Cities Safer For Kids Than Suburbs, Researcher Says

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.

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