More importantly, I have a bit of a mea culpa or a setting the record straight-type situation. I met in a small group with a lieutenant in the sac pd, and one who is in charge of nighttime dispatch on weekends and other nights. She came to talk about the crimes. Some facts: 1) the talk of the rape and the beating are the same incident, not 2 separate ones The dispatch log bears this out
2)This is treading on dicey territory, but let's just say the rape investigation is ongoing. It may not pan out. Which is a weird thing to say, but it seems to be a statement on solid ground.
I hope this does not fuel the rumor mill.
So basically what it comes down to is the purse snatching where the assailant pepper sprayed the woman, which was right by my house. Really bad and this scares me, but it's not something that would really cause an outcry as a (hopefully) isolated incident.
Even better, she showed us actual statistics on the crimes in the midtown/downtown area over the last couple of years and every category of crime is down. She said that sacpd took that rash of robberies and shooting in late 2012 very seriously and created an extra team of cops that patrols at night around the area, sometimes undercover.
The streetlight thing is a city issue, so some of us in the neighborhood may try to pursue that. She highly recommends motion-detector floodlights. Of course this only addresses burglary, which is not my big concern.
As far as walking alone at night, the police advice is always to view the situation as a criminal would, so there really isn't an argument that a woman alone at night isn't more vulnerable. That doesn't mean an individual woman can't choose to assess her risks (which these statistics help with) and make her own choices. Most activities carry some risk (skiing, climbing a ladder, driving), so one can take measures to minimize but each person decides their acceptable level. I say this as a safety professional.
My plan is to alter a bit, and keep my exercise walking separate (and early) from my getting somewhere needs. I plan to ride my bike more to destinations and walk less. As the days get longer I will walk more places. I already sometimes walk somewhere early and then if I stay out late take a cab home. Now that bows is closed I have lost my favorite place to walk anyways.