Monday, September 7, 2009

How Sidewalks Bring about Safety

"It does not take many incidents of violence on a City street, or in a city district to make people fear the streets. And as they fear them, they use them less, which makes the streets still more unsafe."

Every time an article in the Tulsa World newspaper online talks about downtown you can quickly see in the comments section that there is a complete misconception about how downtown streets and sidewalks are unsafe. The television news stations with their constant fear mongering reports have only intensified this. I think about Chicago which had far more scary homeless people but I was never scared because they were always outnumbered by good natured people.

I have been biking to work for three years on the downtown streets in the dark of the morning and I am definitely outnumbered by the homeless. I have never found a homeless guy that hasn't returned a "good morning". They are much friendlier than people in any Tulsa mall.

Here is the interesting part

"The barbarism and the real, not imagined, insecurity that gives rise to such fears cannot be tagged a problem of the slums. The problem is most serious, in fact, in genteel-looking "quiet residential areas."

So many things like this are the opposite of what we have been led to believe. Our friend was telling us about the house he grew up in at 101st and Sheridan-a nice middle class quiet neighborhood. His old house was taken over by squatters who tore the place to pieces. It was amazing to us that this was allowed to go on in this neighborhood, but it makes sense when no one comes out of their house to realize such things and when the neighborhood is not organized enough to combat such problems.

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