City Boards Up House For Repeated Drug Activity

By Tony Hyatt

(LOUISVILLE, January 23rd, 2003, 4:55 p.m.) -- Louisville Metro police say they have closed down a center of drug activity and gambling on the city's west end. Using a city ordinance that forces landlords to be responsible for criminal activity on their property, a crack house has been boarded up. Tony Hyatt reports.

The house at 647 South 39th looks like a nice home on the outside, but it got an unexpected remodeling job on Thursday -- by police. And it wasn't the kind of remodeling that would make living there comfortable. Instead the home was boarded up to keep people out.

"This is the third property within a year-and-a-half that we went to the extreme and boarded the property up," said Caroline Fletcher with the City Inspections Department. "And that is because we were not getting any compliance with the property owner to abate the situation."

Police say there have been four arrests there, and that allowed them to use the city's ordinance to shut the house down.

On Thursday, police say they found stolen property, drugs and even indications of the kind of gambling you might not expect.

"At any given time, you could knock on the front door of this residence and get crack cocaine," said Tim Murphy with Louisville Metro Police. You could watch a dog fight, you could make bets on the dog fight. Like I said, this went on for a period of three years.

If that sounds surprising to you, it was even bigger surprise to the son of the home's owner, Carl Rodgers. He told police he had no idea the extent of the activity in this property, and said he has no problem with what police were doing.

"Yes, yes -- keep those fools out of there," Rodgers said. "Dad would go crazy if he found out about this."

Police believe that with the merger of the government houses in similar conditions in the county will now be targeted in an effort to clean up problem drug areas all over Jefferson County.

The county had enforcement in the past, but not the kind of law that the city has been operating under since 1997.

Online Reporter: Tony Hyatt

Online Producer: Michael Dever