Bad things can happen to good people anywhere! Biking brings out this when you are on a bike riding. You can become a victim real quick. No steel around you, no gas pedal to step on if something should happen. What you call awarness is "urban discipline" BK. You have to have this when riding in big cities in order to be aware of the area you are in if something should happen. How one reacts can determine if you get an ass-whipping or not being messed with. Until you have enough of these experinces you run the risk of being robbed, raped, beaten, and or killed.
If you are female, tripple the chance of being assulted. One must act confident, go about your business, act like you belong in the area, do not talk to stranges, approach cars or vans. Never act like you are lost or confussed. Treat people with respect also, they will have no cause to mess with you. When in doubt, keep riding until you are in an area you know. Something else to all riders, write down and keep a list of police stations in the areas you ride in, and local cop hang outs for coffee breaks. If something does happen to you, get to one of these areas and do not be afraid to ask for help if you need it. I have had plenty of bad things happen to me while riding and have learned from these experiences. I try to relate these items so other riders do not have to learn first hand getting stabbed, shot, beat up, robbed, whatever! Bad neighborhoods are all over depending on what can be observed first hand as to what belongs and what does not belong in the area. Be careful and be safe. Jim