HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Shutting down a drug house by keeping the customers out. 22News discovered if this strategy can work in the long-run.
Holyoke police are making an unprecedented number of trespassing arrests at one building. Drug users looking for their fix at a South Holyoke apartment building found themselves in handcuffs instead.
Holyoke Police Chief James Neiswanger called an apartment building at 5 Adams Street a drug warehouse and a headache for years. The property owner recently hired some Holyoke cops to help get rid of the drug problem at the building.
“In short order, the drug dealers left the building, but the drug buyers kept coming, we ended up making arrests 110 of them,” said Chief Neiswanger.
Holyoke’s police chief told 22News a lot of these problems are site specific, so when they take out the location, the operation begins to crumble.
“Sometimes people say it just chases it somewhere else, I’ll tell you it does much more than that. If you can interrupt that, the victim, the offender and the location, the crime triangle, if you interrupt one piece of that you make a difference,” said Neiswanger.
The building has 20 apartments, only five are being rented
“No one wants to rent in that building because of the drug trade happening there. so there’s a financial incentive for landlords in hiring cops to do what they did this weekend,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.
More than half of the people arrested weren’t even from Holyoke. Chief Neiswanger says the drug dealers didn’t live there, but they ran their business out of the building.
Chief Neiswanger told 22News they have strategies in place to make sure the building doesn’t turn back into a heroin haven when there aren’t as many cops around.