Detroit Mayor Duggan, Police Chief Craig unveil plan to seize and then sell city's drug houses

DETROIT (WXYZ) - "I am the president of a block club now in my community, and I have helped to shut down the same drug house two times.. twice.. and it opened right back up," said Vaughn Arrington, a Detroiter who is overjoyed to find out that the city is zeroing in on properties that are being used to sell drugs.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan joined Police Chief James Craig to tell the owners of homes that are being used for illegal drug activity to clean up their act - or the city will come after the properties.

"Neighbors have put up with the endless cycle of drugs raids at the same homes for too long and watched their communities decline as a result," Duggan said in a news release. "The only effective way to end this cycle is to get these properties into the hands of new owner who will not allow this to happen anymore."

Duggan and Craig announced the initiative at a press conference Tuesday along with councilman Andre Spivey and Land Bank Legal Counsel Kevin Simowski.

The program is similar to one Duggan put into place while he was Wayne County prosecutor. It will apply to homes that have been raided for illegal drug activity. 

Starting this week, the owners of the houses that are raided, where illegal drugs are found, will be sent a notice by certified mail advising them that if police find drug activity a second time, a nuisance lawsuit will be filed by the Land Bank seeking a judge to award them title to the property.

Then, once the title is turned over to the city, the home will be added to the list of homes being auctioned off at BuildingDetroit.org.

Since the beginning of 2014, Detroit Police have raided 339 drug houses. The owners of those properties will now be sent notice by certified mail that they are in jeopardy of losing the property if they don't eliminate the drug activity.

As part of the program, neighbors in the area surrounding the drug house will be sent a postcard telling them which house was raided. The postcard will also ask them to keep an eye out for drug activity and reporting it to the city's hotline at (313) 224-DOPE.

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