CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Gary, Indiana has called in the National Guard and for good reason.
As CBS 2’s Dorthy Tucker reports, the soldiers are helping the city fight drugs, by tearing down abandoned houses.
The sound of crushing the walls of abandoned houses is welcoming to neighbors like Jason Gaffney.
CBS: What’s it like to watch these houses finally come down?
“It’s a blessing,” Gaffney said.
Each blow signals the end of 15 years of torture for residents forced to live just doors from empty havens for drugs and crime.
CBS: What have you seen in these abandoned homes?
“I’ve seen coming in and out, using it as a flop house, using it as prostitution,” Gaffney said.
The demolition is courtesy of the Indiana National Guard. A $125,000 federal grant pays for their services. Another $25,000 paid for the equipment. And in an ironic twist, that money came from drug dealers.
“There might be cash seized, vehicles and guns as a a result of drug cases,” said Major General Courtney Carr, Indiana National Guard. “So in essence we’re talking drug money used to get rid of drug houses.”
Fifteen houses are on the crushing block. Three were done Thursday, three on Friday and the rest will be demolished by the end of the month.
Also lending support to the project is Indiana Senator Todd Young.
“It’s now available for someone to move in to either start a business or build a home,” Young said.
Another benefit to the demolition like this is it is good training for the soldiers. The National Guard is often called to help in clean up after a hurricane or tornado and this is good practice for them.