10 Most Dangerous Cities In NJ

By PropertyClub Team
May 19th 2024
New Jersey might be known as the Garden State, but it’s also very densely populated. While some cities in the state are remarkably safe, the worst areas in NJ can be quite terrifying. Read on to discover the most dangerous cities in NJ. 

Before you decide where in NJ you want to live, it’s best to know which cities are the most dangerous and why. After all, you want to ensure you and your family are safe and comfortable. 

hash-markKey Findings

  • The most dangerous city in New Jersey is Camden due to its violent crime rate of 1,586 per 100,000 people which is 321% higher than the national average. Camden is also the worst city in NJ for murders, with a rate of 39 per 100,000, which is 550% higher than the US average. 
  • The second worst city in New Jersey is Trenton, which suffers from a violent crime rate of 1,289 per 100,000. The murder rate in Trenton has also increased by over 20% in recent years. 
  • Salem is the most dangerous town in NJ. This town of 5,324 people has a violent crime rate of 1,258 per 100,000 people, and also struggles with a poverty rate of 41%. 

hash-mark10 Most Dangerous Cities in New Jersey

  1. Camden
  2. Trenton
  3. Salem
  4. Asbury Park
  5. Wildwood
  6. Paterson
  7. Penns Grove
  8. Atlantic City
  9. Irvington
  10. Long Branch

hash-mark1. Camden

Camden is the most dangerous city in NJ due to its extremely high crime and murder rates. Unfortunately, the city is often in the news for the wrong reasons. Camden has been embattled with some of the worst crime rates in the country. It’s only been made worse by cuts to the local police force and urban decay. 

There are currently 1,586 violent crimes per 100,000 people in this city. Cops have been proactive in trying to get some semblance of order, but the city remains unsafe as homicides and assaults remain high. With such high crime rates, Camden is simply one of the worst places to live in NJ.  

hash-mark2. Trenton

Trenton is another one of the most dangerous cities in NJ. Although it's the state capital and one of the largest cities in NJ, Trenton has struggled with crime for years. The violent crime rate in Trenton is quite high, with 1,289 violent crimes for every 100,000 people who live here, over three times the national average. Property crimes are fairly high in the city, as well. 

Trenton currently struggles with extremely high poverty ratings, urban blight, and gang activity. While police have tried to clamp down on this city’s crime, it will take a lot more to get things under control.

hash-mark3. Salem

Salem is one of the most dangerous towns in NJ. It's also the cheapest place to live in New Jersey, with some homes selling for as little as $115,000 right now. However, don’t make a mistake about it; it’s cheap because of the extremely high crime rate. 

This super-small town has 1,258 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents. Admittedly, there are only around 5,000 residents here. What’s alarming is that there have been more crimes reported than there are residents. 

Between that and a poverty rate of 41%, it’s easy to see why Salem isn’t looking too good. 

hash-mark4. Asbury Park

Asbury Park is home to Tillie, Convention Hall, and the Wonder Bar. But don’t take this increasingly touristy city for a safe place to be. While you might love visiting the boardwalk here, the truth is that this town is still reeling from the economic turmoil it had not too long ago. 

1,226 violent crimes happen here for every 100,000 residents who call this place home, making it roughly as dangerous as Trenton. Gang activity remains a serious concern, even though this area has become fairly gentrified in recent years.

hash-mark5. Wildwood

Wildwood may not be the most violent city in NJ, but it sure is dangerous for your property. This city has an eye-popping 6,724 property crimes per 100,000 residents. That makes it the worst city in New Jersey for property crime, bar none. The violent crime rate is also relatively high at 1,054 per 100,000 residents. 

Everything from petty theft to break-ins have happened here, and much of it is due to the allure of tourist money. It’s a pretty fun place to visit, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good place to stay. 

hash-mark6. Paterson

Paterson is another dangerous New Jersey city that has been gripped with a bad reputation for violent crime, but like others on this list, things are improving. Gang activity and heroin-related addictions spark much of the crime here.

The violent crime rate in Paterson is 937 per 100,000 people and many residents report that they feel unsafe walking around at night. 

hash-mark7. Penns Grove

Penns Grove is a town that ranks amongst the worst in New Jersey when it comes to its safety record. This small New Jersey town has roughly one third of its residents struggling with poverty wages.

This area has struggling, underfunded schools, and a serious gang issue. According to the statistics, there are approximately 5,000 people living here. The total violent crime rate in Penns Grove is 911 per 100,000 residents, which is more than double the US average. That’s not a good look, no matter how you slice it.

hash-mark8. Atlantic City

Atlantic City is another one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey. Whether it’s because people are desperate for gambling money or because of gang activity, this city has a fairly rough crime problem. Violent crimes clock in at around 900 per 100,000. The most common crimes in Atlantic City are robberies, petty theft, drug dealing, and property crimes. Be sure to keep an eye on your wallet!

While Atlantic City's crime problem has turned some people away from the city, it's also helped keep real estate prices low making it one of the most affordable beach towns in NJ

hash-markc. Irvington

Irvington is also one of the worst towns in NJ due to its high crime rate. Irvington borders Newark and while Newark has been working hard to get crime under control, its neighbor Irvington has not been as fortunate. Irvington has been dealing with high rates of gang activity and drug addictions that have gone out of control. 

Around 540 violent crimes happen for every 100,000 people who are here. Car thefts and robberies, though, are far more common than people want to admit. So if you can, avoid this violent New Jersey city. 

hash-mark10. Long Branch

Long Branch is another one of the most dangerous cities in NJ. That's somewhat surprising as it is close to Monmouth University, one of the most expensive private colleges in the state. It’s also close to several “old money” towns, including Rumson and Little Silver. 

Unfortunately, Long Branch also has some fairly rough spots—a holdover from the days when this area was deemed fairly run-down. While violent crimes clock in at only 453 per 100,000, property crimes are common enough.

hash-markMost Dangerous Cities in NJ Bottom Line

Although there are some extremely dangerous cities in NJ, there are also plenty of safe places to live in the state. New Jersey is actually one of the safest states in the US. Even though these cities may struggle with crime, the state’s overall crime rate is one of the lowest in the country. So, rest assured that your choice to live here is a good one as long as you know which places to avoid in NJ.