Student safety concerns prompt ETX apartment renovations - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Student safety concerns prompt ETX apartment renovations

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Safety concerns are spurring $1 million worth of renovation at a student housing complex near UT Tyler.

The Cambridge at Tyler apartments in the 3000 block of Old Omen Drive will soon have a new name to go along with their new look.

New alarm systems, security cameras, and gate improvements are ways the apartment complex is trying to cut back on crime.

"In the event that there's any issue, or not even an issue, I can just go to my phone and just go to that camera," says Belita Gill, general manager at the Cambridge at Tyler apartments.

UT Tyler students say the crime rate at Cambridge has earned it the nickname "crime-bridge".

"The first thing they ask is 'What about the shootings?'" says Taylor Nelson-Cook about younger students trying to find housing.

Tyler police responded to the Cambridge at Tyler apartments more than 321 times last year, averaging out to nearly once a day. This year, they've been to the complex 59 times for everything from sexual assault to residential burglary.

"I know there's been some crimes going on here and there but it's never affected me," says Hayden Vanhoose, a resident at the Cambridge Apartments at Tyler.

"Our residents have voiced their concern, the community has voiced their concern, so that's why where taking the preventative measures," Gill says.

The complex is adding tire puncture teeth to the exit side of their gate to keep students from sneaking in the exit after another car leaves.

"I think a lot of those people are more the ones who are committing the crimes," Vanhoose says.

Safety upgrades aren't the only changes happening at the apartments. Starting in June, residents will have to prove they have a 2.5 GPA or above. If you're a high school graduate you have to show the management your high school transcript. The same goes for current college students and even college graduates.

"They're promoting a living area where you're going to be around good people, good students," Nelson-Cook says.

The apartment management says residents who don't meet the new criteria will be asked to leave.

Cambridge at Tyler will become "Village at the U" starting June 1st. The complex says they have 588 beds and mainly house students.

Emet Capital Management bought the apartments back in December with plans to completely transform the complex. They expect all of their renovations to be complete by July 31.

You may remember another apartment complex near UT Tyler underwent safety changes. Back in March, Varsity Place Apartments, off of Varsity Drive, implemented strict background checks and credit screenings to keep people with criminal backgrounds out of their complex. 

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