW
New Brunswick is at the low end of medium risk due to the number of crimes that happen in public spaces. Even with the crime concerns we'll discuss, the city is much safer than it was a decade ago but still has some work to do.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You can check out the Transit and Transportation section of the city's website to see the list of options to get around town and to/from major cities. There is a bus system just for Rutgers as well. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. Rental cars are also an option, with a parking system that allows reservations in the city center.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
The city averages about 12 pickpockets or purse snatchings a year, looking at the crime data between 2017 and 2021.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
There's a risk of flooding throughout all seasons. Winter can be big storms and a lot of snow. Severe weather can come in from the coast or as part of a system that approaches from the west. Stay weather aware here. There's definitely a medium risk.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
For the aforementioned five years, 71% of robberies were highway robberies, which happen in public places. The robbery rate is also twice the national average, so we must give this a medium risk. Watch your back, especially at night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is a low risk, but you can also check the latest concerns through the Homeland Security Department's Terrorism Advisory Bulletin. Even as a citizen living in a low-risk area, I review these often to see the overall landscape for concern. As you get closer to NYC or Philly, the risk goes up, but so does security.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The scams that happen here are garden variety, mostly targeting residents or students. You can check the city's Facebook page and the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs for trending scams closer to your visit. The risk is low, but it's worth researching.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
A sexual assault at a house party in March 2023 caused a campus-wide concern for the safety of women. As a party town with plenty of places to go after the bars close, it's imperative that you stay with friends and never leave a friend alone, even if they are just using the restroom. Stick to public areas and always call for help if you've had too much to drink and need a ride home. Don't trust people you don't know.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows a clean bill of health and a list of upgrades coming to the water treatment facility. That includes upgrading pipes to reduce lead risk, which puts New Brunswick well ahead of other East Coast cities.
Safest Places to Visit in New Brunswick
The City of New Brunswick website has a visitor’s section with a list of things to do along with some safety and planning guidance.
That is not the same site as NewBrunswick.com, which is the tourism branch of the city center.
Both are great resources for information.
The New Brunswick tourism website has an interactive map where you can select a category and then see the options posted on the map.
This includes options like shopping, performing arts, restaurants, and nightlife.
George Street is the center part of the city, with plenty of restaurants, stores, theaters, and art galleries to explore.
The Buccleuch Mansion at Buccleuch Park (“buckloo”) is one of the oldest homes in the city.
The home has 16 rooms with hand-painted wallpaper throughout.
Artifacts through the centuries of New Brunswick history fill the home that was built in 1739.
The surrounding park has nearly 80 acres with a 1.5-mile trail, rock garden, and flower garden, with sledding and ice skating in the winter.
Rutgers has several museums on campus, including:
- Zimmerli Art Museum
- Rutgers Geology Museum
- Waksman Microbiology Museum
- Rutgers Gardens (off campus on Log Cabin Road)
You can visit the Facebook page for the New Brunswick Historical Society New Jersey to see a list of historic homes and locations open for tours during your visit.
New Brunswick’s Monument Square honors the lives lost in the Civil War, and it’s also the site of the third reading of the Declaration of Independence.
On the city’s website, you can download a self-guided walking tour of the most historic locations with a summary of each one.
It’s great to be able to go at your own pace and know you’re being guided along the safest streets.
Places to Avoid in New Brunswick
There’s great feedback from students and residents about the different neighborhoods on Reddit, with many saying the residential area on George and west of Suydam is a more dangerous part of town.
Bigger picture crime maps show there isn’t a particularly safe or unsafe section of the city, but you’ll get the most security in the downtown area and along College Avenue.
The latest crime map shows that the most aggravated assaults and robberies happened west of Livingston and French Streets and also south of Remsen Avenue.
I’d also recommend avoiding house parties unless you know the owner.
The risk in this town goes up substantially after dark in the neighborhoods known for house parties.
Safety Tips for Traveling to New Brunswick
- New Brunswick has its own police department (NBPD), but so do East, North, and South New Brunswick. Rutgers also has its own police force that works with the local police as needed. The main line for New Brunswick police is (732) 745-5200.
- NBPD has a crime mapping option on its website where you can map out crimes for the past 30 days. It’s not the most technological crime mapping system I’ve seen, but it’s better than nothing (which is what most New Jersey police departments have – nothing).
- The New Brunswick Parking Authority oversees all parking in the community. You can visit their website to see a map of the parking locations in town. You can even look for parking near your preferred restaurant, bar, or business. Use the ParkMobile app to reserve a parking spot and pay for parking without having to stand at a meter.
- For those visiting during the winter, certain streets will not allow parking when it snows. You can check the latest restrictions by calling (877) 462-7669 or (877) 4NB-SNOW.
- If you’re visiting Rutgers, check out the university police department’s New Brunswick section, where you can review daily crime logs and annual crime statistics, plus sign up for campus alerts. If you aren’t a student or faculty, you can follow RUPD on Twitter @Rutgers_PD to get safety alerts.
- You can rent scooters through Veo’s website (veoride.com) or the app. Check the rules before you go to make sure the rental covers the places you want to visit.
- Sign up for Hub City News Alerts through the city’s website. You can get information about upcoming events, road closures, and other important visitor information.
- You might see “Make it Count” banners and signs around town. This is a program where you can donate spare change or swipe a credit card to donate to help the homeless in the community. All “Make it Count” money “provides an opportunity for you to directly assist the network of agencies and organizations dedicated to serving those in need of food, clothing, shelter, and many other services.” The red meters around town as the “Make It Count” meters, not parking meters.
- During Rutgers football season, you should know that the City Center turns into “Scarlet Knights City” for the day. It’s a massive tailgate party that starts hours before the game and runs well into the evening. Parking is nearly impossible to find, and shuttles can help get you around.
- The police department has a list of news releases from the past three years, which offers a chance for you to see the biggest crime waves recently. You can also get news updates on the city’s Twitter page @CityofNewBruns.
So... How Safe Is New Brunswick Really?
Between 2011 and 2021, the violent crime rate was down 58%, with the 2021 violent crime rate being just under the national average and a 10-year low for the city.
25% of those crimes were against strangers, and more than half the crimes were on public streets, sidewalks, or parking lots.
This is definitely a place where violent crime is more likely to happen outside private homes, so keep that in mind as you choose your walking path each day.
The theft rate is 40% lower than the national average and 56% lower than it was a decade ago.
42% of all thefts were vehicle break-ins or accessory thefts, a stark reminder to lock your car and leave no personal items inside.
While the crime data is pretty eye-opening, the police department released a statement in 2021 to help alleviate the concerns of residents and visitors about gun crimes.
It reads, in part, “In the vast majority of these cases, both the victim and the suspect have extensive criminal records involving prior firearm and weapon offenses, drug distribution, and crimes of violence.”
While the crime reports have gone down substantially, and most of the crime is connected to drugs or illegal gun activity, there’s little concern by criminals if an innocent bystander gets caught in the crossfire.
You need good situational awareness and common sense here.
Even with an average or lower crime rate in some categories, there are some serious concerns in this town.
Don’t go looking for trouble, and you are less likely to find any.
How Does New Brunswick Compare?
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- Visas - International guests need a visa or visa waiver, which is determined by the country of origin. A passport that isn't within six months of expiring is required too. You can start the process by checking the latest updates on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Your home bank will have the lowest rates for currency exchange, but this isn't a city where you want to walk around with a lot of cash.
- Weather - New Brunswick gets all four seasons, so plan accordingly. In winter, snow boots and an insulated coat are needed. Summers will be humid, and you'll want bug spray for any outdoor activities. Fall and spring can fluctuate, so bring layers of clothing. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.
- Airports - Within 30 miles, you can reach Newark Liberty International Airport and Trenton Mercer Airport, but the latter is only served by Frontier Airlines. If you want to drive 50–55 miles, you can get to LaGuardia or JFK in New York City.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a wise investment, and it goes into effect as soon as you purchase it. That helps with last-minute cancelations or health issues. Speaking of health issues, if you don't have health coverage in America, a supplemental plan will be helpful as there's no such thing as free healthcare here.
New Brunswick Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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