Knowledge.

Finding a new tool that maps crime in your neighborhood is a good thing.

It’s also really, really scary.

It’s amazing how much goes on in broad daylight. And while I don’t mean to make light of crime, one of my favorite surprises was seeing how much tagging goes on while the sun is shining. Really? Were you hoping to get caught?

Then there are the things that hit way, way too close to home. Literally. Sex crimes within blocks of where I live, assault, battery, child endangerment — it’s beyond disheartening.

Apparently I live in a bubble. I’m sure it will burst before too long, as I see instances of shady activity at all hours of the day, but nothing in the streets nearest to me shows up on the crime map — except for some sort of vehicle break-in a block or so away. I like to hoof it and do a four mile loop around the area as often as possible, and all of the streets that are on my route are crime-free, according to the map’s graphics. I know it’s not true, however, since I saw a guy in a car chasing down a woman in one of the nicer areas nearby, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before reality is reflected in the icons.

When I say I have a bad habit of occasionally tempting fate, I don’t mean it as anything other than fact. I’ve been known to do the incredibly stupid thing from time to time, and usually I emerge unscathed. The map makes me wonder, though, how many more four-mile loops I’ll log before I witness a crime and realize that its addition to the map was something I saw personally. Maybe it will only be someone drunk in public, and at a “safe” distance away. Maybe I’ll see someone pulled over for a DUI. Fingers crossed I never witness a shooting, a murder, and God forbid one of those little crime icons ever involves me.

Sometimes we acquire knowledge to expand our minds, to see things differently, to let our heart grow a little bigger or to do good with it. Other times, knowledge is solidly in the educational camp, and it’s meant to add some volume to the little voice inside that tells us to be careful, to not turn down that street, and to perhaps stay in tonight instead of going out. For the tools that make us a little more aware and for the information that reminds us of our own vulnerability despite the bubble that’s holding strong — though only for the time being — I am thankful.

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