Chronic drug dealing and other illegal activities cause neighborhood deterioration. By the same token, blighted conditions often precede drug houses and their associated activities.
The Jacksonville Drug Abatement Response Team (DART) was established in January 1996 to combat illegal drugs in Jacksonville by focusing on the property where drug activity flourishes. Working with landlords/property owners, the team develops strategies and marshals resources to reduce drug activity.
The team has at its core the Municipal Code Compliance Division and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. It also can call on the resources of Behavioral and Human Services, Animal Care and Protective Services, Community Development, JEA, the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, the Property Appraiser's Office, the Department of Children and Families, and the Fire Marshall's office.
All property owners have an obligation to maintain properties in a way that fosters community pride and shows respect for all the residents. One neglected property on a block encourages deterioration which spreads rapidly through the surrounding area.
Landlord/property owner actions include
bringing property up to code
cooperating with neighbors
making physical improvements to the property
If a landlord/property owner is uncooperative, DART may apply Florida Public Nuisance Statute 823.05, which provides that buildings used for drug activities are public nuisances and damages may be recovered from the property owner.
While the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are committed to controlling crime and preventing the resulting decline in property values, they cannot turn things around in Jacksonville without the active participation of property owners, tenants, and neighbors.
Landlords must learn to manage properties to prevent illegal activity and must make a commitment to immediate action when it begins.
Neighbors must learn to recognize signs of illegal activity and report it. Owners and neighbors are encouraged to work with DART to form Neighborhood Watch groups and become familiar with their neighborhoods.
The City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office have intensified efforts aimed at drug house activities.
Property owners, whether they reside in or rent the property, have an obligation to the neighborhood where the property is located to ensure that the property is an asset to the community not a liability, enhancing not diminishing quality of life within the area. If we all work together, the majority of Jacksonville's neighborhoods which provide desirable living places will continue to do so, and troubled areas will become safe, family neighborhoods.
To report a property for possible Drug Abatement Response Team (D.A.R.T.) investigation, please contact Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-7482. You may remain anonymous.