You know that we live in a relatively safe state. New Jersey is not even close to the top of the list of most violent states in the country.

However, we do have our spots. There are some cities in New Jersey that for various reasons will always be the crime centers of our state.

Every few years, a new list of this type comes out. And unfortunately, it’s the usual suspects just about every time these lists are published.

This time, it was published by a website called that screened for cities with over 5,000 people, ranking them by taking the highest number of violent crimes per population displayed as crimes per thousand people.

The last year of the data used in the analysis was reported in 2019.

It’s unfortunate, but true that the closer you get to New York City, the worst the crime gets. And while the same holds true for Philadelphia, most of the high-crime cities tend to be in the North of the state as opposed to the South.

Areas near New York City are likely to be more dangerous for people visiting.

The obvious bit of advice that is repeated in this article is to follow your gut. If something seems creepy, dark and shady, it probably is. Or at least it’s worth taking extra precautions around.

But here, for 2022 is an updated list of the most violent cities in the state and the number of violent crimes per thousand people over the period of a year, according to

Where cities were tied for the number of violent crimes per thousand, I listed them in order of the actual total of violent crimes.

#10-East Orange

Number 10 on the list is East Orange. With four violent crimes per 1,000, you could say this is the safest on this list. The best of the worst, so to speak. The trend of decrease in crime as you move to the outskirts of the city is reversed as you move east toward New York – violent crime actually gets worse.

Population: 64,200
Violent Crimes Total: 275
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 4


Passaic probably gets a bad rap because crime is not really widespread. There are a couple bad higher-violence neighborhoods, but they span no more than a few blocks and the rest of the city and outlying areas see very little violent crime on an annual basis – somewhere around 1 violent crime a year.

Population: 69,639
Violent Crimes Total: 369
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5

#8- Irvington

Five doesn’t actually sound like a lot of violent crimes does it? But, Irvington just seems more dangerous because violent crime is generally evenly spread across the city (which is officially a township) with a few “nicer” neighborhoods clearly outlined in crime "heat maps." Irvington has an unfortunate history with crime. It was a hotspot for the crack epidemic of the 1980’s and even up to 2007 reported the highest violent crime rate of all the major urban areas in the state.

Population: 54,034
Violent Crimes Total: 280
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5

#7- Jersey City

Although we have witnessed a gentrification of the city, there are still some pretty dangerous areas, especially near the eastern waterfront near the ports. The west side of the city has less cargo movement and significantly less violent crime. The survey lists the population of Jersey City as 266,508 people. With 1,393 violent crimes, that amounts to five violent crimes per 1,000 people in a year.

Population: 266,508
Violent Crimes Total: 1,393
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 5

#6- Always at or near the top of the list is Newark.

Newark is the most populous city in New Jersey and is considered part of the New York metropolitan area. What’s the population of over 281,000 there were 1,742 violent crimes the last time this research was done. That means there are six violent crimes per 1,000 people in Newark. The southern part of the city has approximately 70 times more violent crime than the northwestern portion.

Population: 281,422
Violent Crimes Total: 1,742
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 6

#5- Elizabeth

Again, the closer you get to New York City, the more violent crime you will find.
Violent crime is starkly concentrated in the center of the city, and rapidly disappears as you move west into rural areas. East moves toward New York City with its much higher violent crime rate and there are not many low-crime spots between.

Population: 128,753
Violent Crimes Total: 926
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 7

#4- Paterson

Paterson is very populous... In fact, it’s the 3rd most populous city in the state. And, as should probably seem obvious, the more people (especially when a city is as densely populated as Paterson is), the more violence you tend to see. Crime is spread homogeneously through the city, with the outlying areas safer than those closer to the center of the city.

Population: 144,866
Violent Crimes Total: 1,219
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 8

#3-New Brunswick

Although New Brunswick and the next most violent town,Trenton, were tied for the number of violent crimes per 1000 people, New Brunswick’s larger population means that you can feel a little safer about your risk percentage. it’s sad that the home of our state university is, in fact, one of the most dangerous towns in the state.
But violent crime in New Brunswick is restricted almost entirely to the center of the town and downtown areas. The wealthier neighborhoods have much lower violent crime rates.

Population: 55,995
Violent Crimes total: 323
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 9

#2-Atlantic City

It’s probably because of the influx of people here especially in the summer months, that there is so much more violent crime per capita in Atlantic City than in any others.
There are so many people from out of town most of the year – the crimes committed against them inflate the numbers. But Violent crime is concentrated in the center of the city where the tourists and entertainment are, dissipating but remaining relatively high as you leave the city for the outskirts. You will feel pretty safe in the well lit tourist areas and on the boardwalks but other than that, as is always the admonition, if something feels unsafe, it probably is. Be extra vigilant.

Population: 37,593
Violent Crimes Total: 323
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 9

#1- Trenton research studies crime. Crime heat maps which indicated that most of Trenton’s criminal activity occurs in the center of the city, especially near the waterfront and rapidly decreases toward the rural outlying areas, especially the northeast. But with 937 violent crimes in a year, it’s almost like no place feels safe.

Population: 83,457
Violent Crimes Total: 937
Violent crimes per 1,000 people: 11

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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