New Jersey has so many safe, charming towns, but we also have a few seedier spots. While these places all have a lot to offer, it’s probably best to use caution and common sense at night. This list is based on the State Police’s Uniform Crime Report for 2013 and factors in only violent crime.
This probably comes as a surprise to no one. Camden is one of the most dangerous cities in all of the United States, but it does have some pretty amazing attractions along the waterfront including Adventure Aquarium and the USS New Jersey. You'll also find the Camden Children's Garden and Walt Whitman House. There were 25.4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents reported in 2013.
2. Atlantic City
There's a lot to love about the East Coast's adult playground. In addition to gambling and live performances, you'll find incredible restaurants like Chef Vola's and funky spots like Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum and the Noyes Arts Garage. Still, the city has a seedier side with 17.7 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents.
It wouldn't be summer for me without a trip to the Wildwoods, but perhaps all the tourists are bringing the crime rate up. There's nothing like a night at Morey's Piers, but 17.1 violent crimes per 1,000 residents were reported in 2013.
4. Asbury Park
A shore town with a fantastic music scene and thriving boardwalk, Asbury Park did unfortunately have 16.6 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in 2013. Still, I'd brave it for a show at the Stone Pony. During the day, visit Silverball Museum and Pinball Arcade along with dining options like Hoagitos.
In July of 2015, this city was classified as one of 30 "transit villages" in New Jersey, which came with certain benefits to aid in revitalization. While Jerry Lewis and Queen Latifah both graduated high school here, the school system was recently ranked among the bottom 10 in the Garden State. There were 15.3 violent crimes per 1,000 residents reported in 2013.
This historic town was once well-known for its fine educational institutions but is now better known for its crime rate. In 2013, 13.5 violent crimes were reported per 1,000 residents. Still, the town does have a must-see attraction. Take a day trip to the Cohanzick Zoo - the zoo is New Jersey's oldest, and free to the public.
If this list factored in property crimes like car theft, Newark would likely rank higher. However, it comes in at #7 with 13.4 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents. Even still, the city has some lovely areas, mouthwatering Portuguese food, the beautiful Branch Brook Park (famous for its cherry blossoms) and the Newark Museum and Planetarium. I'm a huge fan of this museum, which offers a bit of everything.
Our state capital is rich with history and home to the Old Barracks, which date all the way back to the French and Indian War (1758). You'll also find the New Jersey State Museum here. Trenton had a violent crime rate of 13.4/1,000 residents in 2013.
This city is home to the famous Star Tavern Pizza and very near to attractions like the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, Turtle Back Zoo and South Mountain Reservation. There were 12.3 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in 2013.
The gorgeous great falls are located in this city (our state's 3rd most populous), along with historic Lambert Castle. Once a thriving mill town, there were 10.7 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in 2013.
Did any of these cities surprise you? Even though New Jersey may have several more dangerous spots, we still have so many wonderful places. For a few positives, check out our
happiest cities, smartest cities and healthiest cities.