Why downtown Phoenix ISN’T scary

[Source: Janesa Hilliard, State Press Magazine] — When Andres Cano decided to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism he knew he would be required to live on the Downtown Campus — a move he was excited about making.  “I didn’t fear living or being downtown because it’s such a lively atmosphere,” says Cano, a freshman from Tucson.  “Safety should not be a concern… I think a huge part is the amount of activity going on downtown because of sports and concerts.”

The shift in tone among the freshmen student body is one of anticipation rather than apprehension about what Downtown Phoenix has to offer.  The biggest obstacle the city faces in its second year of full-scale operation is promoting an urban atmosphere, not security concern, a feeling that resonates with both students and ASU Downtown Campus police.  The campus has many opportunities to advance the understanding of community – and safety by extension – as the student body increases, says Commander Richard Wilson of the ASU Police Department’s Downtown Bureau.

Non-profit leadership and management student Samuel Richard agrees.  Richard, a third-year student and downtown Phoenix native, says that downtown’s stigma of being a crime haven is the result of misguided perceptions that trace by to the 1980s.  “Downtown Phoenix is not a geography, it’s a lifestyle,” Richard says.  “Downtown is unpredictable, [the] opposite of a conformed, suburban lifestyle.  This is where it’s exciting.”

Still, Richard says getting the public to see this side of downtown is difficult. People may come downtown to watch a ballgame or check out First Friday, but they don’t stay down here or indulge in any of the businesses. Few people reside within the confines of downtown proper because of an unwariness of the area, due in large part to the homeless population.  [Note: Read the full article at Why downtown Phoenix ISN’T scary.]

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