As crime continues to rise, Phoenix Police to focus on high-crime corridor west of I-17

Due to understaffing, the Phoenix Police Department wants to inject a flood of resources into one of the city's high-crime areas, and it is hoping technology could help curb crime stats in areas west of I-17.

According to Phoenix Police officials, shooting calls, along with incidents of aggravated assault and drug possession, are all up along the 27th Avenue corridor, a stretch of intersections including 27th Avenue and Indian School, Northern Avenue, Bell Road, and the area occupied by the defunct Metrocenter Mall. This area has seen rising crime rates since 2018

"Calls for service are up 9%, aggravated assaults are up by 50%, armed robbery is up 12%, calls for shots fired have more than doubled," a person said, during a presentation.

Police officials say they are hoping a renewed focus at key intersections can curb those crime statistics, and revitalize the area.

Man who used to be homeless wants area to see more help

Russell Schwetz spent more than two years on the streets, and life is not easy for those who are homeless on the west side of Phoenix.

"A little rough. Got robbed once out there. Got beat up once," said Schwetz.

Eventually, outreach group Circle The City helped Schwetz get back on his feet. Now, Schwetz would like to see more help in the west Phoenix area.

"There's no end to crime, so yes, more police officers would help," said Schwetz.

For police, the strategy includes cameras at intersections, which could help mitigate the manpower shortage the department is facing. The corridor has been an area of focus for the city, as well as community groups, for years, including the Violence Impact Project Coalition.

"We are going to fight until we get rid of these problems," said Jeff Spellman, a leader of the Violence Impact Project Coalition. "We're not going to tolerate crime and drugs and prostitution in our neighborhood."

Phoenix Police officials, meanwhile, say they will be working with Arizona State University on this endeavor to monitor data, and see if it is working or not. This project needs an approval by the full Phoenix City Council, which will eventually be presented with multiple options at a future meeting.

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