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DIGGING DEEPER: Police cracking down on criminal element at De Anza Park

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A park just north of downtown Tucson is set for a major turnaround, following years of complaints from neighbors and businesses in the area.

Anza Park, also known as De Anza Park, is located at Stone Avenue and Speedway Boulevard at the gateway to Downtown and The University of Arizona.

For decades, the park has been known as a hot-spot for drug dealers, and people experiencing homelessness.

Over the past several years, Tucson Police say they have been focusing their efforts on criminal elements in the park, including people dealing methamphetamine and other drugs.

The Digging Deeper team has learned that authorities recently served a search warrant on a man who may have been responsible for more than 100 drug deals in the park per day.

Janet Labate, who lives near De Anza Park tells News 4 Tucson, she is extremely happy to see the recent turnaround.

"It's a miraculous transformation. I'm loving it." Labate told News 4 Tucson.

Along with officer from TPD's Mental Health Support Team, the department's Park Safety Team have also been focused on De Anza Park.

Officers are also stressing the importance of community involvement in helping to make the park safe for everyone.

"When you have the public in a park, the folks doing the bad stuff and the bad element, they don't want to be near you, because they know you'll call TPD," Officer Jennifer Hider with TPD's Park Safety Team told News 4 Tucson.

De Anza Park is set to receive several improvements funded by the Tucson Delivers bond package over the next several years.

Improvements to the park, including ramadas, restrooms, and a dog park are currently in the design phase.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

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