This City Has Been Named the Most Dangerous City to live in New Jersey

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Written By Ryan Johnson






New Jersey is a state full of attractions like the Jersey Shore, the Statue of Liberty, and the Pine Barrens. However, it’s also home to some of the most dangerous cities in the country, according to the latest FBI data. Among these cities, one stands out as the most violent: Wildwood.

Why is Wildwood So Dangerous?

Wildwood is a small town of about 5,000 people in Cape May County, at the southern tip of New Jersey. It’s famous for its beach, boardwalk, and amusement parks, which draw millions of tourists each year. But behind the fun and sun, there’s a darker side to this town.

In 2020, the FBI reported that Wildwood had 7,437 crimes, including 713 violent crimes and 6,724 property crimes. This means a violent crime rate of 13.7 per 100 residents and a property crime rate of 129.5 per 100 residents, much higher than the state averages of 2.1 and 14.6, respectively.

When compared to similar towns, Wildwood is the most violent in New Jersey. For example, Salem, with a population of 4,931, had a violent crime rate of 41.8 per 100 residents and a property crime rate of 68.8. Penns Grove, with 4,899 people, had a violent crime rate of 36.7 and a property crime rate of 54.6 per 100 residents.

What Causes Wildwood’s Crime Problem?

Several factors contribute to Wildwood’s high crime rates, including poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, gang activity, and lack of education. In 2019, Wildwood had a poverty rate of 28.9%, compared to the state average of 9.2%. In 2020, its unemployment rate was 11.9%, while the state average was 7.8%. Also, only 77.4% of Wildwood residents graduated high school in 2019, compared to 90.9% statewide.

What Are the Consequences?

The high crime rates in Wildwood affect not only the residents but also visitors and businesses. Residents face constant threats of violence, theft, and vandalism, which harm their quality of life, health, and safety. Visitors, who come to enjoy the attractions, may also fall victim to crimes, damaging the town’s reputation and tourism industry. Businesses that rely on tourist revenue may suffer losses, closures, and lawsuits, hurting the town’s economy and employment rates.

How Can Wildwood Improve?

While there’s no easy solution, several steps could help reduce crime in Wildwood:

  1. Increase Police Presence: Boosting police numbers and resources, especially during peak tourist season, can deter crime.
  2. Community Policing: Implementing programs to build trust between police and residents can help address the root causes of crime.
  3. Social Services: Offering more support in education, healthcare, housing, and employment can help vulnerable groups.
  4. Youth Programs: Promoting sports, arts, and mentoring can keep young people away from drugs and gangs.
  5. Enhanced Security: Installing cameras, alarms, and locks can protect properties from theft and vandalism.


Wildwood has great potential but also significant challenges. It’s the most violent town in New Jersey and one of the most dangerous in the country. The crime problem’s causes and consequences are complex and require a comprehensive and cooperative effort to solve. By working together, residents, visitors, businesses, and authorities can make Wildwood a safer and better place for everyone.

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