Breaking News
More () »

Phoenix invested millions to help with crime and safety along 27th avenue; residents hope it'll lead to change

More than $5.7 million was invested by the City of Phoenix to address crime along 27th Avenue. Some residents have seen some improvements and hope for more.

PHOENIX — The tick-tocks of a dozen or so clocks greet you as you walk into All About Time Clock Repair on 27th and Glendale avenues.

Frank Beaudrot has worked out of the storefront where his father had a jewelry store before him for decades.

“I've seen so many changes - some good, some not so good,” Beaudrot said.

As time has passed, Beaudrot said he’s invested thousands of dollars into security cameras and alarm systems to protect his property.

“I see a lot of prostitutes. I see a lot of drug deals right on 27th Avenue, some right out on the sidewalk in front of my office,” Beaudrot said.

Those are issues that Maribel Carrillo has seen too. She’s one of the co-chairs of the Berkley Square Neighborhood Association near 27th and Missouri avenues.

“At nighttime, it’s a problem,” Carrillo said, pointing down a neighborhood street. “At night time, there’s lots of traffic. In the morning, lots of condoms. Not too many; that’s one change I’ve seen. There’s way less.”

In February 2022, Phoenix City Council approved more than $5.7 million to reduce crime in the 27th Avenue Corridor in specific areas from Indian School to Bell Road.

Through conversations with the community, the city narrowed the plan to focus on safety, access to services, education and crime detection and response.

But those who live and work here, like Jose Guzman, President of Parents and Relatives of Victims of Crimes, said they see many of the same things.

“I don’t see the changes,” Guzman said.

Guzman told 12News how people use drugs outside his office off Bethany Home Road, and prostitutes are seen on the sidewalks.

“Every day, every day, believe me, I receive over 40 people asking for support because they’re scared to report the crime,” Guzman said.

It was the community wanting safety that helped make the plan a reality.

District 5 Councilwoman Betty Guardado recalls how moms who live in the neighborhoods around 27th Avenue came to her, saying they needed help.

“They were desperate to find a solution. You know, they thought it was not fair to free their children to be seen the things that they were seeing,” Guardado said.

The community members who stepped forward then and showed up at council meetings are what Nick Valenzuela, special projects administrator for the City of Phoenix, said helped make the 27th Avenue Community Safety Plan a reality.

“They really drive home the fact that we needed this,” Valenzuela said.

So far, Valenzuela said about half of the plan has been implemented. That includes installing additional lighting in I-17 underpasses from Peoria Avenue to Bell Road, 92 gunshot detectors and half of the license plate readers installed.

Additional community prosecutors dedicated to the 27th Avenue Corridor. As well as a neighborhood inspector and specialist were hired as part of the City’s Neighborhood Services department to address blight in the area for the area. There’s also a dedicated homeless liaison for the plan as well.

“About $4 million of the roughly $6 million has been spent,” Valenzuela said. “And most of that was the one-time technology for the police department; the remaining costs are ongoing costs for our staff.”

Not all that technology is installed yet. Valenzuela said supply chain issues had delayed cameras being installed. Those are expected in May and will feed into Real-Time Operation Centers at Phoenix Police Department’s Cactus Park Precinct and Desert Horizon Precinct and be monitored by already hired police assistants 20 hours a day.

This year, there will also be teams to outreach to people experiencing homelessness in the corridor several times a week for a few weeks in one location at a time.

“We're not trying to just displace it and move it farther east or further west; we really want to make sure that they're getting into services,” Valenzuela said.

In addition, 23 more gated alleys will be added along the 27th Avenue Corridor. “This mess has been here for like three months,” Carrillo said, pointing to piles of trash and a couch dumped in the alley.

One of those is going in by Carrillo’s house.

“This is not the city’s job,” Carrillo said. “This is our job to keep it clean.”

A year into the project, Guardado said she is happy with the progress.

“Because now we have a team, a comprehensive team, that’s going to be dealing with the issue from the root. Like for me, a plan never works if you are not dealing with it from the root, which for me, means being able to offer people services,” Guardado said.

Debra LaPlante, the president of the North Glen Square Neighborhood Association, who’s lived in the area for years, does see some change.

“We’re seeing some small improvements,” LaPlante said. “This was not an overnight situation that occurred, as you probably know, and it’s going to take a while to do that.”

The city is also implementing similar plans along 19th Avenue and along Hatcher Road in the Sunnyslope Neighborhood.

As part of these plans, ASU is also conducting studies to see if the issues these areas are facing are just being moved down the road or actually being resolved.

Currently, Valenzuela is anticipating two more years to see a measurable impact, believing the community will look different if it works.

“What you're going to see is you're going to see a safer community; you're going to see individuals out, walking about and enjoying it,” Valenzuela said.

It’s a change that some neighbors are starting to see and hoping it will come even more with time.

“I try to understand that this is not going to happen overnight,” Carrillo said. “If I tell you next year I want the prostitution to disappear, it’s unrealistic.”

While Beaudrot hasn’t seen much change directly in front of his building, he’s hopeful.

“I think they're working on it. It's just seemed like the gears turn slowly, way too slowly,” Beaudrot said.

Recognizing how complicated the issues are to solve along 27th Avenue, hoping next year will have properties well maintained and crime will go down too.

“It's a multifaceted problem. And there have to be multifaceted solutions. And there isn't just one fix for far less a single thing; it takes all of the departments in the city working on everything,” Beaudrot said.

Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.

Before You Leave, Check This Out