New Jersey is one of the safest states in the country. Overall, our crime rate is fairly low, but we do have some dangerous cities. Every state does, and I’m sure you won’t be shocked by many of the places on this list. Still, some may surprise you. Here are several of the most dangerous places to live, though we love them anyway. Please note that rankings are based on FBI crime statistics for the year 2013, the most recent year for which data is currently available.
Camden is not only the most dangerous city in New Jersey, it is one of the most dangerous places in the United States. The city's crime rate is four times higher than the national average. Even still, tourists enjoy the Adventure Aquarium, Battleship New Jersey and the Walt Whitman House.
2. Atlantic City
Hiding behind the glitz and glamour of the boardwalk lies a struggling city. Plagued by one of the highest violent crime rates in the state, we still stop by for endless entertainment at the shoreline resorts and casinos.
In 2013, Trenton had the highest murder rate in the state of New Jersey. It is also our state capitol. While you may want to avoid the city at night, there is a lovely historic district. Enjoy numerous museums, historical homes and the New Jersey State House.
4. Asbury Park
This seaside town thrived until the mid-1900s. Once a top shore destination, it evokes fond memories for the older generation. Its popularity declined after WWII, but the area is being revitalized. Though Asbury Park ranks high in both violent and property crimes, it offers a beautiful boardwalk, vintage arcade and legendary music venue, The Stone Pony.
Newark had the third highest murder rate in the NATION in 2013. While safety is certainly an issue, there are nicer neighborhoods in this large city. University Heights is home to several great schools including the prestigious New Jersey Institute of Technology. Visitors also love the planetarium at Newark Museum!
The county seat of Cumberland, Bridgeton's crime rate is five times higher than the New Jersey average. Even still, there is much to enjoy in this small city. You'll find numerous nature trails along with Cohanzick Zoo. Cohanzick was New Jersey's first zoo and admission is still free!
Though Paterson's property crime rate is fairly low, their violent crime rate is one of the highest in the state. While some neighborhoods are infested with gangs, others are permeated by parks. Enjoy one of my favorites, Great Falls National Park, seen above.
The epicenter of New Jersey's crack epidemic in the 1980s, Irvington is still recovering. The violent crime rate is six times the state average and the murder rate is eight times the state average. Though often avoided by outsiders, non-residents do stop by for some of the best cheese steaks in New Jersey at Better Than Philly.
Robbery and assault rates are high in this South Jersey neighborhood. Still, I wouldn't worry too much - the murder rate is nonexistent. While downtown may be dangerous, there's so much to enjoy in this small city. WheatonArts, Maurice River Cruises and the Millville Army Airfield Museum are just some of your options.
Salem is the smallest town on our list, with only about 5,000 residents. Even still, the crime rate is twice the national average and the violent crime rate per 1000 is similar to larger cities. Though that might scare some away, golfers still enjoy tee time at Wild Oaks Golf Club.
Did any of these cities surprise you? I must admit, I never expected Asbury Park to make this list but crime statistics don’t lie. Though these towns may be more dangerous, they still have something to offer. Many have historical neighborhoods and popular shopping districts or are undergoing revitalization efforts. Don’t be scared away, just be aware of your surroundings.