Is Princeton Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On July 8, 2023
Princeton, United States
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
100
* Rated 100 / 100 based on 5 user reviews.

Princeton, New Jersey, holds a rich history and the sophistication you’d expect from a town that hosts an Ivy League school like Princeton University.

Founded in 1675, Princeton played a significant role in the American Revolutionary War as the site of the Battle of Princeton in 1777.

Princeton University was established in 1746 and has become an icon of education, with major names like Albert Einstein, Jeff Bezos, Sonia Sotomayor, and six acting United States presidents.

Princeton’s historic charm is evident in its well-preserved architecture and picturesque streets.

The town center features colonial-era buildings and beautiful tree-lined avenues, creating a delightful ambiance.

Nassau Street, the main thoroughfare, is home to quaint shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

One of Princeton’s main draws is its academic and cultural offerings.

Princeton University’s campus showcases stunning Gothic and modernist architecture, including the famous Nassau Hall.

The university’s art museum exhibits an extensive collection of art from various periods, attracting art enthusiasts from around the world.

Nature lovers can explore the scenic beauty of Princeton through its parks and nature reserves.

Princeton Battlefield State Park preserves the site of the historic Battle of Princeton, providing visitors with a chance to learn about the town’s revolutionary past.

Princeton also offers world-class entertainment for the sophisticated palate.

McCarter Theatre Center hosts a wide range of performances that mix well with annual events like the Communiversity ArtsFest and the Princeton Festival.

The town of Princeton is home to 31,000 people, and the university has more than 5,300 students.

Whether you’re visiting here as a family, student, or solo traveler, you have so many options to explore.

Warnings & Dangers in Princeton

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Princeton has exceptionally low crime rates and a plethora of things to do. Even with an elite campus, many places are open to the public.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Princeton Muni Transit is a free community service that takes two loops of popular destinations. Tiger Transit is the bus system for Princeton University, which is also free. You can download the necessary apps on the "Bus" section of the city's website. Taxis and rideshares are another option. You can also rent bikes or get your own rental car.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

In the past five years, there has been just one pickpocket, which is a low risk for visitors. Car break-ins and bicycle thefts are much more common, so lock your transportation as diligently as you protect your purse and wallet.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

The medium risk is for the typical severe weather risks here, which range from severe storms, tropical systems that move on shore, winter storms, and flooding. You can always check the latest forecast through the National Weather Service and look for watches, warnings, and advisories.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Princeton hasn't seen more than seven robberies in a year since 2016, so this is another low risk. Don't let that give you a false sense of safety, however. You should still use caution whenever you're out at night and stick to the main thoroughfares.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

Princeton *might be a potential target for the storied university there, but you also get security in the form of local and university police. It's always important to report any suspicious activity, but you can visit here with low risk. Just stay vigilant.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Princeton Police Department and Princeton University Police have scam and fraud sections on their respective websites. You can also check common scams statewide on the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs. The risk is low but gets lower the more educated you are about the potential.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

University students can use the free security escort service after hours. Nothing in the crime data suggests there is an elevated risk, but you should always stick to groups and avoid any private house parties.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Any issues that are more time sensitive, like hydrant flushing, would be posted on the town's social media sites.

Safest Places to Visit in Princeton

VisitPrinceton.org is the official tourism site for the town and Mercer County.

This does include the options on campus.

You can also visit the Princeton University website and look for the “Guest Resources” as the university and its museums are open to the public.

One of the newest attractions to look for when planning a trip is the Princeton Einstein Museum/.

“The museum will be in a new building to be constructed in the Princeton Central Business District.

The exact location will be announced in early 2024.

After fundraising, construction, and exhibit installation, we expect PEMS to welcome its first Einstein fans in late 2026.”

-Princeston Einstein Museum website

In the meantime, Princeton University Art Museum houses a diverse collection of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary works.

Explore paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs from renowned artists across the globe.

There’s also the Princeton University Museum of Natural History, featuring exhibits on paleontology, geology, anthropology, and biodiversity.

Discover dinosaur fossils, explore geological formations, and learn about the wonders of the natural world.

Morven Museum and Garden is the former governor’s mansion, showcasing more art, artifacts, and exhibitions related to New Jersey’s history.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the five acres of picturesque gardens and learn about the state’s rich heritage.

Princeton Battlefield State Park preserves the site of the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolutionary War.

Explore the park’s trails and learn about this significant historical event through interpretive signs and markers, including the historic Clarke House on 200 acres.

Tours of the house are available by reservation only.

Nassau Street is the pulse of Princeton, with a charming ambiance and colonial-era buildings and businesses.

Check out the Daily Princetonian for the newest businesses to call this flagship street home.

Terhune Orchards is on the outskirts of Princeton with fresh “U Pick ‘Em” fruits and veggies.

There’s also a winery and farm store open throughout the year.

Summer’s blueberry season and the abundant activities in fall make this a perfect family stop.

Places to Avoid in Princeton

You don’t have to worry about bad parts of town or dangerous neighborhoods.

Especially in the visitor areas, there are a lot of safe places to visit day and night.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve seen from Princeton students and locals is the lack of nightlife.

If you’re not into the Old World architecture and the mysticism of Princeton, you won’t like it here.

This is a very immersive experience in an otherwise small town.

Also, I’ve seen many complaints about the construction that is ongoing on campus and in the community.

That’s to be expected in any town, as construction is done when the weather allows, but just be prepared for some detours or work being done in the path of your itinerary.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Princeton

  1. Princeton, the town, has its own police department, but so does Princeton University. The Twitter page for the town is @@PrincetonPolice. To get safety information from Princeton University police, follow @Princeton.
  2. The police department for Princeton puts out a monthly Chief’s Report where you can see the most common crimes and calls for service.
  3. Download the Park Princeton app to find and pay for parking in the town. I looked over the statistics for 2022, and 52 parking meter violations happened each day!
  4. Also, in 2022, an average of almost two car accidents involving deer happened each month. That’s more than twice as much as accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians. Watch out for wildlife on the roads.
  5. If you or someone you are traveling with has Autism Spectrum Disorder, you can go to the police station to get a Wallet Card that will alert officers to the condition should they need to interact with you.
  6. Princeton Police offer a Community Crime Map with interactive search features, so you can search for criminal activity near your hotel or favorite spot to visit.
  7. Up to 80% of all car accidents in the town of Princeton involve distracted drivers. You can take the pledge to “Limit It” by filling out a form at the police station. You’ll get a bumper magnet to proclaim your intention to drive safely.
  8. Look for Emergency Phone Notifications on the police department website to find two ways to get notified of safety issues. One is to sign up for a Nixle account, and the other is through Everbridge, which is mostly used for severe weather updates.
  9. Use 511 NJ to track the roads across the state, with real-time traffic, construction zone displays, and live cameras throughout the state.
  10. If you plan to visit New York, it’s smart to get an EZ Pass to pay the tolls for the New Jersey Turnpike. The toll system will read your license plate or a device on your car and then bill you for the costs.

So... How Safe Is Princeton Really?

I read one comment that made me literally laugh out loud, “Princeton is hilariously safe.”

Especially if you’re used to big-city crime, gun violence, and drug issues, this will seem like a breath of fresh air.

For example, the national violent crime rate is 396 crimes per 100,000 people.

In Princeton, the rate is 57 per 100,000.

National theft rates are 1,398 per 100,000.

Prince is 593 per 100,000.

I always hesitate to make a town sound TOO safe because I don’t want anyone to let their guard down.

There are still car thefts, break-ins, aggravated assaults and such.

It’s just at a much lower rate than most American and New Jersey cities.

There’s also a lower percentage of crimes against strangers.

You also have to take the weather seriously here.

Even if you’re used to snow or severe storms, Mercer County saw its first tornado since 1999 in 2023—in February!

It’s always helpful to know the standard weather risks of a season, but America has seen a surge of “unprecedented” storms over the past few years.

Overall, there’s really no reason to reconsider a trip here.

It’s great for a day trip, a weekend getaway, with enough things to do in Mercer County to take up a week’s vacation.

You’ll also be just 11 miles from Trenton, and you can read our article on that city to see more things to do there.

How Does Princeton Compare?

CitySafety Index
Princeton77
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Dallas64
Memphis54
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors need a visa or visa waiver. If you are a student, you'll need to get a Student Visa, not a Tourist Visa. Check the U.S. State Department for the latest processing change to expedite approval.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here. Exchange currency at any bank where you are a customer for the lowest fees. There are several currency exchanges near campus, too. Using a credit card for as many purchases as possible offers the best fraud protection.

Weather

Weather

You'll need full winter gear, with accessories and boots, to get through a Princeton winter. Spring and fall can have fluctuating temperatures, so layers are always best to give more options. Summers will be warm and humid. Bring bug spray.

Airports

Airports

The closest commercial airport to Princeton, New Jersey, is Trenton-Mercer Airport (TTN). It's close—about 12 miles away—but also caters more to regional flights and doesn't have as many options as Newark and Philadelphia airports, which are, at most, 55 miles away.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a smart investment, especially if you're going to be a student and need healthcare in the U.S.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Princeton Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 5° C
Apr 11° C
May 16° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 24° C
Aug 23° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 13° C
Nov 8° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
461017222730292519137
Low
°C
-6-5-14101518171362-3
High
°F
394350637281868477665545
Low
°F
212330395059646355433627

New Jersey - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Asbury Park54
Atlantic City48
Boonton74
Burlington70
Clifton73
East Orange44
Elizabeth47
Hamilton Township72
Hammonton75
Hoboken73
Jersey City54
Lambertville74
Long Beach Island72
Mountain Lakes74
Mt. Laurel76
New Brunswick64
Newark56
Passaic65
Paterson67
Princeton77
Red Bank77
Seaside Heights48
Toms River43
Trenton46
Upper Township & Ocean City74
West Orange72
Wildwood51

Where to Next?

5 Reviews on Princeton

  1. M
    Mark Gilliam says:

    Safety was a significant factor in my decision to study at Princeton University, and I’ve never regretted it. The campus and surrounding area are well-patrolled, and there’s a strong sense of security.

  2. A
    Amanda Chavez says:

    I recently took my family on a trip to Princeton, and we had an amazing time! Safety was a major concern for us, especially with young children, but we encountered no issues whatsoever.

  3. K
    Ken Foster says:

    I’ve lived in Princeton for several years now, and I can confidently say that it’s one of the safest places I’ve ever been. The community here is tight-knit, and everyone looks out for each other.

  4. A
    Audrey Jensen says:

    As a solo traveler, safety is always a top priority for me. I did my research before visiting Princeton and found that it has a very low crime rate compared to other similar-sized cities.

  5. M
    Matthew Taylor says:

    Having visited Princeton recently, I found it to be incredibly safe! The streets were well-lit and bustling with activity, even late at night. I never once felt uneasy walking around.

Princeton Rated 5 / 5 based on 5 user reviews.

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