Police target blighted properties in Lakeland - FOX 13 News

Police target blighted properties in Lakeland

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It's kind of like guilt by association. Lakeland is punishing landlords financially if their tenants continually sell drugs out of their property.

It's a new program, and here how it works: the police get a tip that drugs are being sold out of a particular home, then go check it out.

"Typically, we utilize undercover buys to establish probable cause that this location is known for distribution of illegal drugs," said Assistant Chief Larry Giddens.

After they arrest the people who are suspected of selling the drugs, they advise the landlord to get better tenants. If police keep making arrests out of the property, the police department can close the house for up to one year.

That's exactly what happened at 1220 Wright Dive recently. James Leslie, who lives a few doors away, says it is a gift -- no more traffic in and out of his neighborhood at all times of day and night; no more suspicious looking people hanging around.

Now, life is different.

"I feel secure, I feel secure," he told FOX 13.

Something he hasn't felt in a while.

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