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Paterson NJ Crime Rate [2024] 👮‍♂️ | Is Paterson NJ Safe?

Are you thinking about moving to Paterson NJ? It’s one of the closest large cities in NJ close to NYC which makes it popular with commuters and families alike. It’s also one of the largest cities in New Jersey.

If you already live in the Garden City, you may have noticed the Paterson Police Department in the news recently. If you’re concerned about finding a safe place to live, the city’s crime rate and your risk of being the victim of criminal activity may be one of many concerns you have.Here’s everything you want to know about the Paterson NJ crime rate, how it compares to other cities, and improvements to community policing efforts.

Understanding the Paterson NJ Crime Rate

Crimes rates in Paterson, New Jersey, are based on statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. These crime rates were collected using the Summary Reporting System (SRS). The UCR program was recently phased out in favor of the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

The UCR program collects crime data on eight index crimes which are categorized as violent or property crimes. By comparison, the NIBRS system collects crime data on 52 crimes including crimes against society, a new category. The NIBRS also makes improvements to crime reporting by including all crimes, even if they happen during the same incident. The UCR system only reported the most serious offense.

The crime index can help you understand your risk of being the victim of crime and particular issues in a city. However, there are limitations to understand before comparing crime rates between cities. For example, a disproportionate amount of criminal activity often occurs in a small area which can skew the rate for the whole city. Not all offenses are included in crime rates. The relationship between offenders and victims is also crucial. Violent crime is usually not random; victims usually know their attackers.

What Is the Paterson Crime Rate?

2021 is the most recent year for which Paterson NJ has reported crime rate data. The Paterson crime rate in 2021 was 959 total crimes per one hundred thousand residents. That’s 34.8% lower than the New Jersey average and 130.4% lower than the national average.

The Paterson violent crime rate was 390 per 100,000 residents. By comparison, the New Jersey state average was 183.5 violent crimes per 100,000, and the U.S. average was 387 violent crimes per 100,000.

The property crime rate was 569 per 100,000 people. The New Jersey rate was 1,109.4 property crimes per 100,00, and the national average was 1,832.3 property crimes per 100,000.

Paterson Crime Map & Crime Reports

In 2023, the Paterson Police Department began releasing weekly crime reports through the CompStat Crime Data system. The performance enhancement system is designed to help officers reduce crime and meet department goals.You can see a Paterson crime map on CrimeGrade.org. You can also use the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry to see sex offenders in your neighborhood.

Violent Crime in Paterson

From 2020 to 2022, Paterson experienced a spike in violent crime unlike any in the previous three decades. There were 30 homicides and 113 shootings in 2021 which dropped about 10% the next year to 28 homicides and 101 shootings. 2020 had a record high number of shootings, and 2021 was a record high number of murders.

Between 2017 and 2019, Paterson averaged 18.3 homicides per year. This jumped to 28 per year on average from 2020 to 2022.

According to Mason Maher, the president of a Paterson police union, the number of police officers needs to be increased. In 2011, Paterson had 525 officers before laying off 125. Today, the city usually has about 400 officers.

In 2021, Paterson had 623 reported violent crimes. The 2021 violent crime rate was 390 per 100,000, just slightly over the national average.

The 2021 homicide rate was 18.2 murders per 100,000 people. That's considerably higher than the New Jersey homicide rate of 4.1, and the U.S. murder rate was 6.8 per 100,000. Just over 17% of these homicides were cleared.For 2023, preliminary data shows 1,503 violent offenses reported to police. That’s a violent crime rate of 941 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2023. According to Paterson police, 2023 violent offenses included:

  • Murder: 17 (down 39% from 28 in 2022)
  • Sexual assault: 56 (down 25% from 75 in 2022)
  • Robbery: 332 (down 23% from 464 in 2022)
  • Aggravated assault: 1,098 (down 16% from 1,304 in 2022)

In 2023, Paterson shootings were at the lowest level in a decade. The number of shootings declined 25% from the previous year with 95 shooting victims. The department seized 160 firearms during the year.

Despite violent offenses dropping from 2022, violent criminal offenses are still high in the city. The Paterson Police Department also has a low clearance rate. The department’s clearance rate is below the national average for every type of violent charge, sometimes significantly. Nationwide, police clear 61.4% of murder offenses but just 17% were cleared in Paterson NJ in 2021, the most recent year with published clearance rates. Almost 33% of rape offenses and 30.5% of robbery offenses are cleared nationwide versus 7.4% and 15.4% respectively in Paterson.

Property Crime in Paterson

In 2021, 909 property crimes were reported. The property crime rate was 569 per 100,000. That’s 22% lower than the New Jersey property crime rate of 1,109.4 offenses per 100,000 people and 101.6% lower than the national average of 1,832.3 property crimes per 100,000 people.

Property crimes in 2021 with clearance rates included:

  • Theft or larceny: 599 (4% cleared)
  • Burglary: 182 (8.2% cleared)
  • Auto theft: 128 (0.8% cleared)
  • Arson: 7 (28.6% cleared)

The department’s clearance rate was lower than the national average for every type of property offense except arson.

Preliminary data for 2023 showed the following property crimes and how they compare to 2022:

  • Theft: 2,419 (down 4% from 2,523 in 2022)
  • Auto theft: 708 (down 14% from 619 in 2022)
  • Burglary: 641 (up 12% from 573 in 2022)

Paterson property crime declined in 2023 except burglaries, which increased by 12%.

Paterson New Jersey Crime Rate Comparison

How does crime in Paterson compare to other cities? While the community has problems with crime like any city, it helps to put it into perspective and see crime rates relative to other cities of similar size.

Here’s the Paterson crime rate compared to cities close in population size plus other large New Jersey communities. Note that this comparison uses the 2021 crime rates for Paterson and 2022 statistics for other cities.

Paterson NJ Crime Rate Comparison
Crimes Per 100,000 Residents
 Total CrimeViolent CrimeProperty Crime
Jersey City, NJ1,6052201,384
Alexandria, VA2,1381861,952
Salinas, CA2,1985211,677
Charleston, SC2,2643751,889
National average2,3243701,954
Newark, NJ2,3405201,820
Murfreesboro, TN2,6225112,111
Fort Collins, CO2,9273212,606
Elizabeth, NJ3,0324802,552
Springfield, MA3,2328622,370
Macon, GA3,3345952,740
Kansas City, KS3,7216423,079
Photo: BJT11091 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dangerous Areas & Safest Neighborhoods in Paterson NJ

Looking for a safe place to live in the city? There are many areas of Paterson with low crime, particularly low violent crime.

Paterson is broken down into six wards. The 2nd, 3rd, and 6th wards form a U-shape around the city. Only four shootings with five victims and two homicides happened in these three wards. The 6th ward in particular was the safest with no shootings or murders in 2023. That was the first time any ward achieved this distinction in over eight years.

The 6th ward includes neighborhoods like Lakeview, South Paterson, Lakeview West, and South Paterson East.

The safest Paterson neighborhoods include:

  • Eastside South
  • Lakeview
  • Peoples Park
  • 8th Avenue/East 17th Street
  • Liberty Street/Paterson Avenue
  • Ryerson Avenue/Chamberlain Avenue
  • Hillcrest West
  • South Paterson West
  • South Paterson
  • Wrigley Park East

In 2023, 91% of the city’s shootings (60 out of 66) happened in three of the six wards. The 1st, 4th, and 5th wards, which also have the highest poverty rates, accounted for 15 of the 17 homicides and 85 of 91 shooting victims.

The 5th ward had the highest number of homicides.

The most dangerous areas of Paterson include the following neighborhoods:

  • Riverside Southwest
  • Riverside West
  • Northside
  • North 3rd Street/Clinton Street
  • Downtown Paterson North
  • Downtown Paterson
  • Old Great Falls Historic District
  • Wrigley Park South
  • State Route 19/Valley Road

Paterson Police Department (PPD)

  • Officer in Charge: Isa Abbassi
  • Address: 111 Broadway, Paterson, NJ 07505
  • Non-emergency number: (973) 321-1111
  • Officers: 420 sworn officers

The Paterson Police Department (PPD) has served the city for 157 years. In March 2023, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin made the unprecedented decision to supersede or take over the department. This decision came after many high-profile cases involving police-involved civilian deaths, the imprisonment of several officers on federal corruption charges, the disappearance of Felix DeJesus, and the fatal shooting of anti-violence advocate Najee Seabrooks.

Retired NYPD Chief Isa Abbassi was put in charge of the day-to-day operations of the department. He is currently overseeing a two-year action plan to:

  • Rebuild public trust in law enforcement
  • Redefine community policing
  • Improve recruitment
  • Embrace new technology

Between 2022 and 2023, crime data shows violent crime has dropped significantly in Paterson with homicides down 39%, shootings down 33%, and robberies down 22%.

Paterson New Jersey Crime FAQs

Is Paterson NJ Dangerous?

Paterson actually has less crime than the national average. The city had a spike of violent crime, but violent offenses have dropped significantly and the police department is now under the control of the New Jersey Attorney General.

What Is the Rate of Violent Crimes in Paterson?

The Paterson violent crime rate in 2021 was 390 violent offenses per 100,000 people. The homicide rate was 18.2 murders per 100,000.

What Is the Crime Rate in Paterson NJ?

The Paterson crime rate in 2021 was 959 crimes per 100,000 residents, almost 35% lower than the New Jersey state average and 130% below the national average.

Are you relocating to or from the Paterson area? Our team of friendly full-service movers in Paterson are ready to help! Harrington Moving & Storage is here to take the stress and hard work out of your upcoming move. Call us today at (973) 313-2246 for a free moving quote to get started.

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