New Jersey’s Safest Cities of 2023

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The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.

New Jersey consistently boasts some of the lowest crime rates in the country, but New Jersey residents express the sixteenth-highest level of concern about their safety. Despite years of low crime rates, just 58% of residents say they feel safe in The Garden State. This report explores the contradiction in New Jersey’s perception of safety versus how safe the state really is.

In this report

2023 concern vs. experience with crime in New Jersey

The number of New Jerseyites who worry about their safey on a daily basis dipped 5% year over year, to 55%. But that still makes New Jersey more worried about safety than the rest of the US (50%). This is the second consecutive year that New Jersey came in above the national average for safety concern. 

Survey participants also reported increased personal experience with crime across the board—jumping year over year by 67% for package theft and 57% for violent crime. Property crime saw a rise of 50% between 2020 and 2021, and personal experience with gun violence rose 30%. 

Although we can't compare those self-reported crime experiences with crime rates in 2021, more people in New Jersey told us they think crime overall is declining—12% in 2021 versus 10% in 2020. But 7 in 10 respondents believe crime is on the rise, and just under 6 in 10 feel safe calling New Jersey home. 

Top crime concerns in New Jersey

We asked New Jersey residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if New Jersey residents are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in New Jersey: Fear vs. reality

Nearly 60% of New Jersey residents feel safe in their home state, which is 17% safer than most Americans feel and six points higher than last year. 

Despite a history of low violent crime rates statewide, New Jersey had the seventh-highest reports of personal experience with violent crime in 2021—rising from 14% in 2020 to 22% in 2021. People in New Jersey were also more likely than average to say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their personal safety.

  • 58% of people in New Jersey reported feeling safe in their state compared to 50% of Americans.
  • Experience with violent crime rose 57% year over year.
  • Robbery is the most-reported violent crime, making up 25% of all violent crime in The Garden State (US 19%).
  • 32% of survey participants report using some form of personal protection—lower than the US average (39%). 
  • Pepper spray is the most common form of personal protection used, with 56% saying they carry it—that's 14 points higher than the national average.
  • Pocket knives are the second most popular type of self-defense device, with 41% of those who use protection carrying them. Nationwide, pocket knives were the top personal protection device.
  • 45% of New Jerseyites increased their security and safety measures in 2021, compared to 35% across the US.

Attitudes about gun violence in New Jersey

  • 47% of New Jersey residents named gun violence as a top safety concern—down one point year over year and matching the US average.
  • 13% of survey participants reported experiencing gun violence in the 12 months prior to the survey, a 30% jump year over year (US 12%).
  • Mass shooting incidents fell by 36% year over year. New Jersey recorded 9 incidents in 2022, compared to 14 the year before.
  • Firearms are tied with security bars as the fourth most common form of property protection used (after security cameras, security systems, and guard animals), although the number of respondents using them increased by on point year over year (from 13% to 14%).
  • 34% of those who carry personal protection said they use concealed carry firearms for self defense, compared to 41% nationwide.
Line graph of violent and property crime rates over the past three years in the state compared to national crime rates per 1,000 residents for violent crime, property crime, package theft and gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in New Jersey: Fear vs. reality

People in New Jersey reported a significant jump in personal experience with property crime, although concern about property crime remained steady year over year. Residents were more likely than average to use a security system or security camera to protect their property, and 45% reported increasing security measures in 2021.

  • More New Jerseyans (24%) reported personal experiences with property crime this reporting year compared to the previous year (16%).
  • Burglary accounts for 13% of all property crimes in The Garden State, which is lower than the national rate of 16%.
  • 40% of participants reported experiencing package theft, making New Jersey the seventh-highest state for falling victim to package theft.
  • 81% of people in New Jersey use some form of property protection, compared to 76% nationwide.
  • The top form of property protection in New Jersey was security cameras with 44% of survey respondents using them. This is higher than the national average of 38%.
  • 29% of respondents say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the security of their property—a steep drop from 41% last year.

Image: SafeWise


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2022 New Jersey crime rates

New Jersey didn't provide enough data to the FBI this year so we're unable to update state crime rates. Here's the latest data available, from the 2022 reporting year:

New Jersey's violent crime rate dropped nearly 6% compared to last year—reporting 2.0 incidents per 1,000 people. The state also saw fewer property crimes with the property crime rate falling 13% from 13.3 per 1,000 people to 11.6.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, New Jersey bested the violent-crime regional average, with the lowest rate ahead of New York (3.6). It also beat New York  (14.1) for the lowest property crime rate in the region.

This is the second consecutive year that New Jersey was among states with the fifth-lowest rate in the nation for violent crime. The Garden state is the fourth-lowest in the nation when it comes to property crime.

For better crime reporting in New Jersey in the future, we recommend telling local lawmakers and law enforcement agencies that this information matters to you.

Bar chart of violent and property crime rates per 1,000 people where the national average is 4.0 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 19.6 property crimes per 1,000 people.

Image: SafeWise

View the complete 2022 State of Safety report.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.


Related articles on SafeWise


Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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