You're comparing a relatively sparsely-populated area of NJ to vacation areas on the beach. Beach areas generally draw more transient residents, which in turn leads to a higher crime rate. Also, the increased consumption of alcohol/drug use by both residents and vacationers contributes to that number. Crime in Orlando is 10 times the national average - 100 times that in Colts Neck, for that reason. Much of the
Southeast is made up of these vacation destinations. Look at it this way - if you make a living breaking into homes, you can do it anywhere. Would you stay in Colts Neck, or would you head to a warm beach where people didn't bring their dogs, but did bring their cash?
If you go inland, let's say to Cary, NC, you have crime that's well below the national average. A great site for comparing these stats is http://www.moving.com/Find_a_Place/Compare2Cities/
If you're thinking about buying in NC, and are concerned about crime - I'd strongly recommend the Raleigh area. We have 100 people a day moving here - and the #1 source of newcomers is New Jersey.
I am not sure where you are getting your information, but I would venture to say that you most likely are seeing higher petty crime rates vs. major crimes. But again, that would be my guess.
From personal experience living near Raleigh, I have to say that crime is much less of a problem than in other major cities I've lived in. As everywhere, it depends on the neighborhood. I'm in a suburb, and most of my neighbors leave their doors unlocked and have never had a problem. I rarely see much in the news about crime either. I'd look more closely at the crime records to see if it's specific areas that are of concern, and also who compiled the numbers.