PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix is expanding its program to lock down alleyways running through neighborhoods.
"It's just a dark highway for crime," said Luke Bevans.
We met Bevans back in 2018 after the City of Phoenix launched a pilot program to make alleyways running through his neighborhood off 15th Avenue and Dunlap safer.
"I've witnessed multiple homeless camps, exposed needles, you see graffiti," said Bevans.
The plan kicked into high gear after a man was caught jumping a neighbor’s wall.
"We had somebody access our alley, hope over one of our neighbor’s fences and expose themselves to two little girls," said Bevans.
The community gathered signatures, donations and community grants to construct large metal gates to the alleys behind their homes.
Only accessible by those that live there, emergency services and City of Phoenix personnel.
In order to get the gates, they needed at least 51% of the neighborhood residents to agree to the plan.
Fast forward one year and Bevans says the gates have more than done their job.
"Between the crime, between the drug use, prostitution, illegal dumping is a big thing in a lot of communities around here, this has eliminated everything for us," said Bevans.
Neighbor Kathleen Cottrell agrees. "I love the gated alley, I feel it gives us a lot more security," said Cottrell.
She also says the look of them is more pleasing than anticipated. "I think it's very secure as in the heaviness of the metal that’s used but also the design that they used is attractive," said Cottrell.
It's even catching the attention of those without the gates.
"Wondering why it hasn't happened on this side of 15th Avenue on the west side, so all for it, I think it's great idea," said Joe Marciano.
Not all communities can afford to pitch in to purchase a gate like the Royal Palm community.
That's why the city is now proposing to set aside $400,000 from the block watch grant program to help with the cost in economically challenged areas.
Eventually gating off 10 alleyways in each of the eight districts.
Neighborhoods that want the gates would still require at least 51 percent of their neighbors on board before the gates can be built.
Funding for the expansion is up for approval by the city council in March.
"I would anticipate the same results happening in other communities," said Bevans.