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Big safety changes coming to Cambridge student apartments

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TYLER (KYTX) - Some student apartments next to UT Tyler are getting a huge facelift, in the name of safety.

The Cambridge apartments, which will soon be re-named Village at the U, has been in the news in the past couple years for a series of break ins and robberies. These new safety measures are in response to those crimes.

The general manager here says criminals have gotten past the complex gates, and the new property owner is putting down $1 million to make sure that stops.

Soon, there will be a barrier arm and spike strips near the entrance gate to stop cars from piggy-backing in. It's just one of many new safety features here.

A brand new security alarm sticker marks Taylor Nelson-Cook's apartment door, and it's giving him a sense of safety.

"So if anyone's trying to get in, they automatically know, they have a security alarm system to deal with," he said.

It's one of many new changes UT Tyler junior Nelson-Cook is seeing at the Cambridge apartments. He moved in a year ago for the sake of convenience.

"I'm on the men's soccer team and the men's soccer fields which are right there so I save hundreds of dollars a year just being able to walk over there," Nelson-Cook said.

He admits a string of break-ins late last year had him concerned.

"It was at first, but then I saw that they were taking preventative measures."

Those measures include the alarm systems that are now in every apartment unit, and additional high resolution cameras around the property.

"We do have guards and will continue to have guards at the gate 7 days a week," said the property general manager, Belita Gill.

Gill says come June 1, the property will be a very different place.

"We're going to have good residents here," she said. 

Another focus of this renovation is education since the majority of people who live there are students. Soon, a brand new business center at the complex will soon be loaded with computers for students to study on.

These new priorities come with stricter resident criteria.

"Effective June 1 there will be a GPA requirement. So now your GPA has to be at least 2.5 for you to be a resident here on top of our additional rental criteria," Gill said. Those other rental criteria include credit and background checks.

This new rule is something resident Jori Patterson thinks is a great idea.

"The fact that you're going to be in a good environment with good students makes the feeling even safer," she said.

The new 2.5 GPA requirement only goes for new residents, but soon it will also apply to residents who want to renew their lease contracts.

There's no slipping through the cracks. Students coming to the complex for their freshman year at UT Tyler will have to submit their high school transcripts.  You will also have to submit transcripts if you transfer in from another school. 

The apartment complex is not owned by UT Tyler. It is a privately owned complex that houses mainly students.

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