I thought this was an interesting and very balanced article worthy of discussion here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/natio...one-in-the-city/2007/09/01/1188067438580.html Dr Simon Crisp, a Monash University clinical family psychologist, says that while sexual assaults and child abductions are no more numerous than 20 or 30 years ago, children appear to have fewer opportunities to explore the broader world with friends. "There is this perception that if a child is out by themselves in the street they are somehow 'at risk' purely because they are not with an adult and that the child's parents are somehow bereft in their responsibility to that child," Dr Crisp says. Speaking for myself, I grew up in a very rural area several hours away from any major cities. In fact, I was never in a major city by myself until I was almost 21 years old. But for the past three years (age 18 to 21) I have spent my weekend at my boyfriend's home in a midsized-to-large city (about 200,000 or so people, I think) and have often gone for walks in the middle of the night. I've been accosted before, but I have never been attacked or even felt unsafe.