Moving to the city seems to be a one-way trip, and a couple of new studies sheds some light on why.
People re-normalize risks that they are exposed to on a regular basis, while often over-estimating novel risks. Driving is vastly more dangerous than flying, but it’s much more common for people who drive regularly to fear flying. In the same way, “crime” is often cited as a risk associated with city living, but once you’ve been exposed to the risk for a long time, and it is familiar, the perceived severity of that risk decreases significantly.
At the same time, it turns out your mode of transportation — the way you pass through the world around you — affects your snap judgements about the people you encounter. Driving makes it much more likely that you will assume the worst about others, while walking predisposes you toward relating to them as human beings.
So once you’ve moved to the city, and begun to live an urban, walking life, it feels like a safer, homier, more human place to you.