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How Safe is the "Bubble"?

Compared to other towns and cities, Danville is safe, but it's not without crimes. Hear teens share their views about crime and safety in town.

Danville is a town known for its safe and comfortable environment. 

If you take a walk downtown or around the Livery, you are greeted with friendly faces and it is not unlikely to run into people that you know.  The close atmosphere of this small town makes for worry-free living – right?

From living here for over ten years, I've learned many stereotypes about Danville, the most popular being the "bubble." 

To Danville's surrounding cities, the town is known to be protected by a "bubble," since it is a rare occasion to feel unsafe or witness criminal acts here. 

The town's , who started this week, recently said in an interview with Patch, speaking of criminals, "When they're thinking of driving off the freeway, I want them to feel this is not a place they want to be."

Residents may often take this safety for granted, leaving house and car doors unlocked and letting their children stay out after dark, simply because they think "It couldn't happen to us."

"The 'Danville Bubble' stereotype is so true," said Veronica Trujillo, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School.  "Many teenagers who live here are not exposed to the brutality of life which can be both good and bad. Depending on how you plan to spend your future, living in a place of excessive safety may be an impediment to anyone who plans to live outside of Danville in a more 'action prone' community."

From January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009, there were 2,679 crimes in Danville, according to Contra Costa County Sheriff.  In four years, Danville had as many crimes as some cities have in merely a few weeks to a month.

This may seem like a high number, but if you compare it to cities such as Oakland, with over 1,000 crimes occurring within 14 days, or San Jose, with nearly 10 times that amount, the numbers start to seem smaller and smaller.  Not only do the numbers seems smaller, but the crimes seem less significant. From July 7 to July 20, there were no homicides or sexual offenses in Danville.  In Oakland, there were five homicides and 39 sexual offenses.  In San Jose, there were 84 sexual offenses.

For most teens living in the "bubble," crime does not affect their lives, but they are still aware that crimes happen in Danville.

"Just because Danville is safer than most areas doesn't mean that these things just don't happen," said Annie Valceschini, a senior at San Ramon Valley High. "Danville is undoubtedly safer than many other places when it comes to shootings and violence, but when it comes to other things like drugs and alcohol, we can be just as bad as many other places." 

During summer, teens in the "bubble," without the burden of waking up for school every day, may go to more parties. Therefore, underage drinking and driving under the influence and street racing becomes more common.  While some may blame boredom as the culprit for teen experimentation with drugs and alcohol, it is possible that there are other reasons.

"I don't think there's really any one right answer," said San Ramon Valley High senior Anna Tiner.  "There's a lot of reasons why someone might be motivated to get involved with those things such as family issues or peer pressure."

A few recent crimes involving teens and others  have shown that the "bubble" is in fact not without its crimes and issues.

A series of car burglaries in town were recently linked to teens, with two taken into custody after stealing items as valuable as a laptop computer from a car on Bordeaux Court.

There was a shooting at the Sycamore Clubhouse during a party in June, and the teens arrested were said to have been from outside the area.

In May, there was a shooting off El Pintado Road that sent one man to the hospital.

There was a drug deal behind Taco Bell in April, where the drug deal "went bad" as teens tried to steal the backpack from another teen.

But teens say these few crimes don't change their feeling of comfort and safety in the "bubble."

"The shootings have not changed how I act around town," said Trujillo.  "I have not personally witnessed any fights or chaos of any sort occurring in Danville. I have heard a story here and a story there, but nothing incredibly brutal."

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