Tucson’s Ward 3 is a vibrant, bustling community filled with local businesses and neighborhoods. For Prestige Fitness, a 24/7 gym in the area, it’s the perfect spot for a stand alone gym.

“We wanted to be a destination spot,” Ronald Yousefnejad, one of the owners of Prestige Fitness, said. “We have all of our equipment lined up looking at the Catalina Foothills mountains.”

The gym opened about 15 years ago and since then, they’ve seen the area grow.

“We started with just 6 personal trainers on staff,” he said. “And now we have over 40 personal trainers on staff. My business partner and I both noticed over the last year a lot of crime activity near this location by Best Buy and Walmart.”

It’s a problem across the country growing crime rates. But in Ward 3, the Tucson Police Department’s data dashboard reports shoplifting and grand theft auto as some of the most commonly reported crimes. So Yousefnejad and other business owners sat down with Ward 3 Councilman Kevin Dahl recently to talk about solutions.

They put in brighter lights, cameras and are continuing the TPD bike patrol pilot program.

“The bike patrol has significantly helped reduced the congregation of these individuals by at least 80%,” he said.

Erica Prather has lived in the neighborhood since 2019 and has been involved in the neighborhood association throughout that time.

“I’ve had my car stolen, my bike stolen, attempted break-ins,” she said.

She said spending more time and taxpayer money into patrols won’t eliminate the root of the issue.

“Folks are leaving this area where they are ‘bothering’ a business, well then they’re just going to move somewhere else,” she said.

In her neighborhood, they’ve been at work with the city and other non-profits to connect people with programs and build them up with compassion to help if they are struggling.

“We don’t have rising wages and we don’t have rent control,” she said. “There are more and more things that are leading people to be on the streets and steal things.