Is Wildwood Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On June 15, 2023
Wildwood, United States
Safety Index:
51
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Get ready to “Rock Around the Clock” in the Doo Wop-era beach destination of Wildwood, New Jersey.

Wildwood is one of several towns on this barrier island, with West Wildwood, North Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest making up a region known as Wildwoods.

Early-era rock and roll hits like Rock Around the Clock and The Twist were first performed here as this beach community exploded with hotels and attractions in the 1950s and 60s.

Wildwood officials actually coined the phrase “Doo Wop,” and that vibe still reigns to this day.

In a small state with big beach options, Wildwoods ranks high for having so much to do and the best thrill rides.

You won’t get the MTV Jersey Shore vibes, but you also avoid the more G-rated atmosphere of families with small children in Ocean City, New Jersey.

The beach of Wildwoods is five miles long and 500 feet wide, leaving a lot of space for people.

With more than nine million people visiting each year, that’s space that can fill up quickly.

This beach town has it all and then some, with buckets of fries and a heaping dose of safety guidance needed to have the best experience.

Warnings & Dangers in Wildwood

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

There's a medium risk here simply due to the number of people who visit and the inherent risks of any major tourist activity. While there's certainly trouble to find here, if you don't go looking for it, you won't run into any.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

NJ Transit will have many options to get to Wildwoods in the summer. Once you're there, Wildwoods has a tram service running since 1949, which spans two miles of the boardwalk. Three taxi companies service the area. There's also the Wildwoods Island Shuttle you can learn more about by downloading the Jitney Surfer app. For those renting a car, you won't need a beach sticker to visit the beach. I'm a huge fan of using AirTags to track my bags when I'm on vacation. I also have several sizes of waterproof bags, so my most important things, like my phone and wallet, can go in the water with me.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

This is a medium risk, with plenty of opportunities for thieves. Several reports of people picking off bags left on beach chairs should give you caution before trusting the safety of crowds.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

In between perfect beach days, there are weather risks to pay attention to. Hurricane season runs from June through November. Nor'easter risks usually run from October through May. Wildwoods has been spared the worst of tropical weather and storm damage, but that's more a stroke of luck than an indication of how safe it really is.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The latest data we have shows just eight robberies in Wildwood, but that goes back to 2020. The town has seen a steady decline from 47 robberies in 2011 to 2018, when just 10 were reported. 2019 and 2021 had eight robberies. It's a lower risk but not one you should be cavalier with.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

There's a low risk that Wildwoods would be a target of international terrorism, but it's the domestic terrorism and mass shooting risk that would be more likely. Keep the risk low by avoiding large crowds of rowdy behavior and reporting anything suspicious you see.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM

This is another medium risk with the potential for scams around every corner. It's important to know that those boardwalk games are meant to look easy and get as much of your money as possible. Rental scams are rampant, so use a rental agency recommended by the Chamber of Commerce or demand a rental permit and then verify it from the homeowner. Just be on guard here, as there are many pressure points for scammers. Local law enforcement will post new scams on social media pages.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM

Women should treat it as a medium risk and try to bring as little as possible with them that has value. It's not a big deal if you lose a bag (provided you don't bring your Birkin), but losing a wallet is a big deal. It's important to keep teenagers from going to house parties or letting them have too much space to explore the inherent dangers of the community.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Anytime there flooding, you should check for water quality issues with your hotel or the water company. For beach water quality, check the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection website. They do regular checks of the beaches during the summer.

Safest Places to Visit in Wildwood

There’s a tourism website for Wildwoods as a whole, and each town/borough has information on their respective websites.

One thing to pay particular attention to is that the city of Wildwood is wildwoodnj.org while the tourism website is wildwoodSnj.com.

The tourism site does have an app you can download will all the travel information you can get from the website.

If you look at the tourism site, you’ll also see more than one visitor’s guide.

There are the Discovery Guide, Vacation Planner, Events Calendar, and 2023 Family Value Book.

Each one is available with one click and without having to give personal information.

The Wildwood Boardwalk is the hub of activity and includes many historic elements celebrating the “Doo Wop” days.

It’s a mesmerizing array of restaurants, arcades, shops, and games.

Being a beach town, you can also take fishing charters, tour boats, speed boats, dolphin watching, and any other kind of boating activity you’d like to do.

What’s Doo Wop?

Find out at the Doo Wop Experience Museum with the immersive and interactive exhibit showcasing the nostalgic charm of the 1950s and ’60s.

Learn about the unique architectural style of Wildwood’s Doo Wop buildings and explore various exhibits of the era’s pop culture.

Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterpark is an iconic amusement park complex offering thrilling rides, water parks, and family entertainment.

There are two water parks and three amusement piers with carnival rides, food, and fun.

Always check Morey’s website before you purchase tickets or go to the park to see what’s open and what’s closed.

There are four hotels connected to Morey’s brand.

The Seaport Aquarium is right on the boardwalk, with interactive sea life exhibits where you can safely touch a stingray or look a shark in the eye.

The Hereford Inlet Lighthouse might not be the type of lighthouse you’re used to seeing, but this uniquely designed beacon, attached home, and gardens are open to guests seasonally.

Don’t miss a chance to see Wildwoods from the top of the lighthouse.

Wildwoods has five miles of beach, so there’s plenty of room for everyone.

There are designated dog beach areas, so if you don’t like dogs, avoid those locations.

You can also visit Cape May National Wildlife Refuge at the southern end of the barrier island.

If the beachfront is a little overwhelming, you can explore Sunset Lake on the inland side of the island, with more water activities and a much more laid-back vibe.

Places to Avoid in Wildwood

This part really depends on what you’re looking for in your beach vacation.

Wildwood is going to have more teenagers, and a few blocks inland can be sketchy.

It’s the “wilder” Wildwood, with North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest being slightly safer.

You should avoid trying to “get away” with anything, even something as simple as bringing alcohol to the beach.

Alcohol is banned in the summer, and the ordinance states that it “not only prohibits the drinking and/or open display of alcohol but also says the mere existence of any kind of alcohol is prohibited.”

“This is a matter of public safety.

We understand people are on vacation and want to have a good time,” Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski said in a news release.

“We want everyone to enjoy Wildwood.

Drinking, especially in the sun on vacation, often leads to excess and unruly behavior, not to mention increased health risks.”

It’s smart to avoid the boardwalk at night and certainly stay away from large crowds gathered.

If you see a disturbance happening, don’t try to get a video for social media. Just get out of there.

It’s not worth the risk.

You should definitely avoid any unsanctioned beach gathering.

The police are really cracking down on these groups that cause more chaos than anything.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Wildwood

  1. Each of the Wildwoods has its own police department. Even if you’re staying in Wildwood, you should still follow all the others on social media. Here’s an easy list of Facebook and/or Twitter accounts: @wildwoodpolice, @NorthWildwoodPD, @wildwoodcrestpd, and @w_wildwoodpd.
  2. The police departments collectively want people to know that using social media or email isn’t a good way to let them know about an incident. Either call 911 in an emergency or use the phone number for the specific department to get immediate help. Emails and social media accounts aren’t monitored around the clock.
  3. Sign up for CodeRED alerts to get emergency notifications about safety concerns like severe weather, evacuations, tide risks, etc. You can also look at Nixle to see which communities are covered with alerts through that program. Even as an average citizen, I use Nixle all the time to see what’s happening in my ‘hood.
  4. The beaches of Wildwood have outfall water pipes, especially in Wildwood Crest. These are at the beach level and will be covered in high tide. Please be aware of these and ask a lifeguard if you can’t see them. They can be dangerous if you’re near them.
  5. A red flag on the beach means swimming is banned. Don’t risk it or try to get in the water. Anything from an outfall pipe to a ripe tide warning to the heavy presence of jellyfish could prompt a red flag on the beach.
  6. Don’t risk going to the beach if there’s any kind of tropical weather heading that way. Businesses will board up days in advance. Roads will be shut down, and eventually, the bridge to the island will be closed. Even after a tropical storm, flooding can be bad, water quality can be impaired, and services will be extremely limited.
  7. Before you load up beach balls, Frisbees, or rafts, check the regulations for the beach you’ll be visiting. Each town or borough has its own set of rules. Surfing is allowed only at designated beach locations.
  8. If you think you can come here and party like it’s Jersey Shore 2010, think again. The alcohol ordinance is just one facet of new regulations. Now there’s a “breach of peace” charge that includes loud noise, littering, vandalism, and illegal fireworks. There’s a zero-tolerance policy for anyone ruining the peaceful vibes of these beach towns.
  9. Anglers don’t need a fishing license here but do need to register with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program, which can only be done online through the Fish & Wildlife Department. There is a license required for crabbing and shellfishing.
  10. The Garden State Parkway is a toll road, and you’ll need an EZ Pass to make the toll payments easy. Most rental car companies will already have a device installed, but be sure to ask so you don’t have to stop at every toll booth.

So... How Safe Is Wildwood Really?

To a certain extent, we have to throw crime data out the window because showing the number of violent crimes (35) by the number of annual visitors (9 million) gives a ridiculously low crime rate.

If we figure out the crimes only by the 5,200 residents, then we’re showing it to be a much more dangerous place than it really is.

Then we have a lack of official crime data, with the most recent numbers in a large tourist area being in 2020, when COVID shut down most places.

So, that brings us to the basic safety concerns you’ll find in any tourist spot.

As a big family destination, it’s hard to carry “only what you need” since kids tend to need a lot.

What we do see is a strong attention to safety and enjoyment for everyone.

From a boardwalk operator who was fined and banned for misleading games to the ban on alcohol to the arrest of a man who was stealing beach bags from chairs in North Wildwood.

There was an unapproved car rally that was held on Memorial Day in 2022 that led to “mayhem” and left one person dead.

This show is called H2OI, but there is a trend of similar chaos-causing events called sideshows happening in other cities.

You just need to use common sense, situational awareness, and basic safety tips.

Make your car as unappealing as possible to break into.

Don’t leave beach bags lying around.

Always pay attention to the beach flags and get inside when severe weather is looming.

There’s a reason nine million people come here each year, and most leave without a hint of criminal issues.

You’re not better poised to be one of those happy tourists.

How Does Wildwood Compare?

CitySafety Index
Wildwood51
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Boston67
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International guests need a visa that is dictated by the type of travel. There's tourism, work, and education, for example, and each one is a slightly different process. Your passport must also be valid and not within six months of expiring.

Currency

Currency

The U.S. Dollar is the currency used here. We strongly recommend you exchange currency before you leave home, as your local bank will have the lowest fees. Purchase as much as you can ahead of time and use a credit card in Wildwood for the best fraud protection.

Weather

Weather

Wildwood gets four seasons but not nearly as much snow in the winter as some other cities. You should still plan for winter attire from November through March. Spring and fall will fluctuate. With about 45 inches of rain annually, a raincoat and boots aren't a bad idea, especially in August, which is the wettest month. Summer guests need sunscreen, bug spray, aloe for sunburn, and water shoes.

Airports

Airports

The closest commercial airport is Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), about 40 miles north. Philadelphia International Airport is 93 miles away and is a larger airport with more direct international flights.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance is ideal for a beach vacation, and don't forget to confirm you have health coverage and rental car coverage. You should also know what benefits you get from the insurance policy if severe or tropical weather shuts down the beach.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Wildwood Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 1° C
Feb 3° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 11° C
May 17° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 10° C
Dec 5° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
571116212629292519149
Low
°C
-3-22612172019161051
High
°F
414552617079848477665748
Low
°F
272836435463686661504134

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?

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