It’s not handcuffs or weapons that police are using to fight drugs and crime, but once again they’re turning to heavy machinery the kind used to tear down a house. And that’s exactly what Mobile Police did this Monday. AndChief James Barber led the way as he operated an excavator to down the structure at 1303 Juniper Street.
“We’ve been here several times, so many times, and we’ve had, and we’ve had over 80 arrests in just one year, for everything from illegal sales of drugs, to prostitution, gambling,” said Chief Barber.
But he says the police are not in the bulldozing business, unless homeowners don’t try to mitigate crime happening on their own property after repeated instances. Monday’s demolition was the second time in the past 12 months police have taken this measure.
“When you have a significant impact to removing this type of activity from the neighborhood you have a serious impact on crime,” said Chief Barber.
The property was seized by the city, and the owner was asked to bring the house up to code. He failed, and the house was demolished. Some who live in the neighborhood like Tracie Odom agree with the steps police are now taking.
“If something should happen on one street and a person would run they don’t have something to run into,” said Tracie Odom, Campground Bottom Neighborhood Community leader, and resident.
Others tell us the demolition work alone is helping to clean up the area creating a more inviting community.
“If you look around you’ll see a lot of new homes, there were all old homes that were boarded up, that nobody could stay inside of so, to be honest with you it makes the neighborhood look a lot better,” said Robin Prichett, Campground resident.
However, some who didn’t want to speak on camera tell us they’re still worried that the crime will just move to another house. But, for now police will continue to monitor what happens in several of the abandoned, or run down homes in the area, and it may come down to more demolition if owners don’t take action.
The cost of tearing down a home is around $3500, in the long run, Chief Barber says it costs less than having to send officers back to one location for the same issues over and over again.