This month, the Texas National Guard is moving into Dallas. They’ll be tearing down a series of abandoned homes and buildings that have known drug ties. While they’ve torn down a reported 1,200 structures in the state, this will be the first time they’ve brought the program to Dallas.
Forty-nine structures are being targeted, according to this Dallas Morning News report. Many of them were once family homes but have fallen into disrepair and are now known hot spots for squatters and addicts, according to the report.
The Guard seems to want to be clear that they are not just tearing down old houses, but that all of the structures have a history of drug use or sales. One, a former furniture store, closed down before being overrun by squatters and robbed of all its copper.
Another, likely with a similar story as many on the list of 49, is owned by a man who couldn’t afford to bring it up to code and couldn’t afford to have it tore down. For him, it’s a “win-win” situation.
The National Guard will come in, tear the structures down, and load up all the debris. Where there was once eyesores within the community, there will be a flat cleared lot. While it may make the communities look nicer, people should be cautious to think that clearing the structures will somehow reduce drug crimes.
Drug crimes are driven by demand. Drug demand is driven largely by addiction. And solving drug addiction is much more complex than tearing down a home.
Within the criminal justice system, however, it seems that treatment and actual solutions to drug addiction often take a backseat to punishment. While this isn’t true in all jurisdictions, the same tough-on-crime approach is still used in many areas.
Sure, if you break a law you should be held accountable. But if you are addicted to drugs, who’s to say you won’t go right back out and do it again? Drug addiction makes people take actions they wouldn’t normally take.
If you are facing criminal charges as a result of a drug offense, you might recognize the fact that you need help. In Texas, if you live in a County with more than 200,000 people you will likely have access to a drug court.
While these courts don’t guarantee you won’t spend time in jail, they are more likely to give you the help you need. You may even qualify for a diversion program—avoiding a criminal record altogether.
If you are charged with possession of a controlled substance or even possession with intent to distribute, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today for more information and a free consultation on your case.