Man, that is one sorry cube.
It'd be worth your while to read Conaway Haskins' comment on my last post (and worth your while in general to check out his blog, South of the James). Here's a piece of it.
As one who also lives in the 'burbs but spends a lot of time in the city, I think that any discussion of crime in Metro Richmond - and the city specifically - has to first make a distinction between "occurrence of crime" and "perception of crime." You can't start a serious discussion without extracting the two. Many people who live in the suburbs fear Richmond - any part of Richmond outside of Carytown and the Far West End - because of the crime in the East End and some Northside neighborhoods. But, when you isolate Gilpin, Blackwell, and the surround areas, the actual rates and numbers of crime declines precipitously.
I have mentioned somewhere in this blog that former Police Chief Jerry Oliver once told me in an interview that unless you are involved in criminal activity, drugs or domestic violence you are pretty safe in Richmond. The Harvey murders jolted most of us out of that feeling. It was a sickening aberration from the norm. The sad reality though is that the norm is just as sickening -- it's just that we have gotten used to the idea of poor black people killing other poor black people.
Conaway's right. You can't have this discussion without talking about race and class. Whether you are white, black, Latino or Asian; poor, affluent or middle-class; urban or suburban makes a difference in terms of how you perceive crime. That's where I disagree a bit with Conaway. I'm not sure you really can separate the incidence of crime from the perceptions of it. It's as if we are all looking at the same cube from different angles. Where you see a corner, I see a flat surface and someone else sees a shadow. Even the bird's-eye-view is just a two-dimensional square. Perhaps in bringing together all those views, all those perceptions, we can begin to construct the whole, true picture of our cube.
But my cynical side immediately answers, "Oh, yeah? Then what?" My idealistic side has no answer for that.