Community is part of solution

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adams County Supervisor Henry Watts is right that something must be done about the alleged drug problem in the Roselawn subdivision.

Almost every taxpayer-paid official who should know something about the matter agreed last week that drug problems exist there.

Critics point to Watts’ interest in the problems as having questionable motivations since he’s up for re-election next year and he owns rental property in the subdivision.

Regardless of Watts’ motivation, the fact that he’s bringing up the matter in the first place is to be commended. Perhaps the attention will help some.

But so far the ideas that have been thrown out as solutions seem to fall short of the real problem.

Requesting extra police presence in the area may help, but narcotics officers will tell you that today’s drug dealers are much more difficult to catch in the act.

Technology — prepaid cell phones and text messaging for example — can facilitate transactions in which the buyer and seller never actually lay eyes on one another.

Other plans discussed include banning all “attack dogs” in the city limits and holding rental property owners responsible for tenants who owners know to be engaged in criminal activity.

Both of those sound good on paper, but both seem extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reasonably and accurately enforce. Ultimately, the solution will be two-fold and may be much more difficult to accomplish.

First, residents will have to get fed up enough to want to change their neighborhoods and not be afraid to call the law and report illegal activity.

Second, the criminal justice system must be aggressive in arresting and prosecuting these drug criminals.