How is this an important part of Film Noir? Hurtling towards danger. Rough, jumbled landscapes. The feeling you should trust the person next to you, but wondering what could go wrong. Black tunnels reminding one of death. The coming to the station...which is always located on the "wrong side of the tracks."
Because I teach students the age shown in the opening scene, I was reflecting on how much has not changed in the last 85 years. This one comment struck me: Anyway, the modest house-working women can't afford to go and pick up their kids at school. So their children, who must walk home by themselves, are the ones mostly in danger. It is still true today. Those that can afford to be protected are. Those that can't are easy to steal and do damage to.