Study: Safest Cities in New Jersey 2016

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New Jersey may be small in size, but it packs a big wallop in terms of overall livability. Great schools and a higher median income are part of the equation for attracting residents to the Garden State, while another big plus is the fact it’s home to a high number of safe cities.

Safest Cities in New Jersey 2016
Safest Cities in New Jersey 2016 © CreditDonkey

Those cities are continuing to be very safe. Crime has been on the decline in the Garden State in recent years, and it’s well below the national average. According to FBI Uniform Crime Report data, violent crime decreased by 9.6% between 2013 and 2014. Over that same period, property crimes declined by 7.5%.

Determining which of New Jersey’s cities are the safest is no easy task, but we love a challenge. Check out our guide to the top 50 New Jersey cities where crime is lowest to see if your hometown made the list, or compare locations if you’re planning a move here.

Study Methodology

One of the predictors of crime is the size of a city. The smaller it is, the lower crime is likely to be. For our study, we decided to focus on those New Jersey cities with a population of 10,000 residents or more.

Next, we took a look at FBI Crime Report data for 2014 to determine the violent and property crime rates for each city. In the violent crime category, we looked at the number of murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults reported for the year. For property crimes, burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, and arsons were included in our search.

To come up with the 50 safest cities, we used four key indicators:

  • Number of violent crimes per 1,000 residents
  • Number of robberies per 1,000 residents*
  • Number of property crimes per 1,000 residents
  • Number of burglaries per 1,000 residents*

* In addition to looking at the overall crime rates, we gave special attention to robbery and burglary, which tend to occur more frequently. When trying to gauge the overall safety of a neighborhood, the robbery and burglary rates are a good way to measure how secure you’ll feel living there.

Using these four criteria, each city was assigned a CreditDonkey safety score. The 50 cities that rose to the top as the safest in New Jersey are listed according to their score. A lower safety score rating translated to a higher ranking in our study.

Safest Cities 2016: Rankings

50. Madison

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 8.0
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.366

The borough of Madison represents small-town living at its best. Life really is rosy in the Rose City. In 2015, this affluent community ranked 24th on Livability’s list of the Top 100 Best Small Towns. Aside from the low crime rate, some of the other things that add to its appeal include top-rated schools, diverse cultural attractions, and a quaint downtown.

49. Cranford Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 7.3
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.5
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.299

Cranford Township has a reputation for being one of the safest cities in the larger Union County area, and it’s largely due to the efforts of local law enforcement. The Cranford Police Crime Prevention Unit has developed multiple programs to combat everything from identity theft to burglary. Those initiatives have paid off, with just three robberies and 36 burglaries reported in 2014.

48. Wanaque

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.9
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.3
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.3
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.267

Tucked away in Passaic County, the borough of Wanaque is a near-perfect spot to put down roots if you love the great outdoors. The nearby Monksville Reservoir is great for fishing, but if you’d prefer a hike, you can explore the trails of the nearby Ramapo Mountain State Forest. The sense of safety that goes along with living in a town where robbery and burglary are rarities is just the icing on the cake.

47. Mount Olive Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 7.5
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.0
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.258

The Mount Olive Police Department works hard to keep crime at bay in this city of nearly 29,000 residents. There were just 13 violent crimes reported for all of 2014, with only one robbery on record. In an effort to keep residents connected, the city sponsors a number of recreational programs throughout the year. There’s also plenty of fun to be had at Budd Lake, the largest natural lake in the state.

46. Fort Lee

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 7.1
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.4
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.250

Fort Lee offers convenient access to New York City while still maintaining its own identity as a thriving community. More than 36,000 people call the area home, and affordable housing, paired with culturally diverse neighborhoods, are what keep newcomers flooding in. The low crime rate is another perk, and one that can be chalked up to the Fort Lee Police Department’s community policing approach.

45. Ridgewood

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.247

The village of Ridgewood is a bustling suburb of around 25,000 people located about 20 miles northwest of Manhattan. The city is a great location for commuters who work in the Big Apple, but it’s also attractive for families who are searching for safe neighborhoods and good schools. Housing prices climb slightly higher than other cities on our list, but residents also earn bigger paychecks here, bringing in a median annual income of $141,000.

44. Clark Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 8.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.221

If you’re looking to settle down in a city where both violent and property crimes are practically nonexistent, Clark Township is the place to be. The city reported just four violent crimes for all of 2014, with zero murders and zero robberies taking place. On the property crime side, the number of incidents reported was higher, but only one burglary made the books.

43. Little Ferry

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 1.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.2
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.163

Situated less than 15 miles northwest of NYC, Little Ferry is an idyllic suburban escape for folks who are seeking the quiet life. Even though it’s on the smaller side, there’s still plenty to see and do here, and residents enjoy it all in a secure environment. The Little Ferry Police Department is committed to keeping its citizens safe, a fact that’s evident in the low crime rate.

42. Morris Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.3
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.145

Morris Township is a well-to-do city, located about 25 miles west of Newark, where residents enjoy all of the amenities of a larger city without the usually higher crime rate. One way the local police department works to keep those who live here safe is through the use of Nixle Alerts, which allows for real-time communication when a crime alert is issued.

41. Raritan Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.0
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.130

The township of Raritan is a peaceful community approximately 30 miles northwest of Trenton and 60 miles northeast of Philadelphia. Crime is something that residents don’t have to worry too much about, thanks to the Raritan Township Police Department. In 2014, the city reported only two robberies and 23 burglaries.

40. Montville Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.100

As far as safe, close-knit communities go, Montville Township is a stand-out for its low crime rate and high degree of livability. The city has a rich history, but it’s also very forward-thinking, with the local police department equipped with the latest technology to protect its citizens. To support the city’s ability to reduce crime, the Community Policing Unit sponsors a number of programs designed to bridge any gap between police and residents.

39. Randolph Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.073

Once a popular summer resort spot, Randolph Township has evolved into a vibrant city that’s particularly well-suited to raising a family. The city features excellent schools, an abundance of outdoor space, and a variety of recreational programs, all of which are a hit among local families. In terms of crime, the city has an excellent safety rating, with just three robberies and 25 burglaries reported in 2014.

38. Tenafly

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.3
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.031

Just across the Hudson River from Yonkers is the borough of Tenafly, a small city of just under 15,000 people. Quite a few retirees make their home here, but there’s also a healthy population of families and younger workers who commute to New York. On the safety front, Tenafly ranks well, especially in terms of violent crime, with just one robbery and no murders in 2014.

37. Denville Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.3
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.025

Nicknamed “The Hub of Morris County” because of its central location, Denville Township is a low-key place to put down roots. With 11 named bodies of water located within the city limits, it’s a great choice if you’re on the hunt for a home with a lakefront view. The local police department maintains a high degree of visibility to keep residents feeling safe.

36. Palisades Park

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.7
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.2
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.3
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.9
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.014

Palisades Park sits between Fort Lee and Ridgefield, making it a prime location for commuters who work in Manhattan. The city boasts a population of just over 20,000 people, but it’s growing at a fast clip, outpacing the national average. That influx of new faces hasn’t resulted in an uptick in crime, however, and both violent and property crime remain low.

35. Hopatcong

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.4
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 2.004

Even though it’s one of the smaller cities in our rankings, Hopatcong still manages to outshine some of New Jersey’s other locations. Good schools, vibrant neighborhoods, and housing costs that don’t break the bank are just a few of its positive attributes. Residents earn a healthy income here, taking home a median salary of $85,000. Crime-wise, the city reported one robbery and 17 burglaries for 2014, which is another point in its favor.

34. Marlboro Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.5
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.0
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.964

With a population of over 40,000, Marlboro Township is one of the largest cities in our rankings. That doesn’t mean, however, that it suffers from big-city crime rates. The Marlboro Township Police Department facilitates several programs designed to keep crime down, including the Explorer Program, which connects teens and young adults with law enforcement in a mentoring setting.

33. Kinnelon

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.4
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.8
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.940

Kinnelon is an example of suburban living at its best. The city features cozy neighborhoods, lots of walking and hiking trails, shops and restaurants all set against a safe, secure backdrop. For 2014, there were fewer than 20 burglaries reported and just five violent crimes, only one of which involved robbery.

32. Manalapan Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.2
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.3
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.934

Manalapan Township is another fast-growing community, with a population that tops 40,000 and growing. The rarity of crime is one of the things that draws in new residents, who mostly fall within a higher-earning crowd. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the median household income at nearly $111,000 annually.

31. Franklin Lakes

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.6
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.2
  • Property crime per 1,000: 6.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.918

Nature takes center stage in the borough of Franklin Lakes, and there are a variety of ways to enjoy the great outdoors. A strong economy also boosts its popularity, and residents earn an impressive median income of $153,000 per year. While homes are a little pricier, the odds of being burglarized are relatively slim. There were only eight burglaries on record for 2014.

30. Cedar Grove Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.5
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.880

Ranked as one of Essex County’s best places to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine, Cedar Grove Township gets our seal of approval where safety is concerned. It’s one of only a handful of cities in our rankings to report zero robberies in 2014. In all, the city reported just two violent crimes for the entire year.

29. River Edge

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.5
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.879

As one of the more affluent cities in our rankings, River Edge is certainly worth a look if you’re in search of a new place to settle down. With its close proximity to Manhattan, the city is a choice spot for commuters as well as families who want to stay close to the New York metro area but don’t want to pay higher prices for housing. Like Cedar Grove, River Edge had zero robbery reports for 2014. The number of burglaries that year totaled 17.

28. Hopewell Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.3
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.5
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.819

Hopewell Township is perhaps best known as the setting for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware from Pennsylvania in 1776. This upscale suburban city features a higher cost of living versus the state and national average, but residents are willing to pay the added expense to live in a safer setting.

27. Colts Neck Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.810

Roughly 48 miles from both Trenton and New York City, Colts Neck has established itself as an optimal location for commuting professionals who travel in either direction. Home values are among some of the highest in our rankings, but residents are well-equipped to cope, earning a median annual income of $134,000. Homeowners have little to fear in the way of crime, with only 11 burglaries reported in 2014.

26. Florence Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.9
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.3
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.773

Florence Township sits adjacent to the Delaware River, roughly 35 miles northeast of Philadelphia. The local police department operates several programs to keep a lid on crime, including Operation Reassurance, which allows seniors living alone to schedule daily safety checks. These and other efforts are obviously working, considering that there were eleven violent crimes and 52 property crimes reported citywide in 2014.

25. Glen Rock

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.3
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.8
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.721

Located about 23 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, Glen Rock scores high praise for its diverse neighborhoods and overall walkability. Home prices are on the rise as more families move into the area, drawn by its homey vibe and excellent schools. The city’s safety is another major attraction, with only three robberies and nine burglaries reported for 2014.

24. Bernards Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.677

With close to 27,000 residents, Bernards Township is one of the larger cities in our rankings, but it still manages to evoke a small-town feel. That may be due to the fact that crime rates are exceptionally low, with the number of violent crimes totaling just six in 2014. All in all, it’s a solid pick if you’re looking for a safe haven to start a business or raise a family.

23. Montgomery Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 1.0
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.1
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.630

Montgomery Township welcomes newcomers with open arms. Once you’ve paid a visit, it’s easy to see why it’s a hit among residents. With nearly 23,000 citizens to keep an eye on, the Montgomery Police Department has its hands full, but it does a great job of keeping crime to a minimum. When you’re spending time away from home, you can rest assured that your property is safe thanks to the department’s Vacation Check program.

Montgomery’s philosophy of policing is predicated on visibility ,proactivity, and customer service.

Our police officers actively patrol all neighborhoods and are very visible to the general public. The mere fact that they can be seen acts as a deterrent to those individuals who might have criminal intent.

We also are very proactive in our policing, identifying trends in activities that might affect the quality of life, maintaining daily communication with our school system and communicating information to our residents through our website, e-bulletins and Nixle.

Lastly, customer service, our police officers are imbued with the concept of service, they are friendly and approachable. Our goal is to educate the public to gain enforcement not always writing a traffic ticket.
Donato Nieman, Township Administrator, Montgomery Township

22. Hillsborough Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.9
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.626

Nearly 40,000 people live in the township of Hillsborough, and they’re more than willing to sing its praises. Named the 16th Best Place to Live by Money magazine in 2013, the city features plenty of green spaces to explore as well as a bustling town center that’s ideal for an afternoon stroll. It scored a higher spot in our rankings thanks to a low occurrence of both violent and property crimes.

Did you know:

  • The Hillsborough Police Department utilizes its resources in a manner that effectively facilitates a proactive approach to policing. The Department takes advantage of various grants available to supplement traffic enforcement efforts. The cooperation the Police Department gets from the community and other township departments facilitates a team approach regarding service to our community.
  • Our Parks and Recreation Department has created numerous opportunities for our youth to participate in organized recreational activities keeping our youth focused on positive experiences. Mountain View Park: This large new 350 acre park will bring many recreational activities to one location. The park will be a main place for youths and parents to be involved in recreational activities at one location instead of being separated to smaller development parks.
  • The Township Committee authorizes Capital Improvement dollars each year to replace sidewalk sections that are broken & unlevel to make pedestrian sidewalk use safer. In addition, we are adding new sidewalks such as on Triangle Road for better pedestrian access to shopping centers, etc. The Township plans on replacing old deteriorated guide rails along roadways.
  • This spring, the Hillsborough Township Board of Education will finalize a draft of a Strategic Plan that will guide the school district forward through the next five years. This document is the culmination of an extensive community-wide process that involved parents, staff, board members, community members, students and local business owners. In the Strategic Planning document, the Board of Education will determine which common themes and ideas will have the greatest impact on the education of students in Hillsborough Township. This plan will also include a timeline towards achieving the goals that are agreed upon by the Board of Education members.
  • The Hillsborough/Millstone Municipal Alliance envisions having our local community understand that alcohol use and abuse is a chronic condition that can be successfully prevented and treated. This will create an environment that promotes and protects the mental, social and physical health of community members.
  • The mission of the Hillsborough/Millstone Municipal Alliance is to change lives by empowering our communities to combat substance abuse and its related problems at home, school and work with proven, practical resources; prevention education and advocacy.
  • Hillsborough has experienced a statistically significant number of confirmed suicides over the last 15 years. Hillsborough Township Public Schools actively educates students about suicide in an age-appropriate manner, but the issue is broader than our schools. We must bring education and awareness to the community at large. BoroSAFE's (Suicide Awareness For Everyone) goal is to raise community awareness that suicide is preventable and resources are available.

Anthony Ferrera, Administrator, Hillsborough Township

21. Plainsboro Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.9
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.601

Plainsboro Township is a family-oriented community just east of Princeton that serves up a mix of historic charm and modern innovation. Families prefer it because of the heavy emphasis on education and the wide variety of housing. The city is home to several parks as well as the New Jersey Audubon’s Plainsboro Reserve, offering a number of safe places to enjoy nature at its finest.

Why is Plainsboro a safe community? Anthony Cancro, City Manager of Plainsboro was kind enough to connect us with Guy Armour, their police chief and a 22 year veteran of the police department.

  • Plainsboro’s bicycle patrols are increasing our visibility and communication with our citizens.
  • Plainsboro’s pro-active police patrols increase our presence on area roadways and throughout the community.
  • Consistent monitoring of crime and traffic related issues on a monthly basis, placing our patrol emphasis on issues directly relating to crime and traffic trends.
  • Bi-annual community interaction meetings where citizen’s community concerns are addressed.
  • School safety and security meetings held annually to address school safety concerns and implementation of revised plans if necessary.
  • We are purchasing: Body-worn cameras, license plate automatic readers, and video recording for in car police use.

Guy Armour, Police Chief, Plainsboro Township

20. Ringwood

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.595

If you’re in search of a home base with mountain views, you’ll want to check out Ringwood. The city is nestled in the Ramapo Mountains, making it so you can count on plenty of snow once winter settles in. In the warmer months, you’ll want to head to Norvin Green State Forest to stretch your legs. Wherever you go, crime isn’t likely to be a central concern.

19. Wyckoff Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 5.1
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.587

The township of Wyckoff, which sits slightly northwest of Ridgewood and Glen Rock, has the edge over both when it comes to safety. The violent crime total came to just two incidents for 2014, both of which were robberies. Of the 86 property crimes reported, 18 were burglaries.

18. Verona

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.579

Rated as one of the top places to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly, Verona is primarily a residential community, although it does have a burgeoning commercial area. Families will find there’s a lot to like about living here, as do seniors who make up a fair percentage of the population. The Verona Police Department works to keeps residents of all ages safe, and based on the reported number of crimes in 2014, they seem to be doing a good job.

17. Warren Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.529

Warren Township is Bernards’ neighbor to the south, and it’s got all the charm you’d expected with a smaller town. It’s also a winner for safety, with only four violent crimes and 73 property crimes reported in 2014. That may be one reason why the city’s population has been on a serious upswing in recent years, jumping by 4.2% between 2010 and 2014.

Did you know:

We will be upgrading our 911 system to include text to 911 software, upgrading computer equipment in the patrol vehicles, a plate reader and other equipment upgrades. The department in 2016 will begin participating in the Blue Angel Program in order to provide additional services to the elderly and disabled residents.

The Police Department has an authorized strength of 30 officers and 5 dispatchers. Unlike other area communities we have our own emergency dispatch. and do not use regional services.

The township has its own detective Bureau but works closely with the Somerset County prosecutor’s office. We also have our own traffic safety bureau.
Mark Krane, Administrator, Warren

16. Ridgefield

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.485

Ridgefield ties with three other cities in our rankings for the lowest violent crime rate. In 2014, there was just one such crime reported (an aggravated assault). Property crimes are also low and reports of burglaries totaled 14 for the year. That’s a good sign for homeowners who are concerned about keeping their property secure.

15. Monroe Township (Middlesex County)

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.482

With more than 42,000 residents, Monroe Township is the largest city to make our rankings, but that’s not the only thing that sets it apart. As of 2014, nearly 35% of the population was over the age of 65, giving it one of the highest concentrations of retirees on our list. That may be a contributing factor to its lower crime rate. In terms of per capita crime, it ranks among the best cities in Middlesex County.

Did you know:

The zoning and make-up of our town contributes to our overall safety record. The planning of ten (10) gated active adult communities and the small percentage of commercial and retail stores are major factors.

We are in the process of establishing a Safe Exchange Place in a parking spot in front of Police headquarters that is under 24-hour video surveillance and signed accordingly. This allows residents to conduct sales transactions generated from e-bay or craig’s list in a safe location without inviting strangers to come to the home.
Wayne Hamilton, Business Administrator, Monroe Township

14. Woolwich Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.1
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.475

Head southwest out of Philadelphia and eventually you’ll come to the township of Woolwich. Although it’s still relatively small, the city has seen an explosion of new residents in recent years, with the population increasing by 15.5% from 2010 to 2014. Families, in particular, are moving into the area in high numbers thanks to the city’s rapid economic development and safe neighborhoods.

13. New Milford

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.0
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.471

New Milford sits adjacent to River Edge and although it has roughly 5,000 more residents than its neighbor, it managed to snag a higher safety rating in our study. Only two violent crimes were reported in 2014, with one of those being a robbery. There were 17 cases of burglary and fewer than 80 property crimes reported altogether.

12. Branchburg Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.5
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.457

Branchburg Township has been described as being somewhere in the middle between rural and suburban, but for the 15,000 or so people who live here, it’s simply “home.” There are major companies located here along with smaller, local businesses as well as places to shop, places to eat, and places to play. The best part is, no matter where you are, your odds of encountering crime are low.

11. West Caldwell Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.5
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.421

Family comes first in West Caldwell, and that’s evident in the abundance of recreational and educational programs that are offered to all of its residents. Over the years, the landscape of the city has changed, but one thing remains the same—crime is something you don’t hear a lot about. In 2014, West Caldwell reported just one robbery and five burglaries, earning it one of the best ratings for property crimes on our list.

10. Dumont

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.6
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.415

Compared to neighboring cities like Tenafly and New Milford, Dumont is one of Bergen County’s most budget-friendly spots for homebuyers. The median home value is around $365,000 and the median household income is just over $91,000. The low crime rate helped to propel it into the top 10, with one robbery and 10 burglaries reported in 2014.

9. Hasbrouck Heights

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5.
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.2
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.407

Hasbrouck Heights ties with just one other city on our list for the lowest number of burglaries reported. The grand total for 2014 came to just three incidents, which is one more than the number of robberies reported. At less than 16 miles from Manhattan, it’s certainly worth a look for commuters who want a safe place to come home to at night.

8. Clinton Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.6
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.9
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.395

Clinton Township has a decidedly old-fashioned feel, and both family and safety are highly prized by residents. This picturesque city is a home run where crime is concerned, with zero robberies and 12 burglaries reported for 2014. Fishing and camping at the Round Valley Reservoir is a favorite pastime, but if you’re looking for another safe way to spend your time, you can always get your hands dirty at the township’s community garden.

Did you know:

Clinton Township received a grant for body cameras, and expect to get those operational this year. We also have a partnership with the Federal DEA, which allows our officers to work directly with the DEA, learning about drug enforcement and prevention, and this partnership also supplies us with funds which allow us to stay current with the latest needed technology.
Marvin Joss, QPA, CTA, Township Administrator, Clinton Township

7. Mahwah Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.3
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.7
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.3
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.340

One of the things Mahwah prides itself on is having more open space than any other town in Bergen County. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you have access to more than 5,000 acres of state and county parkland that are great for hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, and snowboarding. Whichever way you choose to spend your free time, you can enjoy it with confidence about your safety.

6. Bergenfield

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.2
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.4
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.308

If you have kids, Bergenfield is one place you might want to consider calling home. Ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as the second best place to raise kids in New Jersey, it gets high marks for housing costs, median income, the quality of its schools, and its low crime rate. Only 11 violent crimes were reported in 2014, which is impressive for a city of more than 27,000 people.

Great things are happening at Bergenfield.

There is a community effort that drives the result.

It starts with the Mayor & Council stressing the importance of being responsive to the residents. That message has been disseminated by me and carried forward by all Borough employees. This in turn, creates a positive experience for residents when they interact with officials and subsequently builds a level of trust within the community.

For example, the Police department has created many great outreach programs with all of the civic, and religious organizations involved in order to bring community awareness. The Police department also hosts its own Jr. Police Academy and supports DARE efforts through the school’s and the Municipal Alliance program.

Another great example of community outreach occurs each year, through the Recreation program. The M&C sponsor through the Recreation Department Family Fun Day. This all day event is free to all residents of Bergenfield. This event has free cotton candy and popcorn, face painting along with a host of activities that include inflatable slides and rides. The event concludes in the evening with a great fireworks display. In addition, during the Holiday season, the DPW employees in concert with the Recreation Department host Holiday in the Park. At this event, children line up and meet Santa and are provided a small toy free of charge. Along with this, there is free popcorn, hot chocolate, hot pretzels and hotdogs.

Once again, activities like the ones referenced are just a sample of the great things taking place in Bergenfield and collectively, help create a sense of pride in the community for the residents of Bergenfield. I believe it is the total effort that is described that makes this community one of the safest places to live.
Corey Gallo, Borough Administrator, Bergenfield

5. Sparta Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.5
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 4.1
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.6
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.290

The township of Sparta sits along Lake Mohawk, and the boardwalk is a popular place to connect with old friends and make new ones. Although it was once primarily a destination for summer tourists, it’s evolved into a prosperous city of around 20,000 full-time residents, who enjoy some of the lowest crime rates in the state.

4. Chatham Township

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.1
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 3.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 1.0
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.239

About 16 miles west of Newark and 31 miles west of Manhattan, Chatham is a favorable choice for professionals who don’t mind a slightly longer commute. If you prefer to work someplace closer to home, the local economy has a lot to offer in terms of job opportunities. Owning a home will cost you more here, but there’s a good chance you’ll also be earning more, since the median household income tops $135,000.

3. Hillsdale

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.2
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 3.9
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.7
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.192

Places like the Stony Brook Swim Club and Beechwood Park make Hillsdale a magnet for families with young kids, but retirees like it here just fine too. The crime rate is one of the reasons why. Both the violent and property crime rates are miniscule. In 2014, there were zero robberies and seven burglaries reported.

Our police force’s leadership has a forward thinking mentality.

We have introduced pedestrian safety programs, as well as new signage that lights up when a pedestrian wants to cross at a cross walk. We also conduct traffic safety programs, such as DWI enforcement, Click it or Ticket, Project Crash, which is a drunk driver program targeting high school seniors around prom season, etc.

Our officers are motivated under new leadership who believe in community policing (National Night Out, Child Abduction Program, etc), as well as the belief that a well-trained officer knows what to look for in these volatile times. They have been focusing on active shooter exercises both in the classroom and practically. The department is also working with local emergency services and is currently working with surrounding agencies in response to these types of threats (active shooter).
Chief Robert Francaviglia, MAS, Borough of Hillsdale Police Department

2. Westwood

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.1
  • Property crime per 1,000: 3.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.3
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 1.146

Westwood is about 20 miles northwest of Manhattan, offering convenient access to New York without the added headaches of living in a bigger city. A little over 11,000 people live in the area and new residents are moving in all the time, and the Westwood Police Department is tasked with keeping them safe. The result is an incredibly low crime rate.

1. Washington Township (Morris County)

  • Violent crime per 1,000: 0.4
  • Robbery per 1,000: 0.0
  • Property crime per 1,000: 1.8
  • Burglary per 1,000: 0.2
  • CreditDonkey safety score: 0.586

There are several townships in New Jersey named Washington, but only one made it to the top of our list. Morris County’s Washington Township earned the number ranking overall, with the lowest property crime rate of any city in our study. Only 33 property crimes were reported in 2014, including seven burglaries. Seven violent crimes were reported, none of which involved robbery.

Conclusion

If there was a specific city that didn’t make our rankings, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a safe place. Some cities, however, don’t report their crime data to the FBI, which could be a reason why you’re not seeing your city here.

No matter where you live, taking a proactive approach is the best way to avoid becoming the victim of a serious crime. For example, by understanding what would make a burglar single you out, you can be sure you’re safeguarding your home and loved ones.

The Top 50 Safest Cities in New Jersey

RankCityPopulationTotal # of Violent Crimes1Total # of Property Crimes2Violent Crime Per 1,000Robbery Per 1,000Property Crime Per 1,000Burglary Per 1,000
1Washington Township18,7877330.40.01.80.2
2Westwood11,1295420.40.13.80.3
3Hillsdale10,4872410.20.03.90.7
4Chatham Township10,6981410.10.03.81.0
5Sparta Township19,3739790.50.04.10.6
6Bergenfield27,326111160.40.14.20.4
7Mahwah Township26,50271240.30.14.70.3
8Clinton Township13,2571610.10.04.60.9
9Hasbrouck Heights12,0836570.50.24.70.2
10Dumont17,8488820.40.14.60.6
11West Caldwell Township10,9115510.50.14.70.5
12Branchburg Township14,5813650.20.04.51.2
13New Milford16,6502780.10.14.71.0
14Woolwich Township11,5232530.20.04.61.1
15Monroe Township42,333102080.20.04.90.7
16Ridgefield11,2771520.10.04.61.2
17Warren Township16,0214730.20.14.61.2
18Verona13,7714650.30.14.71.2
19Wyckoff Township17,0112860.10.15.11.1
20Ringwood12,3795600.40.04.81.1
21Plainsboro Township23,42361220.30.05.20.9
22Hillsborough Township39,522132060.30.05.20.9
23Montgomery Township22,54721160.10.05.11.2
24Bernards Township26,98061410.20.05.21.2
25Glen Rock11,9123670.30.35.60.8
26Florence Township12,40911520.90.34.21.7
27Colts Neck Township10,0843590.30.05.91.1
28Hopewell Township18,4169970.50.15.31.5
29River Edge11,5732680.20.05.91.5
30Cedar Grove Township12,5012730.20.05.81.5
31Franklin Lakes10,8166670.60.26.20.7
32Manalapan Township40,063152370.40.25.91.3
33Kinnelon10,4365560.50.15.41.8
34Marlboro Township40,351122630.30.06.51.0
35Hopatcong14,7246940.40.16.41.2
36Palisades Park20,482141090.70.25.31.9
37Denville Township16,91791070.50.16.31.1
38Tenafly14,7731930.10.16.31.7
39Randolph Township26,05571810.30.16.91.0
40Montville Township21,901101450.50.16.61.2
41Raritan Township22,068111520.50.16.91.0
42Morris Township22,614111520.50.16.71.3
43Little Ferry10,86316631.50.25.81.2
44Clark Township15,30841310.30.08.60.1
45Ridgewood25,48261770.20.16.91.7
46Fort Lee36,226172560.50.17.11.4
47Mount Olive Township28,891132180.40.07.51.0
48Wanaque11,24610740.90.36.61.3
49Cranford Township23,48851720.20.17.31.5
50Madison16,38041310.20.18.01.2

1Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
2Property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a home security comparison and financial education website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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