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Funding Plan Could Expand Gated Alleys In Phoenix Neighborhoods

More Phoenix neighborhoods could be able to gate their alleysas a way to cut down on criminal activity. That’s if the city council agrees with a recommendation from the public safety subcommittee.

In 2016, a disturbing crime in the Royal Palm neighborhood sent residents like Luke Bevins to City Hall.

“A guy rode his bike down my alley, hopped one of my neighbor’s fences, sexually assaulted two young children, attempted to kidnap them,” he said.

Bevins and other residents near 15th and Dunlap avenues worked with city staff to install gates to close alleys to foot and vehicle traffic in December 2018

Since then, he said, “I check my cameras all the time. Not one person has been back there.”

It’s worked so well, Phoenix wants to expand the voluntary pilot program citywide. But not all neighborhoods can cover costs like Royal Palm did. For example, in the Sunnyslope area from Central Avenue to 12th Street and Dunlap Road to Butler Drive, the city has received at least two applications to participate, but no gates have been installed because the neighborhood has been unable to raise thousands of dollars.

During the subcommittee’s February meeting, members approved a plan to set aside $400,000 from the Neighborhood Block Watch Program to pay for alley gates in economically challenged areas with high graffiti, illegal dumping and crime. Neighborhood groups that are registered with the city’s neighborhood services department would be eligible to request up to 20 gates for 10 alley segments. Groups would also need signatures from at least 51% of property owners that would be impacted.

If the council approves, the pilot program would be expanded to all council districts, and city staff would gather data on neighborhood interest, crime, graffiti and illegal dumping. The information would be shared with council districts so council members could help determine which neighborhoods should be part of the expansion.

The council could vote on the proposal in March.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.