HavasuSafety.com is a Senior Capstone Project created by Joel Silverstein, a communications major at The ASU Colleges of Lake Havasu. Special thanks go to Dr. Anita Herold who has worked closely with Joel for two and a half years. Joel is active in the Lake Havasu community and saw the need to extend his education and returned to the university environment in 2014. This project takes into consideration the needs of the community and the skills of the author in understanding how best to communicate safety information to both tourist and residents. The project is supported by Joel’s company Sea Wonders LLC, and will be updated on a regular basis to keep information fresh and relevant. Some information about the project development and need follows.
Lake Havasu City is one of the most family friendly Arizona vacation destinations. It has been nicknamed “Arizona’s Playground” due to its favorable climate, over three hundred days of sunshine a year and the opportunity to participate in almost every outdoor activity imaginable. From a picnic on a hiking trail to boating, off-roading, skydiving and scuba diving, Lake Havasu City is most decidedly a vacation destination In 2010 the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau conducted an extensive international visitor survey to identify who, where, and why people chose Lake Havasu as a vacation destination. The study identified important data that supports an ongoing need to continue to attract and develop tourism as a primary business focus of the city. To that end, the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign with extensive website development illustrating all of the activities available to tourists and residents. While marketing, promotion, and activity information are essential visitors and new residents are hard pressed to find out anything about how to remain safe and where to find help. This Capstone project researched and evaluated safety information and services available in Lake Havasu City and developed the content into an easy-to-access multi-platform website.
According to the 2010 Convention and Visitors Bureau study, the average Lake Havasu tourist visits the city 2.4 times per year and stays an average of 3.6 nights. Overwhelmingly 82% of overnight visitors averaged five visits over a three-year period. The average size of the travel party is 3.9 persons made up of small families or friends and family traveling together. Due to imperfect inbound transportation methods, 84% of visitors travel to the city by personal auto. An exit poll identified that more than 85% of visitors plan to return within eighteen months. It is clear that Lake Havasu is a high demand destination.
Although Lake Havasu City is a progressive and growing city, it lacks many of the services its prime competitor, Las Vegas. Even with a lack of services Lake Havasu has grown to be a prime destination. With the lake, boating, and watersports being a prime activity for more than 50% of the visitors, safety on the water is paramount. Ten, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, each with its procedures and policies service the lake. Visitors, when asked about safety, responded that they felt “very safe” on the lake. However when asked about in city and hotels their response dropped to “somewhat safe.”
Preliminary research on crime revealed that Lake Havasu City is relatively safe compared to other cities. On an annual basis approximately 1,339 crimes are reported placing Lake Havasu’s crime rate 18% lower than the national average, and 36% lower than Las Vegas. Violent crime is one tenth that of Las Vegas, yet theft and burglary are on par with the competitor. However, theft and burglary tops a staggering 89% of all crimes committed in Lake Havasu. Most of these crimes are crimes of opportunity. People leave garages, cars, boats, and RVs open and accessible. People do this because of the misguided belief that a friendly town is a crime free town. Unfortunately, there are many criminals here that look just like everyone else.
Research into tourism and general safety information for Lake Havasu City revealed there is virtually no resource that provides comprehensive and informative information and tips about how to remain safe and crime free while in Lake Havasu. Also, there is little available regarding health and welfare information and medical and emergency services. For the most part, people rely on utilizing the 911 call system to access help. Unfortunately, because the Lake Havasu region consists of Arizona, California, a city, a district, two counties, and an Indian Tribe, accessing 911 is challenging. Depending on where the call originates and which cell tower and repeater the cell phone picks up the 911 Operator can be in Lake Havasu, Parker, or San Bernardino, California. Additional researched revealed specific areas tourists need information about and those have been included in this site.
HavasuSafety.com provides access to information in a friendly and non-threatening manner. The website includes information that enhances safety and assists people better in the event of an emergency or another challenge.