Residents have mixed views about Daytona’s Operation Clean Streets.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Local law enforcement revealed Operation Clean Streets last week to get drugs off the streets.
During the original roundup, nine suspects were arrested and taken into custody.
The operation was conducted by the Daytona Beach Police Departments’ Narcotic team along with its Special Weapons & Tactics (SWAT) and Crime Suppression Team (CST) units.
As of the Daytona Times’ Wednesday night deadline, the operation had snagged 28 out of 41 suspects.
Drugs recovered thus far include cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and MMDA (ecstasy/molly).
The operation has also taken firearms off the streets that were reported stolen in both Volusia and Flagler counties.
“This was a successful operation. These open drug sales bring violence and affect the quality of life for all citizens which effects our community’s safety,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri.
Police say the operation came about from numerous complaints from residents within the city limits.
Capri emphasized, “We can’t do it without community support or partnership; without it we are ineffective. We have worked over the last decade in this city to build relationships, be accessible and show transparency.”
There are people in the community who are tired and support the operation.
“The older citizens in our community are fed up with the drug activity. They are tired of finding drug bags in their yards and cars pulling up in their yards then cursing them out when they tell them to leave,” said Norma Poole Bland, a longtime community activist.
A few residents who wanted to comment declined out of safety concerns for family and friends. However, they see the benefits and downside of such busts, which often affect the Black community disproportionately.
One woman who took the time to speak with the Daytona Times doesn’t see the effectiveness.
“I support fighting crime, however, I don’t think these drug stings work. When one set of drug dealers get off the streets, a new set comes in and take their place. Every time the big dealers are taken into custody, one of the smaller dealers end up stepping in and taking their place,’’ she related.
A man who did speak to the Times anonymously said that effectiveness only goes so far.
“They only work when the community helps law enforcement, which is a good thing. On the flip side, I feel because of this bust, you look at the situation. Now you have more than 20 people around town running.
“They also put people safety in danger by being on the run. Some would do anything to getaway. Unfortunately, if nobody helps, they run forever.”
Law enforcement is aware of the rise of new dealers.
Capri noted, “We know this is only a short-term solution, but we try to break the cycle. As long as there is a supply for drugs, there will be a demand for drugs. Drugs are a big problem in the United States. We would all like to see the day that it is not. Drugs are destroying people, families and lives.”
Another reason to get drugs off the streets is the effect that it is having on youth.
Bland stated, “The young kids are picking up on the bad habits. They are rolling up leaves inside of blunts and pretending like they are smoking marijuana. The drugs are killing our children, especially because of what is in these drugs.”
More operations are in the works to clean up the streets.
“We will be stepping up operations. We have more planned throughout the year,” Capri added.