Sunday, January 06, 2008

Is it Safe? As if I Have to Ask

On the eve of the biggest storm to hit the Southland since 2005....rather, the only storm to hit the Southland since 2005, I opted for a lil' late night West Adams constitutional.

Am I recycling columns? Feels it, another year another considerable drop in the murder tally, fewer than 400 murders in the City of Angels 2007. A 17.6% drop from last year's already revolutionary reduction.

What's left for me to go on about? The big decrease in the South bureau, the uneventful details of my latest late night foray, peregrinating about Sugar Hill, Jefferson Park, Halldale and Adams-Normandie.

Is it safe? Is it safe in northernmost South Los Angeles? It appeared to be Friday night. The streets were bare (see images), save a handful of folks at major intersections thumb-twiddling till transit.

Still I stump, to fracture that association so prevalent, between the center and danger, the suburb and safety. Despite the revival of so many American cities, the re-popularization of New York City as lifestyle icon, and the European experience wherein affluence characterizes the old centers, Americans--Angelenos continue to bespatter their neighborhoods East and South. Bedroom communities most. The city's first suburbs in fact, simple subdivisions on relatively roomy lots, largely unencroached by industry or high use business districts, positively low density in places.

Certainly the population here (my beat) is multi-ethnic, with a pocket or two of physical squalor, and an absence of "hip joints". Those things matter to many, detract for some. But confuse the issues not, the statistics overwhelmingly suggest a relatively safe U.S. city, safer than most of us have ever known--and getting safer. Probably never safe enough for some. For those there's always Carstairs, Alberta, Culdesac, Idaho, or Catalina island.



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