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
West Orange is a slice of the good life in a gathering of towns known as The Oranges.
The town is just 16 miles west of Manhattan and includes some great views of that skyline.
With a population inching toward 50,000, this community includes a lot of great places to explore, including a national park.
Thomas Edison once lived and worked here, coming up with his genius inventions.
He purchased an estate called Glenmont for his wife here.
The home is also where he died, and he’s buried on the grounds which are now under the protection of the National Park Service.
West Orange also offers several wilderness areas flanked by trails, a zoo, and other fun activities for visitors.
You can get a view of the 9/11 Memorial from Eagle Rock.
There are plenty of ways to get to New York City from West Orange, as it’s a regional transportation hub by road and rail.
This would be a great option to be close to New York City but in a much safer neighborhood.
You could also use this as a great location to stay for a visit to Newark, which is just eight miles east.
Warnings & Dangers in West Orange
OVERALL RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here with historically low crime rates and plenty of family-friendly activities to do. If you're looking for more nightlife, check out South Orange, another low-risk town.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
West Orange has free jitney rides to train stations in the region. NJ Transit and PATH both provide additional mass transit options. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find, and you'll never have a shortage of rental cars in this region.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk here, but there's one note I want to make on that. One of the latest trends in West Orange is thieves stealing key fobs. Don't be so worried about protecting your wallet that you stop paying attention to your keys. Thieves are trying to steal cars with the key fob.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You'll get year-round risks, making it important to stay weather aware. Hurricane season runs from June through November. Nor'easter can start in October and run through May. Flooding is common here during major storms. Snowstorms can also cripple roadways.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
The robbery rate is about 25% lower than the national average, and most robberies are in private homes since this is an affluent area. The risk is low but never low enough to let your guard down. Use extra caution in Orange and East Orange.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
This is another low risk, as there are no hard targets in West Orange. However, being this close to NYC, you should always be aware of your surroundings and report anything suspicious.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
The West Orange Police Department has a Scam Alert section on its website to detail the most common scams. Most of the biggest challenges come from scammers pretending to be police officers and calling residents. The risk of a tourist scam is low.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is a family-friendly destination for moms and offers a lot of safe places for solo female travelers and girlfriend getaways. It's a low risk, but you should still use basic safety measures.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. American Water is a great company that provides the water here, and the report is worth reading since there's a lot of safety information included.
Safest Places to Visit in West Orange
The city website for West Orange has a list of parks and attractions, making it one-stop shopping for safety and activity information.
Each Orange community has its own city website, so you can search through the others to see if you like any activities nearby.
There’s also a “Get to Know West Orange” activity sheet you can download from the website, with a list of places to see, from historic buildings to artwork to a 9/11 memorial.
Did you know that Thomas Edison’s nickname was “Al”?
That fun fact and more can be explored at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park & Museum in West Orange.
The park includes Edison’s laboratory and the Glenmont Estate.
Check the NPS website for hours and access options to each part of the park.
The Essex County Turtleback Zoo is also in West Orange, with more than 200 animals waiting to meet you.
Exhibits take you from Australia to the Great Plains to underwater wonderland.
Behind-the-scenes tours are available for an additional fee.
Treetop Adventure Course is right next to the zoo.
You can explore the aerial obstacle course for all fitness levels, which includes a zipline 40 feet above the ground.
Make a reservation, as sell-out crowds are common.
Surrounding both the zoo and the adventure course is South Mountain Reservation in the Watchung Mountains.
There are more than 2,100 acres to explore here and a nearly two-mile hiking trail.
You can also find Codey Arena and Mini-GOLF Safari on this property.
Be sure to check out the paddleboat options if the weather is nice while you’re there.
Eagle Rock Reservation is another spectacular outdoor space to explore.
Covering 400 acres, the park includes a 9/11 memorial and a stunning skyline view of New York City.
A segment of the 36-mile Lenape Trail runs through the reservation and eventually meets up with 18 parks and 11 towns in Essex County.
For entertainment, check out the schedule at the Luna Stage Theatre and/or the OSPAC Outdoor Amphitheater in the summer.
Places to Avoid in West Orange
There aren’t dangerous parts of this community, so you don’t need to worry about ending up in a bad neighborhood.
There are some questionable parts of Orange and East Orange, but there aren’t a lot of tourist attractions in those towns.
The only thing you should really avoid in this area is assuming all the Oranges have similar safety rankings.
They are vastly different in crime rates, average income, and poverty rates.
If you have to avoid two of the Oranges, I’d say the City of Orange and East Orange are the most dangerous.
Safety Tips for Traveling to West Orange
- All the Oranges have their own police departments. West Orange Police Department (WOPD) can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (973) 325-4000.
- Use the Notify Me section of the city’s website to sign up for alerts. You can skip past most categories and just enroll in the Alert Center to limit how many emails you get.
- West Orange has a jitney service that can get commuters or travelers to Orange, South Orange, or Brick Church train stations. You can sign up for travel alerts by texting the keyword ’WOJITNEY’ to (781)728-9542. There’s also an app for that.
- If you come across hazards like potholes or downed trees, you can report a concern on the city’s website. This helps workers fix problems before they become worse. Don’t assume someone else has already reported it.
- Review the Emergency Management section of the city’s website to see how to handle hurricane preparations, tornadoes, and flooding. It’s important to know the evacuation routes and safe places to go when storms hit.
- Parking on the streets will be limited when there is a snowstorm, so avoid any issues by using a parking garage or private parking lot. Always clean off your vehicle in its entirety before you drive. That snow on the top of your car can blow off and blind another driver.
- Use 511 NJ’s website and app to check real-time traffic, construction zones, and live cameras before you head out. For those heading into New York City, you can use 511 NY.
- The National Weather Service out of New York City will provide forecasts for this area, but you can get specific forecasts from the NWS website for West Orange.
- Parts of West Orange flood easily after heavy rains. You should never drive through a flooded street, even if it doesn’t look that deep. It just takes six inches of water to knock over a person or carry a car away.
- Anglers need a fishing license from the New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife. All anglers over the age of 15 will be required to have a license on them when fishing. You can purchase that online or at a local sporting goods store.
So... How Safe Is West Orange Really?
West Orange and South Orange are definitely the two safest options in the Oranges.
While we still don’t have official crime data since 2020, a statewide problem, we do know that crime rates haven’t been this low in almost half a century.
“The report indicates that the violent crime rate, non-violent crime rate, and the overall crime rate in West Orange has hit a 41-year low,” a township spokesperson said in February 2022.
“This is likely a direct result of innovative policing initiatives that have been implemented in recent years in West Orange.”
The success here was honored by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which awarded the West Orange Police Department its “Excellence in Policing: Community Partnership Award” in 2021.
Violent crime rates were almost 75% lower than the national average in 2020 and were half the national average at the peak of crime in the past decade (2016).
The crimes here tend to follow the money.
This is a wealthy community with an average income of more than $118,000.
The latest crime trend in 2023 was criminals breaking into homes to steal key fobs for pricey cars.
Sure, you’ll still need to use common sense and basic safety steps, but West Orange is about the safest place you can be in the four Orange communities.
How Does West Orange Compare?
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A visa or visa waiver is required for everyone coming into the United States by plane or at the port of entry. A passport that isn't within six months of expiring will be presented with the visa documents at Border Patrol and Customs. You can travel throughout the states in America without having to show additional ID.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. Your home bank offers the best exchange fees, but you'll find Travelex locations at the major airports where you can exchange currency as well.
Plan for four distinct seasons. Winters will be cold and snowy, so layer up. Summers will be warm to hot and mostly humid. You'll want comfortable, breathable clothing and walking shoes that won't hurt your feet. Bug spray is important for those visiting wilderness areas.
Newark's international airport is just 16 miles away, but with traffic, that drive can take up to an hour. JFK and LaGuardia will both be about 45 miles away, but those could take two hours to get to in rush hour.
Comprehensive travel insurance just makes sense when visiting a location with severe weather potential throughout the year.
West Orange Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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