BY TOM HESTER SR.
New Jerseyans feel much safer on the streets of Atlantic City than they do in Camden, Newark or Trenton, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll made public Halloween day.
They even feel safer in Atlantic City than in Philadelphia, but the place that makes them feel the most secure is Manhattan.
When in Atlantic City, 64 percent feel safe while 21 percent do not.
When in Camden, one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, 13 percent feel safe while 64 percent are looking over their shoulder.
When in Newark, 35 percent feel safe while 55 percent do not.
When in Trenton, the state capital, 43 percent feel safe while 33 percent do not.
When in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, 59 percent feel safe and 22 percent do not.
Manhattan, the City that Never Sleeps, however, places first; with nearly three in four (78 percent) saying they feel somewhat or very safe there. Just 10 percent say they don’t feel safe in Manhattan.
But when in Camden, just 2 percent of New Jerseyans say they feel very safe there and 11 percent somewhat safe, while almost two-thirds (64 percent) say they feel not too safe or not safe at all.
“If New Jersey is going to be healthy, its cities will have to be viable,” Prof. Peter Woolley, the poll’s director, said. “One measure of viability is how safe people feel going to those cities.”
As for Atlantic City, whose fortunes the governor and Legislature want to revive, those who have been there in the past year feel safer there than those who haven’t been there recently. Three-quarters of those who have been there in the past year (75 percent) say they feel somewhat or very safe, but only about half of those who haven’t been there in the last year (53 percent) say they feel safe there.
“The safer people feel, the more likely they are to make the trip, whether it’s to Atlantic City casinos, Newark’s Iron Bound restaurants, or Manhattan’s galleries,” Woolley said.
A third (33 percent) say they feel very safe in Manhattan, and another 45 percent somewhat safe, while by contrast only a third (35 percent) say they feel somewhat or very safe in Newark.
Men feel safer than women in both Manhattan and Newark: 40 percent of men say they feel very safe in Manhattan compared to 26 percent of women who agree.
The poll also showed that liberals are statistically more likely than moderates or conservatives to say they feel safe in Trenton. “I guess they know they have plenty of friends in the Legislature, and that the governor can’t stay forever,” Woolley quipped.
The poll 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from Oct. 17 through Oct. 23, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.