Updated List – The 10 Most Violent Towns in New Jersey (Opinion)

You know we live in a relatively safe state. New Jersey isn’t even close to the top of the list of the most violent states in the country.

However, we have our places. There are certain towns in New Jersey that, for various reasons, will always be the crime centers of our state.

Every few years, a new such list comes out. And sadly, they’re the usual suspects pretty much every time these lists are released.

This time it was published by a website called housegrail.com which selected towns with populations over 5,000, ranking them by taking the highest number of violent crimes per population displayed as crimes per thousand people.

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

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true that the closer you get to New York, the more serious the crime. And while the same is true for Philadelphia, most high-crime cities tend to be in the upstate rather than the south.

Areas near New York are likely to be more dangerous for visitors.

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

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 a one-year period, according to housegrail.com.

Where cities tied for violent crime per thousand, I’ve listed them in order of actual violent crime total.

#10-Orange East

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

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


Passaic probably has a bad reputation because the crime is not really widespread. There are a few bad neighborhoods with higher violence, but they don’t extend more than a few blocks and the rest of the city and outlying areas see very little violent crime on a yearly basis – about 1 violent crime per year.

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

#8- Irvington

Five doesn’t really sound like a lot of violent crime, does it? But, Irvington just seems more dangerous because violent crime is generally spread evenly across the city (which is officially a township) with a few “nicer” neighborhoods clearly defined in crime “heat maps.” Irvington has an unfortunate history with crime. It was a hot spot for the crack epidemic of the 1980s and even until 2007 had the highest violent crime rate of any major urban area in the state.

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

#7-Jersey City

Although we have seen a gentrification of the city, there are still quite dangerous areas, especially near the eastern waterfront near the ports. The west side of town has less freight movement and much less violent crime. The survey lists Jersey City’s population at 266,508 people. At 1,393 violent crimes, this equates to five violent crimes per 1,000 people in a year.

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

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

Newark is the most populous city in New Jersey and is considered part of the New York metropolitan area. What is the population over 281,000, there were 1,742 violent crimes the last time this research was done. This means that there are six violent crimes per 1,000 residents in Newark. The southern part of the city has about 70 times more violent crime than the northwest part.

Population: 281,422
Total violent crimes: 1,742
Violent crimes per 1,000 population: 6

#5- Elizabeth

Again, the closer you get to New York, the more violent crime you will find.
Violent crime is noticeably concentrated in the center of town and quickly disappears as you move west into rural areas. The East moves towards New York with its much higher violent crime rate and there aren’t many low crime places in between.

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

#4- Paterson

Paterson is very populated… In fact, it is the 3rd most populated city in the state. And, as it should probably seem obvious, the more people there are (especially when a town is as densely populated as Paterson), the more violence you tend to see. Crime is evenly distributed across the city, with outlying areas being safer than those closer to the center of the city.

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

#3-New Brunswick

Although New Brunswick and the second most violent city, Trenton, are tied for the number of violent crimes per 1,000 people, New Brunswick’s larger population means you can feel a little safer when it comes to your risk percentage. it’s sad that our state university headquarters is, in fact, one of the most dangerous cities in the state.
But violent crime in New Brunswick is almost entirely confined to downtown and town centres. Wealthier neighborhoods have much lower violent crime rates.

Population: 55,995
Total Violent Crimes: 323
Violent crimes per 1,000 population: 9

#2-Atlantic City

It’s probably because of the influx of people here, especially during the summer months, that there is so much more violent crime per capita in Atlantic City than in any other.
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 town where the tourists and entertainment are, dissipating but remaining relatively high as you leave town for the outskirts. You’ll feel quite safe in well-lit tourist areas and on boardwalks, but other than that, as is always the warning, if something doesn’t feel safe, it probably is. Be extremely vigilant.

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

#1 – Trenton

Housegrail.com research studies crime. Crime heatmaps showing that most criminal activity in Trenton occurs in the center of town, particularly near the waterfront, and rapidly declines towards outlying rural areas, particularly the northeast. But with 937 violent crimes in a year, it’s almost as if no place feels safe.

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

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

You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On demand! Listen to New Jersey’s favorite Best Friends anytime, anywhere, and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen now.

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