Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey?
We all watch the news and see the Facebook feeds come across of the latest crimes that are happening in our home towns. While a major crime just blocks away from your house can make you feel really uneasy, in the big picture, most likely, where you live is relatively safe.
Tony Soprano’s hometown isn’t on the list, but the state’s capital is – go figure. The most dangerous city in New Jersey might surprise you, since it’s such a popular tourist destination, but the numbers don’t lie.
Instead of relying on speculation, we dug into the FBI crime data in order to identify the most dangerous places in New Jersey. And in a fun twist, Camden didn’t report crime in 2013 to the FBI, so it wasn’t one of the cities we looked at. So please don’t complain (loudly) in the comments.
The result is the following list of top ten most dangerous cities in the Garden State (minus Camden):
- Atlantic City (Photos)
- Asbury Park (Photos)
- Millville (Photos)
- Bridgeton (Photos)
- Newark (Photos)
- Neptune Township
- Woodbury (Photos)
- Lindenwold (Photos)
- Trenton (Photos)
How we determined the most dangerous places in New Jersey
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the most dangerous, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s last three years of reporting. Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year.
Violent crimes are defined as rapes, murders, robberies and aggravated assaults.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 10,000 people as of 2013, which is the last year the report was available. This left us with a total of 234 cities in New Jersey to rank.
Finally, we made 2013 factor more heavily than 2012, since more recent crimes are a bigger determining factor in how dangerous a place is. You can see our overall ranking at the bottom of the post.
We must note that this report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments. It simply states where crimes occurred most frequently.
1. Atlantic City
Violent Crime Rank: 1
Property Crime Rank: 2
A resort city known for its casinos, boardwalks, and beaches as well as inspiring the board of Monopoly, Atlantic City is also the home to quite a bit of crime.
Despite the fact that violent crime fell by 8% and property crime dropped by 19% between 2011-13, Atlantic City’s crime statistics are still pretty terrible.
In 2013, residents still faced a 1 in 58 chance of being the victim of violence, and a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of a property crime for every year they spent in AC city limits.
2. Asbury Park
Violent Crime Rank: 2
Property Crime Rank: 3
Located on the Jersey Shore in east-central New Jersey, Asbury Park has only about 3% less violent crime than Atlantic City.
The 1.6 sq. mile city has not seen any improvements in its violent crime in recent years, but property crime did drop by an impressive 52% between 2011-13.
That’s good, because without this improvement, Asbury Park’s property crime rate would be the worst in New Jersey.
Violent Crime Rank: 9
Property Crime Rank: 1
Located in southern New Jersey, Millville is the least violent of the top 5 most dangerous cities, but it’s the worst in terms of property crime.
That is partially due to a 36% hike in property crime from 2011-13, which left residents with a 1 in 12 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2013.
Violent crime also went up by 13% during this period, so while the top 2 cities on this list are improving, Millville’s trend means it might move to the top in a few years.
Violent Crime Rank: 5
Property Crime Rank: 8
Another city of Cumberland County, Bridgeton’s motto is “Come Celebrate.”
With regards to crime, Bridgeton has little to celebrate of late, with violent and property crime rates each going up by roughly 11% between 2011-3.
Still, there’s 78% less property crime in Bridgeton than in Millville.
Violent Crime Rank: 3
Property Crime Rank: 18
A city in Essex County in northern Jersey, Irvington has seen its population fall by 10% over the last decade.
Perhaps that has something to do with the high rate of violent crime, with residents facing a 1 in 67 chance of being the victim of violence in 2014, a 12% rise from 2011.
On the bright side, instances of property crime also fell by 16% during this time period.
Violent Crime Rank: 6
Property Crime Rank: 15
The most populated city in New Jersey, Newark is located in northern Jersey, about 15 miles west of Manhattan.
While the rate of property crime dropped by 12% between 2011-13, violent crime went up by 8%.
This left Newark residents with a 1 in 79 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013, which is about 18% less common than in Irvington.
7. Neptune Township
Violent Crime Rank: 18
Property Crime Rank: 7
Located in central Jersey and named after the Roman god, Neptune Township experienced a substantial 51% drop in its property crime rate between 2011-13.
That’s a difference of residents having about a 1 in 15 shot of being the victim of theft or arson in 2011 and a 1 in 23 shot in 2013.
Violent crime, meanwhile, remained at around the same level.
Violent Crime Rank: 22
Property Crime Rank: 5
Located in south Jersey, Woodbury is the smallest city to make this list, and also the least violent.
But it seems that the city is intent on changing that – violent crime rose by 55% between 2011-13, leaving residents a 1 in 224 chance of being the victim of violence in 2013 (a rate that would earn a top 10 spot in most states).
Woodbury’s already horrible property crime statistics also got worse in these years, going up by 20% from 2011-13.
Violent Crime Rank: 14
Property Crime Rank: 16
Another south Jersey city, Lindenwold isn’t in the top ten for violent or property crime, but relatively bad rates of each earn it a spot in the top ten most dangerous cities overall.
Things have been improving at a pretty good pace though, with both types of crime falling by more than 15% between 2011-13.
Violent Crime Rank: 4
Property Crime Rank: 27
New Jersey’s capital, Trenton, almost escaped being included on this list, but being the fourth most violent city in the state kept it in the top ten most dangerous.
Residents of Trenton had a 1 in 75 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2013, which, at least, was an 8% drop from 2011.
Property crime also went down by 11% between 2011-13, meaning, if the trends continue, Trenton may avoid this list altogether come next year.
Closing the books
So when you pull away bias and opinions, that’s the set of top ten most dangerous places in New Jersey that the data delivers.
Better luck next year Trenton.
Detailed List Of Dangerous Cities In New Jersey
|Hamilton Township, Atlantic County||32|
|Cherry Hill Township||39|
|Ocean Township, Monmouth County||48|
|Maple Shade Township||51|
|Hamilton Township, Mercer County||55|
|Egg Harbor Township||58|
|Lawrence Township, Mercer County||65|
|Toms River Township||71|
|Little Egg Harbor Township||80|
|Monroe Township, Gloucester County||80|
|Washington Township, Gloucester County||86|
|Franklin Township, Gloucester County||92|
|West New York||94|
|North Brunswick Township||97|
|East Hanover Township||98|
|Franklin Township, Somerset County||103|
|North Bergen Township||120|
|Mount Laurel Township||121|
|West Deptford Township||125|
|Little Falls Township||129|
|Saddle Brook Township||133|
|Old Bridge Township||134|
|East Brunswick Township||134|
|West Milford Township||141|
|West Windsor Township||150|
|South Brunswick Township||158|
|Scotch Plains Township||168|
|East Greenwich Township||173|
|Mount Olive Township||182|
|Parsippany-Troy Hills Township||188|
|West Caldwell Township||189|
|Colts Neck Township||189|
|Cedar Grove Township||208|
|Monroe Township, Middlesex County||218|
|Berkeley Heights Township||227|
|Washington Township, Morris County||229|