The Most Dangerous Places in New Jersey

min read
The New Jersey skyline in soft light.
BetMGM Jan 27, 2023, 1:08 AM

What’s not to love about the gorgeous Garden State? Even though people continue to flock to the best places to live in New Jersey, there are places with less impressive reputations. So how do you stay safe while also taking advantage of the incredible sights and experiences you can only find in NJ? We’ve put together a list of the most dangerous places in the state so you can be more cautious on your next trip. If you live in one of these areas, you may want to play online slots and casino games instead of venturing out to a casino at night. 

Is New Jersey safe?

New Jersey is actually one of the safest states in the country. It’s also one of the most densely populated states, which is no surprise. The state has a lot of opportunities, entertainment and natural beauty to offer everyone who gives it a chance. But even though the New Jersey crime rate is one of the lowest in the US, some cities contribute more to these rates than others. The state might have a reputation for being safe, but that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. So is New Jersey a good place to live? Yes, provided you’re more careful in the following cities. 

The 5 most dangerous cities in New Jersey

Here are the most dangerous cities in the Garden State and the parts you should avoid when you visit them. 

1. Jersey City

Population: 283,927

With top attractions like the Liberty State Park and the 9/11 Memorial, many people wonder, is Jersey City safe? Jersey City has an above-average crime rate compared to other cities in the state. In 2019, the state had 1,393 violent crimes, about five for every 1,000 people. Violent crime is spread more evenly in the city and condensed near the eastern waterfront ports. Tourists will be relieved to know that crime is concentrated away from major tourist destinations in residential neighborhoods on the east and south sides of the city. 

2. Paterson

Population: 157,794

Also known as “Silk City,” Paterson is the third most populous city in New Jersey. It’s famous for its role in silk production in the late 19th century. The city is really multiple cities in one. It was originally formed as a township from parts of Acquackanonk Township in 1831. Today, it boasts an incredibly diverse population that speaks over 100 languages from many distinct cultural groups. When you explore the unique cultural experiences Paterson offers and visit other New Jersey hidden gems, remember that the city still has a high rate of crime spread across it. For instance, 1,216 violent crimes were reported in 2019. Outlying areas are safer and areas near the city center are the most dangerous. 

3. Newark

Population: 307,220

Newark is the most populated city in New Jersey. The town offers visitors many experiences, from concerts and shows at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to a broad array of American art at the Newark Museum. Branch Brook Park features gorgeous lakes and an abundance of cherry trees. Still, Newark is only safer than 24% of cities in the US. The city reported 1,465 violent crimes in one year, with 4,396 property crimes. The southeastern part of the city closest to New York is more prone to crime than rural northern and northwestern regions. And it’s no small difference; the southern part has 70 times more violent crimes than the northwestern areas. 

4. Atlantic City

Population: 38,466

This resort city on the New Jersey Atlantic coast is loved for its famous casinos, amazing beaches and iconic Boardwalk. The city was first established in the 1800s as a health resort and today it features high-rise hotels and the best nightlife scene in the country. Sadly, the city’s thriving gambling culture is tied to high crime rates. Atlantic City’s crime problem is partially caused by local gangs. The most common Atlantic City crimes are petty theft, drug dealing and property crimes. There were 323 violent crimes reported in 2019. Unlike other cities on our list, crime in Atlantic City is concentrated in the parts of the city with the most tourists and entertainment. So always remain alert in the city center. Crime rates remain relatively high in outlying areas as well. 

If you feel like a late-night casino experience in Atlantic City, it might be wise to stay in and play your favorite slots and live dealer casino games safely at the BetMGM online casino

5. Camden

Population: 71,773

Camden is home to the Walt Whitman House, the popular Adventure Aquarium and Battleship New Jersey. While you should definitely add these to your itinerary, prioritize your safety while you explore this city. 

Camden is not only the most dangerous city in New Jersey but is also considered one of the most dangerous places in the US. The crime rate here is four times higher than the national average. To worsen extremely high crime and murder rates, the local police force has suffered cuts and the city architecture continues to decay. Camden is one of the worst places to live in New Jersey, with 1,603 violent crimes reported in 2019. 

How to stay safe in New Jersey

Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t allow yourself to be distracted when you aren’t in a safe place. Avoid crime hotspots and don’t go out to explore cities late at night. Schedule most of your sightseeing and activities during the daytime. Don’t trust strangers and don’t share information about your plans and locations unless you have to. Respecting the people around you and how they do things will help you blend in. This way, you won’t stand out as a tourist or a potential victim.

Some safety precautions are simply common sense. Don’t travel with lots of cash or expensive items. Trust your gut. If you don’t feel safe somewhere, leave. Crime in New Jersey shouldn’t stop you from visiting the state and meeting new people. Not everyone you meet is out to rob you, scam you or harm you. You can have an amazing time in a city with a high crime rate if you remain cautious and alert. 

Bring the thrills of Jersey to your home with BetMGM

You can bring the endless entertainment of the best casinos to your home with BetMGM. Our mobile-friendly casino has thousands of slots to play from the best developers in the industry. For an authentic experience, join a live dealer game like blackjack or poker and meet our professional dealers. You never have to worry about safety on our platform. Our website is safe, secure and fully licensed. 

Register with us to start exploring and betting.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
About the Author


Read More

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.