Opinion

Students Have Increasing Safety Concerns with Downtown Living

By: Emma Lynch

emma.lynch@spartans.ut.edu

The cost of living in Tampa, especially downtown, is a conversation that has gained increasing attention. Apartments are overflowing and their costs still continue to go up for residents. Many downtown residents have noticed large increases in their monthly rent in a short period of time. 

In September of 2021 Tampa’s housing prices increased 27.7%. There is a strong appeal to downtown living for countless reasons including proximity relevant destinations, walkability, and the attraction to the fast-paced city lifestyle.  

The attraction to downtown is simple to understand for many, but a recent question that has arisen is, is the downtown lifestyle worth it if it risks the safety of residents. 

Recently, and this past year especially, downtown Tampa has suffered from higher shooting rates than past years. Just within the past few months there has been a shooting outside of Club Eden on Franklin St. and another outside Bello Bar & Kitchen on Franklin St. Although Tampa is a rapidly growing city, it is still on the smaller side with apartment complexes and places of business that are fairly close together. 

“I’ve lived downtown for the past two years, and unfortunately I do feel more unsafe this year than I did before,” said Kayla Salsburg, senior at The University of Tampa. “There seems to be more random people walking around my complex and questionable occurrences that I hear about more often. My complex is fairly close to the shootings that have happened, and it definitely has forced me to be more vigilant.”

Due to the recent housing problem, especially for UT students, downtown safety is an increased concern. The Henry located on E. Tyler street is an elevated student living space that has recently opened. This complex houses a large number of students and is in a close vicinity to many of the shootings that have occurred.

Many students and downtown residents have made negative claims about their rent and believe if there is an increased safety issue their rent should not be skyrocketing– it should be going down if anything. 

“This past year we got security at our complex, which we didn’t have before. I have also seen police notices on our door to detract anyone from the street with malintent,” said Salsburg. “All of these overlapping issues have caused a heightened concern and I don’t understand why my rent keeps going up when there are safety problems occurring around us.”

Residents and others looking for housing in downtown Tampa are struggling to take complex safety into consideration. Many are starting to find that even living in a luxury apartment complex with increased security doesn’t necessarily protect them from what they witness or encounter when they step onto the street. 

Nine15, a luxury apartment complex on Franklin St. where the past two shootings have occurred, is considered to be a masterpiece of downtown living with “impressive amenities” and “sleek living” according to their website. This complex has high priced rooms and a great reputation but has been in the heart of the recent safety concerns. 

“It’s hard to guess what could happen next. Something could happen outside of my apartment and that isn’t something you can really prepare for. It’s frustrating that I have to keep paying more to live in a place where safety is being questioned,” said Salsburg.

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