The Most Dangerous Community In New Jersey

Camden has been dubbed the “most dangerous city” in New Jersey. That’s according to the folks at the financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St., who dug into FBI data from 2017 to determine violent crime rates in nearly 2,000 cities and towns. Here’s what they found for Camden:

  • 2017 violent crimes per 100,000 people: 1,968 (state: 229)
  • Number of violent crimes in 2017:1,462 (7.1% of state total)
  • Poverty rate: 37.4% (state: 10.7%)
  • Annual unemployment: 8.9% (state: 4.1%)

“There were 229 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in New Jersey in 2017, well below the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000,” 24/7 Wall St. said. “In Camden, violence is much more common. There were 1,968 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Camden in 2017, by far the highest violent crime rate of any city in the state. Crime is often concentrated in areas with limited economic opportunity. Camden’s 8.9% annual unemployment rate is the highest of any city in New Jersey and more than double the 4.1% state unemployment rate.”

In 2017, the FBI estimated there were more than 1.2 million violent crimes nationwide and an estimated 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The overall number of violent crimes was down 0.2 percent from 2016, while the overall rate fell 0.9 percent.

The FBI noted that when considering five-year trends, the 2017 estimate total estimate is actually 6.8 percent higher than 2013. Despite the increase, it was still 10.6 percent lower than 2008.

The 24/7 Wall St. rankings limited the study to cities with populations of at least 20,000. The authors noted that crime happens more often in low-income areas with fewer economic opportunities.

“The vast majority of cities on this list have higher poverty and unemployment rates than the state as a whole,” the report said.

Violent crimes include murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Most states contain at least one city that has a higher violent crime rate than the country as a whole. Exceptions include Hawaii, Maine and Vermont.

Most of the cities on the list saw violent crime rates in the hundreds or mid-1000s. But some stuck out. Anniston, Alabama, for example, sees an inordinately high rate of violent crime at 3,434 per 100,000 people. That’s the highest rate in the state or any major American city “by far,” the authors wrote.

A large share of residents in Anniston are financially insecure with 20 percent of the city’s 22,000 residents living below the poverty line. The national rate is 14.6 percent.

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.