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Irvine, California, was given the title, “Safest City in America” (over 100,000 people) by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 1, 2009. I would like to submit that suburbs just like this may actually be the most dangerous places in America.

The suburban enclaves—with their middle-class citizens and well- manicured lawns, gates and guards protecting their Orwellian lifestyle and toys, Starbucks a few minutes from each busy intersection, and some of the best schools in the country—may actually be the most dangerous places to live. We may not have the high murder counts or robberies that urban centers have, but I wonder if the suburbs have become breeding grounds for the accessible and shallow thrills of drugs and alcohol abuse, extravagant parties and proms, and mere facades of happiness and the American dream. Just ask your local city drug dealer about his primary consumers: suburban teenagers and college students.

I’m not a researcher, but my gut impression from my travels and interactions with youth in the major cities of the world, as well as in suburbs and rural communities, is that they are all equally dangerous, just in different ways.

The dangers of the suburbs entail the lack of imagination (where do you find real art museums, innovative music venues, and creative opportunities to explore nature?); materialism; greed; isolation behind cookie-cutter neighborhoods and homogeneous clubs and churches; boredom: apathy; fascination with the relevant more than the real; a love affair with popularity more than loving the poor; and a thirst for excitement superficially satisfied in the Friday night party. All this takes precedence over a dangerous ride with God on the frontlines of his movement.