Detroit Launching Program To Seize Auction Drug Houses

By McCarton Ackerman 07/11/14

The city has already targeted over 300 drug houses for seizure.

urban wasteland detroit.jpg
The urban wasteland of Detroit. Shutterstock

Showing continued commitment to get itself out of the bankruptcy declared last summer, Detroit has announced a program to seize known drug houses throughout the city and auction them off.

The proposal is essentially a piggyback of an already existing home auction program of fixable abandoned homes, which has netted Detroit over $1 million in sales. The city will notify property owners of homes that police have raided and found drugs in that if it happens again, a lawsuit will be filed to take the houses under nuisance laws and threats to public safety.

Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig have already notified 339 drug houses since the beginning of the year. Craig revealed in a news conference this week that his department will also increase the number of raids on suspected drug houses throughout the city. He believes that “we have too many neighborhoods in this city where people are afraid to go out in front of their homes or let children play in front of their homes because there is a drug house operating on the block.”

Neighbors within two blocks of a raided home will also receive a postcard alerting them about the drug bust, in addition to the number of a confidential hotline to report any suspicious drug activity. Craig said that he believes targeting drug houses will help reduce violent crime throughout the city, but also wants to implement an initial warning because landlords are often absentee and unaware that their properties have become drug dens.

The problem with drugs even extends to teenagers through Detroit. City schools faced a major problem in 2011 when “boozy bears,” or gummy bears soaked overnight in vodka, routinely made their way into classrooms.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.