Safety concerns are making New Jersey residents reluctant to visit cities such as Camden and Newark.
Most of the New Jerseyans polled by Fairleigh Dickinson University say they wouldn’t feel safe in Camden. Fifty-five percent believe Newark is unsafe and 21 percent have concerns about safety in Atlantic City.
Those are the cities where there state has been spending a lot of money to attract visitors, said Peter Woolley, poll director.
“If you really want to encourage tourism, and you want to encourage people to get out of the house and go to these destination cities and make use of the money the state has sunk into them, people need to feel safe,” Woolley said. “You also have to have a public safety system that does the job.”
Stevan Wolf, director of the family business owners network at the Camden County Chamber of Commerce, said this reputation will discourage some people and businesses from going there.
“It’s just a matter of perception,” said Wolf. “I think the people need to check it out for themselves, to go into Camden and see how they feel about it, because I think in due time it will come back and they may miss an opportunity.”
Actually visiting a city can change perceptions about it. Woolley said visitors to Atlantic City in the past year who have seen the security measures there have a more positive view than those who’ve only read about the casino city.