Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neighbors Cheer Police Raid

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neighbors Cheer Police Raid

Article excerpt

A team of police officers and city officials that closes drug

houses swept through one of Jacksonville's most crime-infested

blocks yesterday, condemning seven houses and making six

arrests.

When the Drug Abatement Response Team flooded the 1900 block of

Hubbard Street in Springfield with police cars and other city

vehicles, they were cheered by the few people who have ridden

out years of crack cocaine sales, prostitution and related

violence.

"This is music for my ears and gladness for my eyes," said Earl

Scott, 69, who has lived in the block for about 14 years. "We

have called the police so many times we gave up."

Millia Dampier, a 50-year resident of the block who lives

across from two of the condemned homes, said she is tired of

seeing prostitutes picked up outside her home, hearing gunshots

at night and watching drug deals from her window.

"Maybe we can sit out on our porch in the evening now," said

Dampier, 86. "I'm just so happy."

Two people were arrested on charges of possessing drug

paraphernalia, while four others were charged with being tenants

of a drug house. Several crack pipes were recovered.

The seven homes were condemned for a variety of problems,

ranging from uncontrolled raw sewage to a collapsing roof, said

Bob Bennett, a safety code enforcement supervisor for the city.

Tenants were told to leave by day's end, and DART officials said

they will help the few who may not have access to other housing.

DART, whose members include police and officials of the city's

Property Safety division and Jacksonville Electric Authority,

has closed down 113 homes and businesses and arrested more than

25 people in its 13-month existence.

Its purpose is to rid neighborhoods of crack dealers and

prostitutes and encourage landlords to comply with safety codes

and rent to more upstanding tenants. But many landlords say they

have little choice about who they rent to.

"I had suspicions some of them were selling drugs," said Rory

Vilett, who said he collected about $2,000 a month rent from a

double duplex condemned yesterday. …

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