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Southwest Tucson neighborhood fights drug problems in parks at night

Posted at 9:35 PM, Mar 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 00:11:49-05

Residents in the Midvale Park neighborhood are asking Tucson Police to help get rid of a problem in their area: people loitering in public parks after dark, doing and dealing drugs.

"We don't want it here in Midvale," neighborhood association president Carol Booty said. "We need to have more of a police presence out here we bring it to their attention, hopefully they can get the staff to put them out here to review."

The topic came up during the Midvale Park Neighborhood Association's monthly meeting, earlier this week. One resident spoke up and told the police officers present at the meeting that he's noticed this problem in both Grijalva Park and Oak Tree Park. 

Booty explained the parks are not very well lit at night -- and she would like to see a bit more of a police presence there to deter people from showing up there to do and deal drugs.

While the residents are hoping police will help out -- many of them are taking to the streets to do some cleanup work themselves. Every Saturday, a group of volunteers in the neighborhood goes from park to park, cleaning them up.

"If it looks nice, you're going to have more families here," Michael Herrier said. "So, it's going to keep the riff raff out of here."

Herrier and Booty feel like they need to do things like this to improve the neighborhood's image -- one that has a reputation of being a place with a lot of crime.

"It's a fallacy," Herrier said. "I've never had any problems here, I love it here. The people are friendly, you've got everything you need here."

At the neighborhood association meeting, Tucson Police gave a presentation on crime statistics in the greater Midvale Park area; the stats were comprable to last month's. There were 6 robberies, 3 aggravated assaults, 6 burglaires, 8 assaults, 4 stolen cars, 23 thefts/larcenies, and 77 shoplifting issues. In Herrier's eyes, these numbers are normal for many neighborhoods in Tucson. He's sick of the stigma that his neighborhood has.

"Do we have problems? Yeah," he said. "Yeah there are issues. But it's issues all over Tucson. When they single out the Midvale Park area? No, no, no, no -- I think Midvale is a nice place to live."