I was just reading a book published by the Project for Public Spaces and in it they highlight Jane Jacobs' book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. She says that more than security cameras and police patrols, what makes our neighborhoods safe is the presence of people - people walking along the sidewalks, eating at the local restaurants, sipping coffee at a newsstand or just enjoying the view from their front porch. And she goes on to say that the fear of crime can be more detrimental to a neighborhood than the crime itself.
I thought these were some interesting insights and I tend to agree with her, or at least I feel more safe when there are more people about. It's harder in these cold months to eat dinner on the front porch or to just leisurely linger down the sidewalks, but they are some of my favorite past-times in the neighborhood. Even though it's dark by 5:30 I would love to continue evening walks and the fresh air is great for the kids. If anyone is interested in coordinating walks or hot cocoa runs, feel free to post it on the listserv.
The weather outside may be frightful, but that doesn't mean our neighborhood is.