About the State of New Jersey
Despite the Garden State’s popularity as a setting from crime dramas such as the Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, New Jersey ranks remarkably high as the twelfth Safest Places to Live in the U.S. in our 2016 rankings.
With every county in New Jersey designated as a metropolitan area and its largest city, Newark, earning the questionable title of car theft capital of the world, we wanted to learn more about the safest towns in the great state of New Jersey. Here’s what we found.
New Jersey’s Safest Cities
New Hanover Township, New Jersey’s Safest City
Located in the Delaware Valley, New Hanover Township is part of Burlington County, New Jersey. Originally formed by Royal Charter from portions of Chesterfield Township and Springfield Township, New Hanover was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1798. Along with 55 other municipalities, the township is included in the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, a protected natural area and the nation’s first National Reserve.
Part of Bergen Country, Harrington Park got its name from the Haring family who were early settlers in the area. Now known for having one of the most beautiful and quiet communities in Northern Bergen County, the town was originally a relatively rural community before the arrival of the West Shore Rail Road in the 1800s which shifted the town into more of traditional modern suburb as it stands today.
River Vale Township
The most eastern town in Bergen County, River Vale is located in what’s known as the Pascack Valley. Formed in 1906, the town derives its name from its location along the Hackensack River. In 1778, the town suffered a raid during the American Revolution which is now known as the Baylor Massacre. A mass grave, a result of the surprise attack, was discovered in 1967 and later made into a county park, dedicated to the soldiers who died there.
Norwood is located in Bergen County and was formed as a borough from portions of Harrington Township in 1905. The area was originally settled around 1670 by several families from the Dutch Republic. The name comes from an old description of the settlement in the “North-Woods”.
Located in western Morris County, Washington township was formed in 1798 from portions of Roxbury Township and would later give up portions to form Chester Township in 1799. Schooley’s Mountain takes up a large portion of the township and may have been one of the earliest summer resorts in the country. The township is named after George Washington.
Old Tappan is a borough in Bergen County formed from parts of Harrington Township in the year 1894, when 26 different boroughs were formed in Bergen County. The name is from the Tappan tribe of Native Americans.
Located in Burlington County, the city of Bordentown can be found where the Delaware River meets with Blacks Creek and Crossswicks Creek, just a few miles south of Trenton, New Jersey. The city was settled in 1682 by Thomas Farnsworth, an English Quaker. While little of estate is visible today, Bordentown was home to Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, who arrived in Bordentown from France when his family was banished in 1816.
Found in northwestern Essex County, North Caldwell is a suburb of New York City, incorporated in 1898 from portions of Caldwell Township. The borough was part of large piece of land known as “Horseneck” purchased from the Sagamore Indians by a group of colonists in 1701. The town, known for its beautiful homes and minimal commercial activity is considered the “green jewel” of the county.
Formed from remaining portions of Harrington Township in 1916, Northvale is a borough in Bergen County. The early history of the town can be traced back to Henry Hudson who explored the area. The land was originally home to the Leni-Lenape Indians, who sold it to colonists in 1681. Northvale has the highest tax rate in Bergen County.
Located in Hunderton County, Tewksbury Township is located within the New York Metropolitan Area. The town’s origins can be traced back to the land purchase from the Lenape Indians by George Willocks in 1708. Tewksbury is part of the four-state Highlands region, recognized as an important natural resource for water.
Initially settled in 1640 at the intersection of two Lenape Indian trails, the first permanent European settlers did not arrive at what was then called “Black River” until 1720. Located in Morris County, Chester can be found about 40 miles west of New York City and is known for its Victorian style homes and large estates.
A borough located in Bergen County, Waldwick was first inhabited by the Lenape tribe and later explored by the Dutch in 1610. The area population boomed with the arrival of the Erie Railroad a boom with the arrival of the Erie Railroad. Waldwick was incorporated as a borough in 1919 from what remained of the Orvil Township which had been split into five boroughs in 1894.
Peapack and Gladstone
A historic town tucked in the quiet, rolling hills of northern Somerset County, the borough consists of two villages that were joined in 1912 from portions of Bedminster Township. The community has maintained its rural, small town environment filled with open fields, horse farms and tree-filled hills and takes great pride in keeping the natural bucolic beauty of the area intact.
Formed in 1806 from portions of Hanover and Morris Townships, Chatham Township became a center of the rose-growing industry in the late nineteenth century. After World War II, a ban on construction was lifted and much of the farm lands, greenhouses and flower nurseries were sold off so homes could be built. Today, the town is a quiet, carefully developed suburban community located just 25 miles west of New York City.
Incorporated as a borough from portions of Westfield Township in 1895, Mountainside has been recognized as one of the best places to live by New Jersey Monthly magazine in both its 2008 and 2010 lists. Thanks in part to early zoning laws designed to preserve the natural rural character of the area, there are no apartment buildings, condos or town homes in the area.
First settled by a group of Quaker immigrants in 1677 as the settlement of Crosswicks, the township of Chesterfield is located in Burlington County and also includes the villages of Recklesstown and Plattsburg. The township was originally formed in 1688 and later incorporated as one of New Jersey’s initial townships in 1798.
Lebanon Township can be found in the northernmost tip of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. First mentioned in 1731 as having been formed from Amwell Township, the township of Lebanon was incorporated in 1798 as one of the original townships of New Jersey. Originally an agricultural community, the community has grown recently while still maintaining its rural roots and charm with a landscape of mountains, pastures, woods and rivers.
A borough of Bergen County, the land area now known as Hillsdale was formed in the mid-to-late 19th century by land developers anticipating the arrival of the Hackensack and New York railroads and was later incorporated as a township from portions of Washington Township. The borough’s name comes from its location as a “dale among the hills”.
A wealthy borough of Monmouth County, Fair Haven is located along the Navesink River on the Rumson peninsula. Its first permanent settlement dates back to 1816. In the mid-19th century, the borough was a popular stop for steamboats who would pause at Chandeler’s Duck between Red Bank and New York City to bring visitors to the area.
Established in 1798 after being separated from the area known as Newton, Byram Township was named after a family of surveyors who had settled in the area before the American Revolution. Byram is known as the “Township of Lakes” and has more than a dozen lakes and ponds with many of the large ones surrounded by homes.
Found in the Pascack Valley in the center of Bergen County, the borough of Westwood was home to the Leni-Lenape Indians and was primarily farm land. Formed from portions of Washington Township, the borough has grown to become the home of over 11,000 residents today and is referred to as “The Hub of the Pascack Valley”.
Formed from parts of Dumont borough and Harrington Township in 1904, the borough of Haworth can be found in Bergen County in the northeastern corner of New Jersey. The borough’s name comes from a local railway stop which was named in tribute of the town of Haworth, England. Today, Haworth is a peaceful small town with tree lined streets despite being close enough to New York City to be a suburb.
Found in Somerset County, Bedminster was originally settled by European immigrants in 1710. Named after the town in England, Bedminster Township was established by Royal charter in 1749 with portions of the township being used to form Peapack-Gladsone in 1912. Today it is home to over 8,000 residents who enjoy the beauty of its landscapes and parks.
Located in Bergen County, the borough of Demarest was formed in 1903 after separating from the Township of Harrington. The borough gets its name from the local train station named after Ralph S. Demarest, director of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey who built the station and represented the area in both the General Assembly and Senate of New Jersey in the mid-1800s.
Another borough of Bergen Conty, formed in 1894 during the “Boroughitis” phenomenon, Wood-Ridge was originally driven by agriculture with local farmers transporting produce to markets in Newark and New York City by wagon and boats. Inn keeping was also an important business in the area as well with oil and other industries to come later. Today, the borough is primarily a residential area.
Situated in rural Sussex County, Sparta Township is approximately 45 miles northwest of New York City and is known for its bucolic vistas with rolling hills, pristine lakes and scenic farms. The township was formed in 1845 from parts of several other nearby townships and named after the existing community of Sparta which had been settled and named years earlier.
Formed from portions of Palisades Township in 1894, the borough of Cresskill was part of the “Boroughitis” phenomenon in Bergen County. A few years later, part of the borough was annexed by Alpine. Railroads were important to the areas growth, providing local business with access to customers in New York City which included the world’s largest chicken hatchery in 1897.
A suburb in the New York metropolitan area, the borough of Emerson can be found in Bergen County, New Jersey. It is the southernmost town in the Pascack Valley area of the county. The borough was originally formed from portions of Washington Township in 1903 and was originally named the Borough of Etna after the local railroad station.
Formed in 1894 from portions of Englewood Township and Palisades Township, the borough of Bergenfield was named as the 211th best place to live in New Jersey in 2010 by New Jersey Monthly magazine. The borough was named the second best place in New Jersey to raise children by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011.
Formed from parts of Bridgewater Township in 1845, the township of Branchburg can be found in Somerset County, New Jersey and was named after its location where branches of the Raritan River merge. The town is a semi-rural, suburban area with strict zoning ordinances to ensure the charm and character of the area is maintained.
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Don’t See Your City?
If you didn’t see your city or town in our spotlights of the thirty safest places to live in New Jersey or in our listing of the top 100 safest places to live included below, the population of your home town may not have met our minimum requirements or we did not have complete data as provided in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
2. Harrington Park
3. River Vale Township
5. Washington Township, Morris County
6. Old Tappan
8. North Caldwell
10. Tewksbury Township
11. Chester Township
13. Peapack and Gladstone
14. Chatham Township
16. Chesterfield Township
17. Lebanon Township
19. Fair Haven
20. Byram Township
23. Bedminster Township
26. Sparta Township
30. Branchburg Township
31. Clinton Township
33. Woolwich Township
34. New Milford
36. Andover Township
38. Spring Lake Heights
39. Mahwah Township
42. Washington Township, Bergen County
43. Florence Township
44. West Caldwell Township
45. Monroe Township, Middlesex County
46. Wyckoff Township
47. Park Ridge
49. Long Hill Township
50. Hasbrouck Heights
51. Montgomery Township
52. Mendham Township
54. West Amwell Township
55. Harding Township
56. Bernards Township
57. Plainsboro Township
59. Hillsborough Township
62. Hopewell Township
63. Holland Township
64. Medford Lakes
66. Plumsted Township
67. Upper Saddle River
68. Glen Rock
69. Delaware Township
70. North Haledon
71. Cedar Grove Township
72. Palisades Park
73. River Edge
74. Colts Neck Township
75. Midland Park
76. Mount Arlington
78. Saddle River
79. Manalapan Township
81. North Hanover Township
83. Boonton Township
84. Woodcliff Lake
86. Franklin Lakes
88. Marlboro Township
89. Denville Township
93. Montville Township
95. Morris Township
96. Randolph Township
97. Washington Township, Warren County
99. Lincoln Park
100. Little Ferry