Most of us feel relatively safe here in New Jersey, and that’s for good reason. We have historically had a lower violent crime rate in most states in the country. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that we are living in the most densely populated state in the country.

Every year, the FBI releases statistics on violent crimes in all states in the US. As noted on Patch.com, they’ve recently released the latest list of the most violent towns in New Jersey. These statistics are from 2019. As usual, there are some towns we expect to be there and there are also some surprises. Interestingly, 2019 was the third straight year that violent crime decreased nationally.

Even better news is that in general, New Jersey always ranks lower than the national average and it remains so this year. Bad news for the town of Salem is that it was ranked number one in violent crimes per 10,000 people in New Jersey in 2019. Just behind it is Asbury Park, which had the second highest violent crime rate per 10,000 people in New Jersey.

For reference, Asbury Park has a population of 15,437 people and had 179 violent crimes reported in 2019. In comparison, neighboring towns like Belmar and Manasquan have populations of around 5-6,000 people each and yet reported only eight and seven violent crimes, that year, respectively. Another bit of negative news is that 2019 was the first time aggravated assaults rose in the state since 2014.

These numbers are culled by the FBI from all of the 577 law enforcement agencies across the state, according to the article. Still, the FBI gives a caveat. It says that numbers aren’t everything when it comes to crime data. They remind you that there are many other factors that have to be taken into account before you can label a town “violent.” With that in mind, here are the top 10 most violent cities in the state ranked in descending order. (This list includes the number violent crimes per 10,000 people)

  1. Salem 155.2531
  2. Asbury Park 115.9552
  3. Trenton 112.2734
  4. Penns Grove 107.4589
  5. Bridgeton 91.6526
  6. Atlantic City 85.9203
  7. Brooklawn 84.2549
  8. Paterson 84.1467
  9. Elizabeth 71.9207
  10. Lindenwold 71.5241

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.