LAKELAND, Fla. - For the second time in as many months, the City of Lakeland shut down a drug house linked to violent crime.
The city is using its nuisance abatement board to close down problematic homes for a full year to help cleanup the community.
"They were a nuisance and a danger to everyone here," said Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department about the home at 1220 Wright Dr. in Lakeland. "The landlord were notified about this but they refused to take action, so we did."
In the last year, undercover officers linked the home to at least two murders and several drive-by shootings.
Now, it's labeled a drug house and will remain boarded up for the next year.
"At last, it's about time," said a neighbor named Mary, who is too scared to give her full name or show her face.
Part of this effort is to make the neighborhoods safer for people just like Mary.
"They can sleep good tonight knowing that they're not going to have a bunch of rift raff, drug dealers running down the street all night," Gross said.
Many people who live around the drug house said the landlords are to blame as much as the people they rent to.
"As long as they get the first of the month rent paid, they're satisfied," said Reese King, who lives down the street. "What they need to do actually is find out where these kids work, if they work at all."
A quick background check of one of the men police arrested at the drug house last year would have been a big red flag.
We checked and found that Ferndell Bouie has been arrested 25 times in Polk County -- 16 of those on drug charges.
The two owners of the home did not show up or respond to the city's nuisance abatement hearing and their phones also appear to be disconnected.
King hopes this helps others speak up to get drug houses shut down.
"We need to open up our mouths and tell the truth. These kids need help," he said.