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DIGGING DEEPER: Neighborhood nightmare starting to improve

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TUCSON - The Drexel Heights neighborhood has had its share of problems, including discarded drug needles in plain sight where children play and homeless people breaking into abandoned homes.

That was the case three months ago.

Cody Reasons, one of the residents, had had enough, so he contacted News 4 Tucson.

When the Digging Deeper Team first saw the conditions of the neighborhood, it was frightening. 

Reasons told us he found a loaded pistol on the ground near his house that he shares with his mother and two children.

Originally, he complained to News 4 Tucson that the county was not cleaning up their area and it was causing a health hazard.

Reasons also complained law enforcement was not being proactive.

Today, he said it's a different story.

 “There has been a big turnaround," Reasons recently told News 4 Tucson.   "We've had the county come out and do some cleanup.”

He pointed out to News 4 Tucson the area that's closest to his house where the majority of illegal activity was taking place.

 “Since they've cleaned this area up, you can actually see, no one hides," Reasons told the Digging Deeper team. "They can't hang out and do their shooting up or smoke their whatever."

The Pima County Sheriff's Department had cleaned up the neighborhood, Reasons added.

“One of our main concerns were the drug usage and the people going around. A lot of the traffic has mellowed out you still get a straggler here and there not as many,” Reasons said.

Those issues were concerning for Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elias as well.  

Reasons lives in District 5, the area Elias represents. 

News 4 Tucson spoke with Elias when we were first working on our investigation.

“I am going to contact the Sheriff's Department, and talk about increased patrols and not just responding to calls but patrolling the area more carefully,” Elias told News 4 Tucson.

So have the patrols increased?

 “I would say they've improved drastically.  Just by saying the Sheriff's Department has raided a couple of houses in the neighborhood," Reasons said. "You see them periodically drive up and down the road which is good.  That's what we need."

PCSD told News 4 Tucson back in September that they welcome residents like Cody Reasons to be the eyes and ears for them

As much as the department would like to, they can't be everywhere. 

We asked Reasons on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest how would he rate the improvements?  He said a seven or an eight.

Paul Birmingham

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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