View of Newark from the Passaic River

Is Newark Safe? (Honest Advice for 2023)

When planning a trip to Newark, you may wonder — is Newark safe?

It’s a valid concern as you want you and your loved ones to be safe when you travel.

I’ve called the Garden State my home for over 30 years, part of it as a resident of Newark. I can honestly say that the city is moderately safe for travel, depending on where you stay in Newark and the precautions you take. 

In this article, I’ll go over my honest advice about safety in Newark, as well as my top tips for your visit.

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Is Newark Safe?

When planning a visit to Newark, one of the most common questions is if it’s safe. In general, Newark is somewhat safe to travel to and visit.

Newark is an urban area that, despite its great attractions, has unfortunately garnered a bad reputation. Crime rates are higher than the national average, especially in residential areas. 

Aerial view of Newark in New Jersey

However, if you stay in populated, tourist areas such as Downtown Newark, you’re less likely to be a victim of violence or any crime. Still, it’s important to stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings.

Things to Know About Safety in Newark

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in Newark

The Branch Brook Park under the clear blue sky

Newark is decently safe for tourists as long as you stay in the more populated areas where tourists frequent. These include areas such as Downtown, and by the Newark Liberty International Airport. 

Downtown Newark in particular has an almost constant police presence. This is especially true near main attractions such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Prudential Center. Both of these locales are great things to do in Newark as well! Newark Airport is another safe area, known for its tight security.

For your safety, it’s best to avoid residential areas, as well as traveling alone anywhere after dark. 

Before you visit, check out where to stay in Newark for some great ideas on the best hotels and areas to stay in Newark.

Covid-19 Safety in Newark

Newark has a large population. Many people live in close quarters in apartment buildings. Because of this, at the height of the pandemic, there was a rapid spread of Covid-19 within the community. With the introduction of vaccines, however, things improved. Strict cleaning protocols also helped, and are still in effect city-wide.

As of March 2nd, 2022, the mask mandate, as well as the requirement to show proof of vaccination was lifted. Masks and social distancing are still strongly recommended for those exhibiting symptoms.

For more information on local requirements and Covid 19 safety protocols, visit the Newark Covid-19 Help Portal. It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with the latest recommendations from the CDC

For the latest stats on how New Jersey is doing with Covid, see the below widget from Covid Act Now. It automatically updates to give you the most accurate information. 

Crime in Newark

Crime rates in Newark are unfortunately not the best. According to the crime stats on CrimeGrades, Newark is in the 10th percentile for crime. This means that 90% of New Jersey cities are safer, and 10% are more dangerous.

However, you’re more likely to become the victim of crime, especially violent crime, in the residential south ward of Newark. The north ward is considered the safest of the residential areas. Still, it’s a good idea to avoid residential areas and stick to areas that tourists frequent. 

You can avoid being the victim of a crime if you take certain precautions, such as not traveling alone, and being aware of your surroundings.

Common Scams in Newark 

The scam risk is fairly high in Newark. Common scams that you’ll find frequently involve the theft of personal property.

  • Car Theft – Thieves often pose as either people needing assistance or begging for change at a traffic light. They then threaten and demand you get out of the car. To avoid becoming a victim, keep your car windows closed and doors locked. This is important especially if you plan on being stopped for an extended period of time.
  • Pickpockets – This is a common scam in many tourist areas, Newark or otherwise. Pickpockets will bump up against you, or stand very close to you in crowded areas. To avoid becoming a victim, keep your belongings like wallets and phones as close to you as possible. In fact, aim to keep them in front of you if possible. Crossbody bags worn to the front are great options when traveling out and about.
  • Mugging – When it comes to mugging, you can reduce risk by traveling in populated areas and wearing crossbody bags. 

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters

View of cherry blossoms in a street in New Jersey
Branch Brook Park (photo: George Wirt / Shutterstock)

Because of Newark’s urban location, serious natural disasters aren’t common here. Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 was the exception and an anomaly. In general, however, the natural disasters risk in Newark is minimal. 

The worst in terms of weather are thunderstorms and heavy rain in the summer. In the winter, you’ll find dangerously icy conditions and black ice. These occur especially after a significant snowfall. The City of Newark is quick to clean main roads, but sidestreets don’t receive much attention.

Females Traveling Alone

A woman with a backpack looking at the airplane

Women travelers’ risk is unfortunately higher in Newark. Caution should be taken to avoid becoming a victim of a crime by using these pertinent womens travel tips

Criminals are more likely to prey on a woman alone than they are a group, especially if that group has a man. Traveling in groups and being aware of your surroundings are two of the best precautions to take. It’s also a good idea to limit traveling at night.

Drinking Water Safety

A woman's hand holding a glass getting a water on a faucet

While most of New Jersey doesn’t have the best tap water for drinking, Newark is the exception. Drinking water in Newark is not only safe, but tastes better than in most other areas! 

However, it’s still subject to contaminants, so it’s a good idea to use a water filter or drink bottled water. 

5 Safety Tips for Newark

Tip #1 – Stay in Populated Areas 

A Newark Police signage on the street
Police Activity (photo: Alysson M / Shutterstock)

Most crimes take place in isolated and residential areas where people travel alone. This risk increases for women travelers and when individuals aren’t familiar with the area. 

Your best bet is to stay in well-populated, high traffic areas such as Downtown Newark.

Tip #2 – Keep Your Belongings Close To Your Body

Petty thieves are unfortunately on the prowl frequently. The pickpocket and mugging risk is high. With this in mind, it’s best to keep any valuables, such as your wallet, as close to your body as possible. Researching your travel insurance options ahead of time is also a good idea.

Crossbody bags worn in the front, and zippered pockets are good options when out and about.

Tip #3 – Don’t Go Out After Dark 

View of the Canterbury Clock Downtown Newark and the dark blue sky over it
Canterbury Clock Downtown Newark (photo: Kevin Case / Shutterstock)

Violent crimes and drug trafficking (in areas known for it) are prevalent at night. Go on any excursions during the day to help avoid these incidents. 

If you do have to go out at night, to say a show at the Prudential or NJPAC, stay as close to the crowds as possible. It’s also a good idea to avoid any isolated areas.

Tip #4 – Travel in Groups

If you have to go out at night to a show or event, travel with someone. Criminals are less likely to prey on groups than they are individuals.

Tip #5 – Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings

View of the empty Newark Penn Station
Newark Penn Station (photo: Ricardo Luiz Antunes / Shutterstock)

Stay vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious persons as you travel, and are out and about in Newark. Don’t let people walk too close to you if you can avoid it. 

👉 Read Next: Is New Jersey Safe?

FAQs About Safety in Newark

Which part of Newark is safe?

You’re best off in downtown Newark. Areas around popular attractions often have a heavy police presence.

Is Newark a good place to live?

Because of the high crime rate, it’s not recommended as a place to live. There are many options for affordable housing, which is what draws in low-income families. But unfortunately, the high rate of crime also repels people.

Is Newark one of the most dangerous cities?

Newark, NJ is rated as one of the top 10 dangerous cities in the United States.


Thanks for reading my guide about safety in Newark! Curious about visiting other locales in the Garden State? Pay a visit to some of the best places to visit in NJ for great ideas! 

(Featured Image Credit: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock)

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  1. Great story Yvette. I was born and raised in Newark. I left in 1988 to join the military. I never looked back. There’s still apart of me that miss my home. I still have family and friends in Newark. I frequent from time to time. Reading your article about Newark made me home sick. 😞 I loved the story.

  2. I was born, bred and raised in Newark, NJ and moved only due to my husband obtaining a job transfer. I go back there every year, at least once at a minimum, and I have never experienced any theft to my vehicle nor anyone in my family, who still lives there. My brother was mugged, but no violence took place other than a bag he carried with groceries was taken, last year. My brother is 63, so this was the first time anything happened. I have taken public transportation, walked the streets (during the day and at night), and rode my bike and nothing ever happened. Some guy may cat-call to me concerning my looks, but I never felt unsafe nor threatened. Newark is just like any other large urban city, be vigilant about your surroundings, always have a defense plan and don’t be stupid! As I was safe so shall you be too. Brick City all day everyday!!! 🥰😍🙏🏽

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