As part of a new segment profiling real people and real problems in our community, the 12 News Street Team is pinpointing the issues that matter to your neighbors and friends.
We're zeroing-in on the Maryvale area, which is from 35th to 99th avenues and from I-10 up to Camelback Road.
Area crime stats for 2016 show that there have been 27 home burglaries so far this year, 11 Aggravated assaults, 11 Vehicle thefts and three thefts. Most of crimes appear to be happening closer to 83rd Avenue.
People in the community say the intersection of 83rd Avenue and Indian School Road is a hotbed of crime. Joe Dana spoke to some of the victims and police on the front lines of this fight.
In Orlando Fuentes' cellphone store in the heart of Maryvale, just last month someone broke down his back door and tried to get through the security door with wire cutters. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful. But for business owners and residents near this intersection, this is part of life.
"I was held at gun point," Fuentes said. "That wasn't fun."
That was last year. The cellphone dealer and three others we spoke with live or work at a hot corner of Phoenix: 83rd Avenue and Indian School Road. It sits in the historic Maryvale precinct which has seen a rash of burlgaries and assaults this year. So, what drives the crime?
"It's meth mostly," said Thomas Strausser, 23, who grew up in Maryvale. "I've had relationships with people who have been on that stuff. It just ruins their lives. It ruins their lives really slowly."
Barber Jesse Franco says criminals also feel brazen because victims are reluctant to call police.
Franco said he's never thought of turning someone "because then you get more problems. It's none of my concern, as long as it doesn't affect a child."
Those who do call police include April Burbank, who watches kids at the Divine Children Pre-School and Daycare. A fence separates her playground from an alley that gets transients and graffitti.
Burbank said, "I feel pretty confident because of the calls we made, the cops will come back and say, 'thanks for calling, we actually arrested this person -- he was wanted on a warrant.'"
But April and everyone we spoke with said they want to see police around here more often.
Maryvale Precinct Commander Sean Connoly says reinforcements are coming.
"The beautiful thing, we started hiring again. In Maryvale we currently have 14 officers that are training," Connely said, "and we haven't had training squads in neighborhoods working in years, so it's coming ... but we've done a great job doing more with less."
Connely says they are focusing on two disturbing trends: armed robberies and murders involving teens.
"We've started a youth block watch and some youth initiatives in the Maryvale neighborhoods. We've started a faith and justice initiative," he said.
The initiatives are bringing together community leaders in schools and churches.