Is Paterson, New Jersey Safe? Everything You Need To Know (Crime Rate And Crime Stats)


If you are thinking about visiting Paterson and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

We are going to deep dive into the statistics, look at some maps, graphs and talk to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe Paterson really is.

Is Paterson, New Jersey Safe To Visit?

Statistically speaking, Paterson is slightly unsafe place to visit. In 2020, Paterson had a violent crime rate of 897.13 per 100,000 people. It’s violent crime rate is 2.3x greater than the national average and its murder rate of 16.9 per 100,000 people is 2.6x greater than the national average

Here’s a scale to give you some perspective on Paterson’s violent crime rate:

paterson safety score

Paterson, NJ Crime Stats

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared to 2019:

2019

2020

Percent Change

Homicide

19

27

42%

Rape

54

50

-7%

Robbery

464

426

-8%

Aggravated Assault

682

930

36%

Burglary

847

566

-33%

Larceny/Theft

1,829

1,342

-27%

Motor Vehicle Theft

456

252

-45%

Arson

24

15

-38%

TOTALS

4,375

3,608

-18%

**All data is from the FBI UCR**

Paterson, NJ Crime Rates

Paterson’s Violent Crime Rate

In 2020 Paterson reported 1,433 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 897.13 per 100,000 people.

  • Paterson’s violent crime rate is 4.6x greater than the state average
  • Year over year violent crime has decreased by 18%.
  • It’s violent crime rate is on par with cities like Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Washington D.C.

Here’s a map showing you how violent crime has trended in Paterson over a 30 year period.

violent crimes in paterson new jersey

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Paterson’s Murder Rate

In 2020, Paterson reported 27 homicides and had a homicide rate of 16.9 per 100,000 people.

  • Paterson’s homicide rate is roughly 2.6x greater than the national average and 4.6x greater than the state average.
  • Paterson has a similar homicide rate to cities like Savannah, Dallas and Las Vegas.
  • Homicides are at the highest level in 30 years.
  • In 2021, Paterson reported 28 homicides, which broke 2020’s record.

Here’s a map showing you how homicides has trended in Paterson over a 30 year period.

homicides in paterson new jersey

Paterson’s Property Crime Rate

In 2020 Paterson reported 2,160 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 1,352.27 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. Paterson’s property crime rate is 31% less than the national average.
  • Paterson’s property crime rate is roughly 17% greater than the state average.
  • Year over year property crime in Paterson has decreased by 45%.
  • Paterson property crime rate is similar to Irvine, Santa Clara and Gilbert.
  • Property crime is near its lowest level in 30 years.

Here’s a map showing you how property crime has trended in Paterson over a 30 year period.

property crimes in paterson new jersey

*Property crimes include; burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson and property crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Paterson vs Other Cities In New Jersey

Here’s a graph showing you the violent crime rates of the 11 most populous cities in New Jersey. Paterson’s violent crime rate ranked 4th among all cities

violent crime rates of cities in new jersey

City

Population

Violent Crimes 2019

Violent Crime Rate 2019

Camden 74,002 1,159 1566.17

Trenton

83,412

937

1,123.34

Newark

281,054

2,520

896.62

Paterson

145,710

1,219

836.59

Elizabeth

128,333

926

721.56

Jersey City

261,940

1,393

531.80

Hoboken 53,193 79 148.51

Hamilton township

87,065

122

140.13

Clifton

85,204

95

111.50

Woodbridge

100,145

111

110.84

Edison

100,477

84

83.60

Toms River

91,785

72

78.44

Paterson, New Jersey vs The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Here’s a list of the top 19 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates. Paterson’s violent crime rate is 2.7x less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

most dangerous cities in the us vs paterson

City

Number of violent crimes in 2020

Violent Crime Rate 2020

Memphis

15,310

2,418.24

Detroit

14,370

2,248.44

St. Louis

6,017

1,995.17

Little Rock

3,657

1,805.11

South Bend

1,765

1,706.09

Cleveland

6,294

1,689.10

Camden 1,172 1,632.52

Milwaukee

9,407

1,629.70

Birmingham

3,166

1,577.22

Kansas City

7,919

1,558.58

Lansing

1,699

1,508.29

Springfield

2,545

1,504.35

Baltimore

8,552

1,404.20

San Bernardino

3,033

1,365.59

New Orleans

5,215

1,358.08

Albuquerque

7,552

1,337.68

Oakland

5,653

1,282.89

Stockton

4,023

1,254.04

Areas to avoid in Paterson

  • Fourth Ward
  • Barbour Park
  • Wrigley Park
  • Eastside High
  • Northside’ (West of the river)

Is Dowtown Paterson safe?

is downtown paterson safe

Downtown Paterson is generally safe to visit during the day time. At night the situation in downtown feel more sketchy as shops and businesses close down and people leave the area.

We recommend that you take extra precautions at night and to stay in well populated places, don’t stray off the beaten path and don’t walk by yourself at night.

Is the public transportation in Paterson safe?

The public transportation system in Paterson is handled by NJ Transit and it offers many routes that interweave throughout the entire city and into Manhattan. However, we do not recommend that you take NJ Transit late at night. There’s a lot less people around and it can get sketchy down there. Get a taxi or an Lyft instead.

What do residents of Paterson say about it’s safety?

  1. "There’s areas in Paterson that are regular neighborhoods and you could go in daylight, while there are other area you wouldn’t want to go without a police escort any time of day."
  2. "The whole 4th ward is known for the drugs and shootings"
  3. "Paterson isn’t as bad as people say it is, even thought crime statistics don’t paint a rosy picture."
  4. "Paterson’s reputation is so bad that West Paterson petitioned to have their town name changed to disassociate from Paterson."
  5. "Stay out of east side and north Paterson and you’ll be fine."
  6. "Paterson isn’t as horrible as Camden or Jersey City, but I still wouldn’t go there at night."
  7. "More than 90% of my alerts are for theft, shootings, and altercations in Paterson."

Is Paterson safe at night?

Paterson is not the safest place to visit at night and it definitely is not the type of city that you won’t to be lost in at night. Streets and squares that are perfectly safe to visit in the daytime can be questionable and sketchy at night.

Tips to stay safe while visiting Paterson, New Jersey

  • Research the area before you arrive and book your accommodations accordingly.
  • Always maintain situational awareness. Keep your head on a swivel and don’t get distracted by your phone.
  • Plan out your routes out beforehand. Know exactly how to get to your location and back.
  • Save the sight seeing for the day time. The city is not a safe place to wander willy nilly at night.
  • Don’t leave anything of value in your car.
  • Don’t walk by yourself at night, especially if you are a woman. You are less likely to be a victim of crime if you are in a group of people.
  • Don’t use the ATM at night in sketchy locations.
  • Make sure you gas tank is always full. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy neighborhood looking for a gas station late at night.

Quick Facts About Paterson, New Jersey

 

Paterson, New Jersey

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020

159,732

331,449,281

Population, Census, April 1, 2010

146,199

308,745,538

Persons under 5 years, percent

7.9%

6.0%

Persons under 18 years, percent

27.3%

22.3%

Persons 65 years and over, percent

11.3%

16.5%

Black or African American alone, percent

26.1%

13.4%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent

0.1%

1.3%

Asian alone, percent

4.6%

5.9%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent

0.0%

0.2%

Two or More Races, percent

3.8%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino, percent

60.8%

18.5%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent

8.5%

60.1%

Foreign born persons, percent, 2015-2019

40.6%

13.6%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019

$244,200.00

$217,500.00

Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019

$2,340.00

$1,595.00

Median gross rent, 2015-2019

$1,193.00

$1,062.00

Households with a broadband Internet subscription, percent, 2015-2019

69.0%

82.7%

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

74.8%

88.0%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

11.1%

32.1%

In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019

60.3%

63.0%

Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$41,360.00

$62,843.00

Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$18,949.00

$34,103.00

Persons in poverty, percent

26.6%

11.4%

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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