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City stepping up patrols of vacant properties for gangs, drugs
By Adam Herman
Released/Published: Jul 9, 2008

New crime initiative launched to combat neighborhood threat

CANTON, Ohio – Mayor William J. Healy II and Safety Director Thomas Nesbitt outlined a new policing strategy in a memo to city leaders on Wednesday that calls for increased patrols in areas where housing stock has been devastated by the home foreclosure crisis and the state's weak economy.  The effort, which will be funded using federal grant dollars awarded to the city earlier this year, is effective immediately.

“Criminals who are using vacant and abandoned properties to conduct their business should consider themselves on notice,” Nesbitt said.  “I have received complaints from citizens in many neighborhoods who are frustrated by the criminal behavior of these individuals.  I am hopeful that our new initiative will help to ease some of their concerns.”

The increased patrols will take place within areas targeted by the federal grant dollars, but are likely to affect nearly all parts of the city.  The city's plan calls for additional four-hour patrols by officers at times which are likely to produce criminal activity, and further requires at least eight abandoned properties to be investigated by officers during each four-hour period.

“Once it gets out there that we're going through these abandoned houses, we predict criminal activity will decrease in the targeted areas,” Nesbitt said.  “It shouldn't take long for these additional patrols to have an effect once the word hits the streets that these houses are no longer safe havens for criminals.”

Officers who are investigating vacant or abandoned properties will be logged in a central database to track criminal elements throughout the city.  Members of the Police Department's Gang Task Force as well as shift patrolmen will be used in the efforts, which Nesbitt says will likely produce arrests and provide valuable leads to other open cases.

“We will keep adapting to their criminal behavior until they're either caught or run out of town,” Nesbitt said.  “In either case, we'll all be better off in the end.”

Contact Information: Adam Herman - (330) 438-4304 -

healy mayor neighborhoods police safety

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