When students attend Fresno State, their primary worries might consist of an upcoming test, balancing a job and schoolwork and when the next big party will happen. However, some students are forced to live with a much more grim problem affecting their safety as well as the security of their property.
El Dorado Park, or more commonly known by students as Sin City, is considered one of the more dangerous places near campus. Spanning from Shaw Avenue to Barstow Avenue and Sixth Street to Fourth Street, this area of multi-family residency has high amounts of criminal activity.
El Dorado Park neighbors Greek fraternity and sorority houses on Millbrook Avenue. Multiple student apartment buildings and parts of the athletic complex are down Bulldog Lane. This area is where thousands of students live, work and reside.
“I avoid the general area just for safety,” said Becca Barnes, a liberal studies student. “I don’t drive down Bulldog Lane past Millbrook Avenue because of the fear of theft and potential harm to my vehicle, myself and other passengers. I moved out of the apartment complex because I did not feel comfortable living in that area due to crime.”
Other students continue to live in the heart of El Dorado Park. Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) and Kappa Sigma fraternities are located on Sixth Street.
Incidents of crime are common on the property of AGR.
“Anywhere from seven to 10 vehicles are broken into in our parking lot every semester,” said New Member Educator of AGR, Frank Roche.
University Police Department assigns one officer to the athletic complex, fraternity and sorority houses and El Dorado Park.
“University Police officers are being proactive,” said Amy Armstrong, the public information officer for the University Police Department. “Officers are patrolling and protecting the area as well as being visible.”
On a daily basis, the Fresno Police Department (FPD) assigns one officer for every shift to El Dorado Park. Officers are there to make a visible statement, manage criminal activity as well as educate students on safety issues.
Sgt. Eric Hodge of the FPD said they have instilled community outreach programs in the area. Officers meet with fraternities and sororities to educate them on how to live safely within the area.
Emergency calls to El Dorado Park are one of the most frequented service areas for the northeast station. Hodge discussed that the amount of emergency calls to the area have stayed consistent.
Hodge discussed various organizations’ attempts to purchase one of the apartment buildings in order to refurbish them into student housing and help clean up the general area of El Dorado Park.
“When the owners find out that the complex is being purchased for student housing, the cost of the building doubles or triples and potential buyers are unable to make a purchase,” said Hodge.
Those students who don’t move away from the El Dorado Park area are learning ways to adapt to the surroundings to ensure safety of themselves and their property.
AGR is trying to raise enough funds to install an electric gate to prevent entrance from unwanted neighborhood community members that might cause harm to their property.
“The gate, installation fees and permits will cost AGR about $7,000,” said Roche. “We are hosting fundraisers to help raise the money. Unfortunately, these costs and efforts are taking away from us being able to run day-to-day operations of the house and other house improvements.”