With dozens of high-rises and restaurants being added to Downtown Phoenix’s city sprawl, safety concerns among Arizona State University students living in the area are still high.
The close proximity of local hospitals and news stations downtown made ASU’s Phoenix campus location ideal for journalism and health students alike when they began construction in 2006.
The Phoenix campus was built with one flaw, though — limited housing for students.
Downtown Phoenix is commonly thought of as a “dangerous” place to live, with burglaries, sexual assaults and robberies crowding the streets downtown according to the City of Phoenix’s community crime map.
ASU accounting junior Liz Larscheid said the scary reputation downtown Phoenix had prevented her from ever seriously considering moving downtown.
“As a female student, safety is always a priority. I would never put myself in a situation where I didn’t feel comfortable just for the sake of a degree- there are plenty of other options out there,” Larscheid said about her housing situation. “Ultimately, yes, the fear of being unsafe would keep me from moving to downtown Phoenix.”
ASU’s Taylor Place Residence Hall offered enough space for incoming freshman and a handful of upperclassmen, but after massive growth amongst the different colleges hosted downtown, students quickly started to outsource for housing.
The majority of ASU students live off campus, according to The Arizona Republic.
Roosevelt Point, located on Third and Roosevelt Streets, features two separate buildings located adjacent to one another. The complexes website highlights its proximity to ASU’s campus and is a popular living space not only for ASU students, but also Grand Canyon University and the University of Arizona-Phoenix’s students as well.
In March of 2016, a woman was followed up to her apartment by a man who unlawfully accessed the building through an open security gate. He entered the elevator with the student and attempted to sexually assault her after she unlocked her apartment door, but was chased off by her roommate.
With new apartment buildings downtown like Proxy 333 on Fourth and McKinley Streets and Illuminate on Third Street reaching completion every week, the event sparked a conversation not only about Roosevelt Point’s safety protocols for residents, but about the safety of living downtown for any person.
Since the attempted assault, Roosevelt Point has reiterated a warning to all residents to shut gates behind them and to report any suspicious activity they witness.
Kelcey Beckman, 19, moved into Roosevelt Point’s North building in August, and said she feels like the building does care about the safety of residents and has taken great precautions to keep them safe.
“I feel fairly safe living where I do at Roosevelt Point. The parking structure is secure and all of the doors to enter any part of the building require a key fob to enter in,” Beckman said. “The downtown environment is something that does concern me because there can be problems sometimes with the homeless but ‘RoPo’ always has security guards on site which is really assuring and they are always willing to assist us with anything we need.”
Health education student Garrett Joseph said his first year in Roosevelt Point’s South building has been normal.
“I’ve never physically felt unsafe living at Roosevelt Point. Not only to get in the front door after hours do you need your key fob, but also to use the elevators you need your key fob,” Joseph said.
Joseph said residents are also required to present their fob to access stairwells or other parts of the building like the fitness center or study lounges.
“No one other than residents can really get anywhere near you,” Joseph said. “From my experience, the security guards are also pretty on top of keeping people out of the pool after hours, and there’s usually somebody down in the lobby on weekends after hours to make sure no suspicious activity is going on.”
Installation of key fob scanners and security cameras is a frequently well-received addition to the apartment buildings downtown, as students and other residents claimed they felt safer knowing crime would be more difficult to commit, but also that even if it occurred, it would likely be caught on camera.
New adaptation to security concerns was a primary focus for the new residential additions downtown, and will hopefully help to limit crime against students and residents alike.