Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

“You live Downtown?! Aren't you afraid?” I've grown to expect this shock from people who haven't visited Downtown. I answer “No” without fail, because our community's pioneers have made me feel welcome.

San Diego is one of the safest big cities. Most trouble comes from outsiders, typically looking to steal cell phones and such.

Passing so many strangers on the streets every day can intimidate even the most secure people, but it's easy to stay safe if you know the proper way to act.

People can sense fear and intimidation, so if you don't act like a victim you have a greater chance of not becoming one. Self-defense experts say most attackers stay away from people who exude confidence, so walk with a purpose.

Don’t wear expensive jewelry; do blend in with your surroundings. Don't regularly travel the exact same route; do be aware of conditions around you. Understand your options and how to make yourself feel more protected.

We manifest our fears and expectations, what we think and do, we become. So, if we think and act safely, we will foster a safe neighborhood.

We can combat crime by building a safe community. Most importantly, knitting a community involves neighbors watching out for each other.

Is Downtown safe? In these uncertain times, is anywhere safe? Your car, office, home? How does our need for safety affect our daily lives? Do we miss out on invaluable experiences because of fear?

All adventure holds an element of danger. Since life is our greatest adventure, we have to take risks, embrace our uncertain future, step out of our door every morning. How do we delineate the fine line between living practically with common sense and living fully, taking risks? Can we live a full life without adventure, curiosity and chances?

I contemplate…When does living well mean taking a chance?

Those I walk with feel a little nervous in some neighborhoods, but I rarely do. I drag friends who don't live Downtown walking with me. At first friends are intimidated by some of the neighborhoods I drag them into, but then come to appreciate them.

Mitch Cohen (Horizons) offers to walk friends home at night, but they often refuse to let him. That's how safe it is.

John Graham, Downtown's Community Relations Officer, talks to homeowners' associations on being safe in our community.

Brenda Kayzar (Reincarnation) travels everywhere she has to go on foot.

Rhett Willen and Sally Rattray (both of CityFront Terrace) feel safe walking Samantha and Opie (respectively) in the evening.

Anais Nin has said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”

Making the effort to get to know your surroundings does take courage and dedication, but living a full life means taking chances every day, stepping out of your front door and seeing where the road leads you. - April 17, 2003

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