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West Phoenix is a neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Maryvale is the predominant neighborhood of the near west side, from about 35th Avenue west to 87th Avenue and from I-10 north to the boundary with the suburb of Glendale at Camelback Road. Originally established during the 1950s and 1960s by developer John F. Long, these neighborhoods include inexpensive homes largely built during the 1950s and 1960s.
Like many older inner-ring suburbs in the United States, the Maryvale district is suffering urban decline as the belt of growth has passed by, moving ever outward. Shopping in this area is provided by the Desert Sky Mall and Maryvale Mall, both of which are suffering from lack of tenants. The Maryvale Mall now houses schools and a police station. Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, the city's most prominent outdoor concert venue, is located on the West Side. Because of the lower housing costs, Maryvale has attracted large numbers of families and immigrants from all over the world, notably those from Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Since the 1980s, violent crime and gang activity have plagued the Maryvale community. Like other maligned areas of Phoenix, gangs took advantage of the area's open-air apartment complexes to set up enclosed drug markets that became extremely dangerous and difficult for police to monitor. Focused efforts made by the Phoenix Police Department to lower the Maryvale crime rate—which had surpassed that of South Phoenix—have been successful. The crime rate has been significantly reduced to record levels. Phoenix police leaders and city officials have lauded the Maryvale Precinct's employment of concentrated community-based policing to thwart everything from property crimes to violent crimes. Liaison officers direct special details focused on robbery, auto theft, burglary, prostitution, drugs, and gang violence. In 2008, the violent-crime rate in Maryvale declined more than 5 percent, police say. Property crime declined 9.5 percent in the area between Camelback and Baseline roads, from 27th Avenue to the western city limits. The shift in police philosophy included embedding Phoenix Gang Unit officers in the precinct, placing more sophisticated resources regularly in what one crime analysis described as "an area saturated with gang members."
The growing west side of Phoenix continues to spread outward. Newer suburbs west of the city limits are springing up, including Avondale, Goodyear and Buckeye. Further north, suburbs like Surprise, Peoria, El Mirage and the western end of Glendale are experiencing commercial and residential development.
- Steven M. Berman, former Mayor of Gilbert, Arizona
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