Word spreads quickly in a town where everyone knows everyone…
“You know we have our drug problems, domestic violence calls, problems that every town has,” said Calvert Police Chief Nancy Juvrud.
The benefit of knowing your neighbor consequently puts Chief Juvrud two steps ahead of the game when it comes to fighting crime in her backyard.
“Marijuana is the drug of choice,” added Juvrud. “But Meth and crack are both problems, not too big of problems, but something we are working to fix. This area is really a corridor and often times, that attracts unsavory people coming into the community to buy or sell drugs and then they leave.”
Abandoned and dilapidated homes often become havens for drug use and prostitution -- posing a health hazard and a threat to the community-- Which doesn't sit well for Calvert resident Lorene Kinney.
“They're scared to walk past these empty houses because you don't know what's in them,” said Kinney.
“It's a threat to the children especially if they come inside here and play and they don't need to see that, they need a better example set for them,” said Juvrud.
In March that example will be set; taking advantage of federally seized drug money from across Texas to tear down drug houses -- It's called Operation Crackdown and Calvert Police are teaming up with the Texas National Guard Counter Drug Task Force to keep hazardous homes away from the community. The National Guard takes care of equipment rentals required for the demolition process and the City of Calvert is responsible for getting approval from homeowners and hauling off the debris once demolished. So far, an estimated 30 homes are set to be demolished in Robertson County.
“We have identified the properties and we're contacting the property owners now to get permission to take the properties down and clean the lots,” said Juvrud. “This one on Mesquite Street is the first one to go and the owner is thrilled we’re going to be cleaning up her property.”
The city won't have to pay for the labor or the expense of the demolition which will save the city thousands of dollars; for the National Guard, it provides training.
“It's going to give us some cleaner streets and give people pride in their community,” added Juvrud. “I feel very fortunate that they [Texas National Guard] wanted to come to Calvert and take part in improving our community.”
Juvrud says it’s all about investing in the community while providing a safer and more attractive place to call home.
The demolition gives soldiers with the Texas National Guard valuable training. More than 1,200 drug houses have been demolished in 23 Texas cities since the program's inception in 1993.