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“The shooting occurred at about 12:30 p.m., on northbound Highway 99 near Florin Road,” reports. “The victim, a male in his 50s, was riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle being driven by a female acquaintance, [sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Jason] Ramos said. The driver reported hearing multiple popping sounds, and then she realized that the male passenger had been shot in the lower back . . . The victim lives out of state and was in the area visiting family.” Nothing says welcome to California like a quality shooting on the freeway. But hey, the vic admits that she cut someone off . . .

While the media loves to talk about random acts of gun crime, they are as rare as a road-worthy Cadillac Caetera. In fact, gun crime is predictable. As any real estate agent or police chief will tell you, it all comes down to location, location, location.

Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a bad part of town. As RF wrote before, you no longer need to spend your life in a town to know where not to go. You can check the [relative] danger of encountering violence at any given 10-40 via On you iPhone no less.

Unfortunately, there’s no real time crime prediction app with turn-by-turn gun crime avoidance directions. But if there was, it would add risk with each evening hour.

Time is the other geography, the second most important variable for calculating risk. Ask an ER nurse: weekend nights are their rush hour. Failing that, night in general. This incident happened 30 minutes after noon on a Tuesday night. The odds of it happening at night must be ten times greater.

Sad but true: anytime you are out after 10pm anywhere you are far more likely to run into potential trouble. The song says the night belongs to lovers. Here in the real world, it belongs to the bad buys and the po-po. If you’re going out at night for a movie or a nice meal or a night on the town, remember: you’re just visiting. You’re on someone else’s turf.

Once again, you don’t have to stay indoors at night or drive twenty miles out of your way to avoid an area that had a mugging two years ago to not get shot or have to use your carry piece defensively. But you should be aware of your relative risk and change your behavior, staring by acknowledging the danger and increasing your awareness. Which is just as true when you’re driving as when you’re walking.

Two or three young men with matching color and/or team logos driving around (or standing together) are a sure tip-off that things things could get serious. When most people are driving/riding in a car, they’re either talking to each other or just sort of staring looking in one direction. If you see men in a car looking all over the place, they are probably looking for trouble— or the strip club and Denny’s.

At all times, mind your manners. If you’re on a lonely stretch of highway late at night, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT make a lane change without using your blinker (AKA,  the “Excuse me for just cutting you off and then deciding to turn the lane-change signal after the fact blinker”).

While we’re at it, if someone shoots at you from another car—assuming you don’t get hit or incapacitated—hit the gas and swerve. Is traffic congested? Is swerving an option with other cars around your lane? You should have had that information logged. If not, do it anyway.

Get the hell out of there as safely as possible while trying to gather some descriptive details (e.g., make, model, color) for both the car and the perp. (Good police codes to know: WMA, BMA, HMA, AMA.) Always call 911 in case the bad guys do it for you, and to you. Make the call from your Bluetooth headset; you don’t want to become the criminal.

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    • Some good(and even fantastic) things can happen at 3:00AM, but I won’t speak of them in polite company.

  1. From personal experience with neighborhoods where you neighbors are more likely to be hitting the crack pipe than to bring you a gift basket when you move in, it’s all about knowing the environment you’re moving through.

    If you have no idea what the place is like, but it looks like the ghetto? Day or night, it’s a bad idea to be there. Night is indeed worse though.

    If you’re in a residential neighborhood, look at the cars parked around you. Are they in good repair or is there bondo and rust and dirt all over them? Is there random trash in the streets / on the curb? Are the lawns neat and trim or overgrown and ragged?

    Look at the people around you – do they look like they belong? Do they have an obvious purpose or are they just sort of ‘loitering’? Hint – if they’re just hanging around and not going somewhere or doing something in particular, you don’t want to be there.

    Is there more than one person in sight on foot where most people would just be driving a car instead?

    Also, how many liquor stores, pawn shops, check cashing places and repair shops do you see every few blocks? If it’s less than one in a hundred blocks, no worry. If you see all three in the same area? Probably not a place you want to be.

    People get shot because they’re not observant.

    • Good pointers. I also look for businesses and homes having bars on the doors and windows.

      • All the above are good pointers. I would like to elaborate on yours though, Cujo. Bars are not always indicative. It is the type and condition of the bars. We have bars on our house for both security and decoration. Where I am from they are purely for decoration but here in this part of Ohio they are for both. We have nice flower baskets that hang off ours and more that hang off the porch and it looks quite nice really. Nicer then the houses without the bars. It is the condition of things people need to look at, I think. If you looked at ours and my neighbors homes and yards you would say, ‘Wow. What a nice area.’ If you looked at anyone’s but our two homes on the street you would realize you are in a ghetto. Cars range from BMW, Lexus and even some Mercedes. The thing is that the folks driving them are dirt poor and the cars are from the 70-80’s.

        A note about the garbage as someone who is always picking someone else’s out of his yard: If you see a lot of garbage it is because people don’t care. If people don’t care, they don’t have a stake, claim or anything of value in the area they care to lose. This is indicative of a slum and scum and all the nice people that go along with it.


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