New Jersey has a reputation for being the home of the mob and organized crime, but that may be more theater than reality.
Some recent crime studies suggest it may be one of the safest states in the country.
New Jersey is known for Atlantic City, which is a crowded tourist spot.
It is also known for beaches and boardwalks as well as charming coastal towns.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.
There are not many rural areas in this state, but there is a lot to see and a lot of people around.
If you want an action-packed vacation, New Jersey would be a good place to consider.
Every county in the state is listed as an urban area.
One unique feature is that New Jersey is one of the few states where an attendant pumps gas for your car.
Warnings & Dangers in New Jersey
OVERALL RISK : LOW
USA Today ranks New Jersey as the fifth safest state in the nation. Its violent crime rate of 208 per 100,000 people is the lowest in the nation. There is still a good bit of crime in certain areas. If you stay in good areas, it is very safe.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
New Jersey has the third-largest public transport system in the nation. The system is huge, but it is also well run for the most part. Taxis use certified drivers, which makes them safer than Uber in most cases. The taxi company is liable if the driver causes an accident. It may be hard to figure the system out, but once you do, it's clear sailing.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpockets seem to be a dying breed. There were reports of an increase in this crime in some areas of New Jersey, but for the most part, it is not a problem. Maybe it is because people are carrying less cash, and credit cards are more secure than ever, but it seems to be a crime that is fading away.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are occasional hurricanes that can create a disaster, but this far north they are rarely all that strong. New Jersey is relatively flat, so there is little earthquake activity. There can be heavy snow that can cause problems on a wide scale at times.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
A lot of New Jersey is safe and there is little risk of being mugged. There are certain towns though, that has a high crime rate, like Trenton and Camden, and you could get mugged there. You can get lost and end up in a bad area, which raises the danger level to medium.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
We rate this medium more because of the potential for terrorism than actual events. There has been very little terrorism here. There has been some domestic terrorism small scale. Still, in a densely populated state like New Jersey, the area could be an inviting target.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams in New Jersey tend to target older residents, as opposed to tourists. Common scams are done over the phone, with people pretending to be from a government agency, trying to get personal information from people. Identity theft has been a real issue.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
New Jersey has the lowest rate of rape in the nation, which is one good sign. It is safe in general though, as people in New Jersey are used to seeing women traveling alone. Standard precautions you would take anywhere should keep you safe in New Jersey.
TAP WATER RISK : MEDIUM
Water is safe when it leaves the water treatment plant. The problem is aging pipes that contaminate the water at times. The city of Newark has had boil orders a few times. There have not been any deaths reported, but there are signs that pollution is relatively common.
Safest Places to Visit in New Jersey
New Jersey has a low crime rate, and many cities are well below the national average in crime.
Ocean City has 1.13 crimes per 100,000 residents.
Atlantic City has its good and bad sides.
The good side is the northern part, where the crime rate is extremely low, but the city itself is above the national average.
Beaches are generally safe as well.
Most small towns around the state are safe as well.
The low crime rate speaks for itself.
There is still crime though, so it is best to remain vigilant and protect yourself and your property.
Places to Avoid in New Jersey
There are some towns with a high crime rate and a bad reputation, such as Newark, Trenton, Patterson, and Camden.
There are more cars stolen n Newark than in any other city in the nation.
In Atlantic City, local officials warn against wandering off the beaten path, especially at night.
Asbury Park is also a town with a high crime rate.
Check out crime maps of various parts of New Jersey to get a feel about where most crime happens.
While some areas are dangerous, crime is often a matter of opportunity.
Be smart and don’t put yourself in a position to be robbed.
Safety Tips for Traveling to New Jersey
- Take care of your car. Even if you have a rental car, check it out and make sure it is road-worthy. Check tires, belts, hoses, wipers, and lights. New Jersey has a lot of highways, but breakdowns are still hard to deal with. A little prevention can prevent a lot of problems.
- Lock your car. Even if you are stopped for just a few minutes, it is a good idea to keep your car locked. The crime rate is low here, but there are still people who will take advantage of an opportunity to take something from an unlocked car. Also, keep any valuables in your car covered and out of sight.
- Watch your surroundings. Treat the whole state as a city, and take precautions you would take in a city. Just be aware of what is going on around you and that can help you avoid trouble.
- Don’t drink and drive. It sounds obvious. But there are a lot of casinos in New Jersey, and lots of places to have a drink or two. The state’s highways are crowded, and accidents are possible if you have had too much to drink. A state with a crowded highway system would be even more dangerous than other highways.
- Drive patiently. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country. This means that even though it has a lot of roads, most of them are crowded. There will be delays and congestion. Leave early if you need to get somewhere at a specific time.
- Avoid cash. Carry as little cash as possible, and keep what you have out of sight as much as possible. Use credit cards and keep them under wraps as well. Being cautious of your finances will keep you from having problems with thieves.
- Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket, and don’t keep valuables in a purse. This is especially true if you are using crowded public transportation. There are not as many pickpockets as there used to be, but there are still some around. Wear a money belt or some other device to keep your cards and cash safe.
- Avoid bad areas. Don’t go into areas that have a reputation for high crime. Stay in the tourist areas, especially at night. Don’t go out alone at night, and try to avoid it in the daytime as well. There is plenty to do in the good areas, so there is no need to wander into areas where there could be trouble.
- Act confident. Walk as though you know where you are going, even if you don’t. Criminals look for people who are disoriented or lost to take advantage of them. There’s nothing wrong with checking your map or asking for directions, but try to avoid looking like you are lost.
- Obey your inner voice. If something feels bad, it probably is. Your instincts are probably right. If your internal radar is going off, you should get out of that situation a fast as you can. It’s better to be wrong than to be right and be a victim.
So... How Safe Is New Jersey Really?
According to law enforcement statistics, it is pretty safe.
There are still areas where it is not safe, but New Jersey has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
USA Today rated it the fifth safest state in the country.
New Jersey leads the nation with 208 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
This is well below the national average.
New Jersey also led the nation last year with the fewest rapes per 100,000 people.
New Jersey is at the top of the list for low crime in several categories.
New Jersey also has a fairly low poverty rate at 9.5 percent, which would also cut down on crime.
The main areas where tourists would be going, such as the beach or Atlantic City, have a high presence of law enforcement, which also cuts down on crime.
If you stay in the tourist areas and don’t wander too far from the beaten path, there is little risk of having any trouble.
Camden has the highest crime rate, with Patterson, Asbury Park, Newark, and Trenton all having crime rates above the national average.
Even those areas are fairly safe in the daytime.
Camden was much worse 20 years ago in the 90s.
It has improved but still has a high crime rate.
There are a lot of people living in New Jersey, and it can be crowded in densely populated areas.
Still, there seems to be not all that much crime reported.
There are several good-sized cities in the state and they all have typical problems that cities have.
Given the dense population, it is a little surprising that the crime rate is so low, but law enforcement takes a proactive approach to prevent crime.
A strong police presence can be a deterrent to some crimes.
How Does New Jersey Compare?
- Visas - You will need a visa to enter the United States, and you can get this in your own country. Once you have gone through customs you will not have to show it again, but you can use it as identification if you choose to.
- Currency - The currency is the U.S. Dollar. There is an international feel with a lot of diversity in New Jersey, but you still need dollars to buy things. You may use a credit card from any country. Exchange of currency can be made at any bank.
- Weather - It can get very cold in winter and there can be snow. Dress warmly if you are not going there in summer. Summers can be hot but are not as hot as some places. Keep an eye on the weather reports.
- Airports - There are several big airports in New Jersey, and New York City is just across the river with two more huge international airports. There are several large cities in New Jersey and all of them have airports. Transportation to hotels from airports is readily available as well.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is a good idea and you hope you never have to use it after you buy it. If something does go very wrong, you will be glad you have it.
New Jersey Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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