Violent crime numbers down, but ASU students concerned over recent murders

Posted: Updated:

TEMPE, Ariz. - The numbers indicate that violent crime is down in Tempe, but the one crime that has not decreased in that city is murder.

Among the victims are two Arizona State University students and that has prompted a very real concern about safety on campus and the neighborhoods nearby.

That's because these two students were murdered less than two blocks from campus and both murderers are still on the loose.

A memorial grows for Zachary Marco an ASU junior gunned down two days ago less than a block away from campus.    

“I'm usually in a group so I don't get scared, because I’m with a bunch of other people,” Vladimir Ortega said.

Ortega heard about Marco's murder on Facebook. He heard he was killed at night and on his way back from the library. 

“People tell me, like I've got night classes, I'll be like that sucks, it's dangerous,” Ortega said.

Two other people have been murdered less than two blocks from campus.

Last week Tempe police found a homeless man stabbed to death in a dumpster at Ash Street and 12th Street.

In May ASU student Kyleigh Souza died after being dragged by somebody wanting to steal her purse.

All three of these murders are still unsolved.

Sgt. Steve Carbajal said students should be alert. He said so far this year they've had 12 homicide related deaths, the second highest amount in 20 years.

He said while murders are up, violent crimes in Tempe are down.   

Compared to last year, robberies are down 16 ½ percent, assaults are down 12.6 percent and sexual assaults are down almost 30 percent.

“Tempe is still a safe place which we still believe it is, but at this point you're going to have people on a higher state of alert, just pay attention to what's going on around you, don't take chances,” Carbajal said.

That message is pretty close to the same message sent out to parents and students of the Barrett Honor's College.

The email reads, we encourage you to be vigilant, but not overly-fearful, about living on and moving within the campus at night.

If students are worried about walking around campus here at night, ASU offers a safety escort service.
It runs from 7pm to 3am, seven days a week.