Police and city say It takes time to shut down drug houses



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Posted on July 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 26 at 7:36 PM

Police-involved shooting

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DALLAS - There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the police-involved shooting in southeast Dallas Tuesday afternoon.

The home James Harper ran from was a known drug house, so why was it not shut down?

The drug house was still under operation because it's a long process for authorities to confiscate a home or get it boarded up by the city.

News 8 found other examples of alleged drug homes the city is trying to close.

A home on Marfa Street has been raided by Dallas police multiple times. Police and neighbors say it was a drug haven and wanted the city and police to get rid of it.

Teresa Henderson lives across the street.

“It was kind of making me feel uncomfortable," Henderson said. "I didn't feel too happy about it. I wanted them to hurry up and put a rush on it, so they could be gone."

Dallas police arrested the alleged drug dealers at the home on Marfa and opened a SAFE case on the house, which means they can try and get a judge to force the owner to board the place up for a year to keep the drug dealers from coming back.

"I was happy when I knew what was going on, what was going to happen" Henderson said. "Because I have kids and grand kids that are here a lot of the time."

This week questions have come up as to why the city or the police department didn't do more to close the house on Bourquin Street where James Harper and other suspects were allegedly running a drug home. Police confiscated drugs from the house and made several arrests in the last several months.

"If there were drug houses, why weren't they shut down and how long had they known they were drug houses?" said community activist Rev. Ronald Wright.

Dallas police had known for months about drug and criminal activity, but in order to open a SAFE case, they have to have at least three documented cases of criminal activity, and then have to sue the owners.

A judge then has to rule to force the owners to board up the home, and that could take months or years.

There is another way to shut drug houses down.

The city could ask the District Attorney to file a forfeiture case because the homes are being used in criminal activity, but that also takes time.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com