The traditional family dream home -- a large house on a big lot in a quiet suburb -- may actually be more dangerous for children than many inner-city neighborhoods, according to a growing body of research.
Although many parents worry that city living could mean their children will be abducted or caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting, it is exceedingly rare for children to be harmed or murdered by strangers, says William Lucy, a University of Virginia urban planning professor who has led several studies on safe communities. The greatest risk to children, he notes, is car crashes, which are more likely to occur in the suburbs, where children spend more time in cars or playing next to busy roads. The ratio of traffic fatalities versus homicides by strangers is 13-1, he says.
All of Lucy's studies on this subject indicate that lower-density areas are the most dangerous, while the safest communities, for the most part, are high-density cities. Not only do low-density communities have more traffic fatalities, they also are the most dangerous places for stranger homicides.
Mass school shootings most often occur in the suburbs, where the student population is less diverse, making it harder for some to fit in. Unfortunately, he notes, car crashes and schoolyard bullies, both of which usually involve older children, are not things parents often think of when they are first looking for a safe place to raise their young families.
Source: National Post