PORTLAND — Police Chief James Craig on Monday brought visibility to an ongoing effort to clean up the Parkside neighborhood – of both trash and crime.

Craig, in the 100 block of Grant Street, said that for the past two months police and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency have teamed up to crack down on crime.

“This is a multi-layered effort to take back the neighborhood,” he said, promising that drug dealers will be found and arrested, and negligent building owners will be sanctioned.

Craig was joined Monday by officers assigned to Parkside and by state and local officials representing the neighborhood.

During the past two months, police and MDEA agents have made 18 arrests in the neighborhood, Craig said, ranging from street robberies to prostitution. They have also confiscated two weapons, 42 grams of crack cocaine, 10 grams of cocaine and 30 bags of heroin. The confiscated drugs have a street value of more than $5,600.

The effort to clean up the neighborhood also involves removing trash and abandoned furniture from sidewalks and repairing decrepit apartment buildings.

“Sometimes when you have broken windows, when you have trash out front, it sends a message that this is an OK place to (deal drugs),” the chief said.

City Councilor Dave Marshall, who represents District 2, said the city’s Public Services Department and the Parkside Neighborhood Association have been working to address the trash issue and other quality-of-life problems.

Craig added that landlords are losing tenants because of the criminal activity in the neighborhood. “I’ve worked in these (kinds of) communities before,” he said, “and taken them back.”

Portland police and drug agents continue to investigate and perform undercover operations in the Grant Street neighborhood, Craig said.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or [email protected]

City Councilor David Marshall speaks at a press conference Monday on Grant Street, where he joined other elected officials and Police Chief James Craig to promote an ongoing effort to eradicate drug dealing and other illegal activity in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood.

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