Let's draw on the power of Google Maps to drop in on the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford Florida, made infamous by the Trayvon Martin shooting.
First, a view of the gates to this gated community.
I see a tollbooth style automobile barrier in the foreground and actual gates, open here, in the background. As to how buttoned down this neighborhood is, who can tell? Presumably the gate is operated by a passcard, since (I have read) there are no humans in attendance.
For this second shot we rotate about 70 degrees to the left of our current perspective and look down Oregon Ave.
I note the brick wall and the townhouses; the sign says "Models from the $120s", so if Thurston Howell II is living here he is rubbing elbows with some 99 percenters.
Let's close with an aerial shot. Lots of townhouses. The gate shown above was from Oregon Ave at point B at the top of this pic.
There are lots pass-throughs between the townhouses, so a pedestrian familiar with the area (not Trayvon, regretably) could easily elude a driver in a car. On the other hand a pedestrian who knew where he was going (Zimmerman) might easily overtake Martin.
Final stray thought - some news accounts say Trayvon Martin had stepped out to a 7-11; most go with "convenience store".
Back "convenience store" - the nearest 7-11s are three miles away, if we can trust Google. [UPDATE - we can't.]
UPDATE: With boots on the ground and a boost from Rick Ballard, I learn that there is a 7-Eleven at 1125 Rinehart Rd; the 7-Eleven store locator confirms this but Google is obdurate. The distance is roughly 3/4 of a mile.
LOTS MORE: Narcisco contributes this fascinating backgrounder from the Tampa Bay Times. Due to the real estate slump it was a neighborhood in turmoil, with lots of renters and empty units. I will highlight this:
For the first two months of this year, at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the Sanford police logged 51 calls for service. Half were just people requesting information. The others included eight burglaries, two bike thefts and three simple assaults.
Thirteen incidents in two months.
The Tampa Bay Times takes the approach we have seen adopted by the Times - there is no mention of Zimmerman's bloody nose or cut to the back of his head. Lots of rumination about how children can avoid "looking suspicious", but no advice along the lines of "don't punch strangers in the nose". Flight trumps fight, as one mother notes:
For her son's whole life, Brown said, she has told him: If someone's chasing you, run. "What if it's a kidnapper? Or someone trying to beat or rob you?" she asked.
She stopped walking the dog and shook her head. "But if he runs, does that make him even more suspicious?" Brown wiped her eyes. "What makes someone suspicious? That's what worries me the most."