Is Paterson Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On January 23, 2022
Paterson, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Known as the “Silk City” because of its significant role in the production of silk during the second half of the 19th century, Paterson, New Jersey, enjoys a diverse population.

Its population of 159,732 (from the 2020 US Census) is largely made up of Spanish- and Arabic-speaking immigrants, as well as immigrants from South Asia and Turkey.

An estimated 75 to 100 languages are spoken in Paterson, many of which are Arabic dialects.

Also, the city boasts the second-largest Muslim population in the US by percentage — there are between 25,000 to 30,000 Muslims in Paterson.

For visitors looking for diversity, warmth, and hospitality, Paterson is an excellent place to vacation.

Here’s some information about Paterson to get you started.

Warnings & Dangers in Paterson

Overall Risk


Paterson’s grade on Crime Grade is C-, meaning the city has a slightly higher crime rate than the average city in the US. According to this site, Paterson is in the 33rd percentile for the safety category. This means that the city is less safe than 67% of US cities and safer than 33%. A person’s overall risk when visiting Paterson should be between medium and high.

Transport & Taxis Risk


A quick Google search would show that the most popular taxi companies in Paterson are El Pueblo Taxi, Taxi Paterson, and Rose Cab & Taxi Exclusivo, all with 4.5 stars or higher. All three companies have stellar online reviews, and there are no visible complaints about safety. According to the “Urban Supplement Report: the City of Paterson,” Paterson is served by the “NJ TRANSIT Main Line, which runs between Suffern, New York to the north and Hoboken, New Jersey to the south.” Users on Trip Advisor say that the train is safe. It can, thus, be concluded that Paterson’s transport and taxis risk is low.

Pickpockets Risk


Out of a population of 159,732, Paterson has had 1,343 incidents of theft, resulting in a rate of 8.41 incidents per 1,000 people. This is lower than the national average, which has a rate of 13.90 per 1,000 people. We can, therefore, say that Paterson has a low pickpockets/theft risk.

Natural Disasters Risk


Severe storms, floods, winter storms, and wildfires are some of New Jersey’s most common natural disasters. Earthquakes and tornados also occur, but they happen less often than the national average. Paterson has about the same level of risk for earthquake damage as the New Jersey average, but it has less risk for tornado damage than the state average. Since there’s not a lot of detailed information about other natural disasters in Paterson, we can only base our assessment on the findings above. The city of Paterson appears to have a low natural disasters risk.

Mugging Risk


Paterson, according to Neighborhood Scout, has a robbery incidence rate of 2.67 per 1,000 people. This is based on the site’s report of 426 robberies out of a population of 159,732 people. This is higher than the national average, whose robbery incidence rate is 0.73 for the same number of people (243,600 robberies out of 331,449,281 people). It appears that Paterson has a high mugging risk compared to the national average.

Terrorism Risk


There’s no readily available information about terrorist threats or attacks on Paterson. However, Paterson came under the national spotlight in 2017 when Sayfullo Saipov, a resident of the city, was arrested for his deadly terrorist attack in New York City. His act, which involved ramming a truck into a crowd in Lower Manhattan, led to eight deaths. But since there have been no known terrorist threats or attacks in Paterson itself, we can say that Paterson has a low terrorism risk.

Scams Risk


Although there have been reported scams in Paterson, it doesn't appear that any of them specifically targeted visitors or tourists. Perhaps, Paterson’s most notable scam case is the $4.5 million food stamp scam. Two Paterson grocers paid out cash to customers in exchange for their electronic benefits. Since it doesn’t appear that scams are a particularly big problem for visitors in Paterson, we can conclude that the city has a low scams risk.

Women Travelers Risk


Neighborhood Scout shows that Paterson’s rape incidence rate is lower than the national average (0.31 and 0.38 per 1,000 people, respectively). Since there’s no online information about the safety of female travelers in the city, we can only base our assessment on the city’s rape statistics. Because Paterson has a lower rape incidence rate than the US average, we conclude that Paterson has a low travelers risk for women.

Tap Water Risk


Currently, Paterson has no active health-based violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act. However, boil water advisories have been issued due to runoffs into reservoirs resulting from natural disasters like storms. Still, it seems that Paterson has a low-to-medium tap water risk.

Safest Places to Visit in Paterson

Paterson residents say that the east part of the city is generally the safest.

One’s chance of falling to a victim in the east is 1 in 46, which is much lower than in the west.

Although Paterson is the second-most densely populated city in the US (after New York City), it happens to have some impressive nature and historic parks.

Nature lovers can visit Upper Raceway Park, Saddle River County Park, and Garrett Mountain Reservation.

Culture and history aficionados can check out Lambert Castle, the Paterson Museum, William Paterson University, and the Danforth Memorial Library.

Lastly, shopping enthusiasts can stroll through Center City Mall, home to a bevy of retail and entertainment options.

This three-story shopping center happens to contain one of Paterson’s most beloved restaurants, Hamilton & Ward Steakhouse.

Places to Avoid in Paterson

With 984 crimes per year, the west part of Paterson appears to be the least safe.

A person’s chance of being a crime victim is as high as 1 in 22 in this part of the city.

Compare this to the east part, where it’s as low as 1 in 46.

According to users on Quora, the downtown and 4th Ward areas are the places that visitors should avoid.

In Paterson, it’s best to stick to specific areas.

If you wander into more crime-ridden neighborhoods or wander alone at night, you put yourself at risk.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Paterson

  1. Stay in the safer areas. Many parts of Paterson are very safe, but to ensure your safety, you need to stay in safer areas. These include the east parts of the city and tourist-friendly places like Center City Mall and the parks.
  2. Walk around crowds. Remember that Paterson has the second-highest density of any city in the US. This means it can get very crowded and you should be hypervigilant. Instead of pushing through crowds, walk around them.
  3. Keep your belongings close. Paterson may have a low theft/pickpockets rate, but no one is ever immune to theft. Keep your belongings on your lap or between your legs. Never leave your things unattended.
  4. Walk with confidence. Although Paterson is a very diverse place with an array of cultures and personalities, it can be very easy to stand out if you don’t appear confident. Keep your head high and walk as if you know where you’re going.
  5. Leave expensive watches or jewelry behind. Leave your valuables in your hotel room — or better yet, in a hotel safe. It’s better to have your valuable possessions locked up than make yourself a walking advertisement.
  6. Avoid going out alone at night. If you have to go out after dark, do so with a group of friends. Also, it’s much safer to take a taxi or Uber than to walk along the streets at night. So, if this option is available, use it.
  7. Know your surroundings. This means you should avoid wearing headphones. If you can’t hear anything around you, you’re putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
  8. Try not to engage with people who stop you on the street. If a random person stops you on your tracks, chances are they’re friendly and just looking for someone to talk to. However, it’s best to just keep walking.
  9. Enter a store or other public establishment if you’re being followed. This is not a very likely occurrence, but if this does happen, walk inside of a public business. The person following you will most likely stop and go in another direction.
  10. Research the city. Get in-depth information about Paterson before arriving. Sources include traveler reviews and crime statistics online. You could also consult with locals if you happen to know any.

So... How Safe Is Paterson Really?

Just like any other major city, Paterson is safe as long as you stick to the safer areas.

Fun and safe places to visit include the city’s many nature parks, historic sites, and major shopping centers, like Center City Mall.

Places that visitors should avoid include the neighborhoods in the east part of the city.

It’s also best to avoid the downtown area and the 4th Ward, where crime is said to be higher than in other parts of Paterson.

It’s never a good idea to walk alone at night, no matter where you are in the city.

Safer options include walking with other people or taking a taxi or Uber.

Remember, too, that Paterson is a densely populated city.

Population density is known to have a positive association with crimes.

Besides walking around crowds, you should always be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close.

If you follow these safety measures, you’ll be able to have a fun, safe, and enjoyable vacation in the beautiful, historic city of Paterson, New Jersey.

How Does Paterson Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Orleans57
Washington DC56
New York City67
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61

Useful Information



For people traveling from outside the US, a passport is required. Unless they’re permanent residents or people staying in the US for more than 90 days, they don’t need a visa.



The US dollar, the official currency of the US, is the only accepted currency in Paterson and the rest of the country. If you need to exchange your currency, you can visit a kiosk, ATM, or other business throughout Paterson.



Paterson sees four seasons throughout the year. While this may sound ideal for a lot of people, there are some important things to consider. Summers can be scorching hot and humid, while winters can be cold, wet, and snowy. Make sure you dress appropriately for whatever season it is.



Visitors can fly into Newark Liberty International Airport, the closest international airport to Paterson. It’s only 25 to 30 minutes away from the city by car.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

You’re bound to run into unexpected situations while traveling. Common travel mishaps include medical emergencies, canceled flights, and lost or stolen luggage. Luckily, travel insurance is designed to help you in such situations. Besides serving as a financial cushion, it allows you to relax and fully enjoy your trip. Purchasing travel insurance will help you make the most of your trip to Paterson, New Jersey, and help turn it into a memorable, fun-filled vacation of a lifetime.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Paterson Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -2° C
Feb 0° C
Mar 5° C
Apr 10° C
May 16° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 12° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

New Jersey - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Asbury Park54
Atlantic City48
East Orange44
Hamilton Township72
Jersey City54
Long Beach Island72
Mountain Lakes74
Mt. Laurel76
New Brunswick64
Red Bank77
Seaside Heights48
Toms River43
Upper Township & Ocean City74
West Orange72

Where to Next?

Share Your Experience

Facebook Pinterest