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Published: Tuesday, 7/1/2014

Detroit to seize drug houses, clean up vacant lots

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT  — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he plans to collaborate with the city’s police chief to seize drug houses as part of an effort to improve neighborhoods.

Duggan announced the program while giving a six-month report card on his administration during a community meeting Monday, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press reported. He also pledged that roughly 100,000 vacant lots will be mowed and cleaned up.

“It’s time to seize drug houses,” Duggan said. “It is something the city has suffered badly from.”

The drug house program is to start this month. Under the initiative, the mayor’s office plans to send a certified letter to homeowners that notifies them that their home was raided, and warns that the city will seize and sell the home if it is raided again.

“We’re going to move in families who want to be a part of the neighborhood,” Duggan said.

State-appointed emergency manager has oversight of the Detroit Police Department, but Duggan said he’s working closely with Chief James Craig on the effort.

Duggan also said progress is being made to get street lights working, clean up parks, improve bus service and deal with blighted properties. He said Detroit is demolishing about 90 homes per week, with teardowns expected to increase to 200 by the end of the month and 300 by later this year.

“We’re going to be able to roll through the city in a way nobody has seen,” Duggan said.

Online home auctions have totaled more than $1 million since early May, the city has said. And Duggan said that for the first time since 2010 the city is cutting more than 100,000 vacant lots. The cutting began June 9 and will run through Aug. 15. A second cut will run from Aug. 25 to Oct. 3.



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