Portland Police Chief James Craig is sending the right message to the drug dealers of Grant Street:

You are not welcome. We will find you and we will arrest you.

The chief’s announcement was the public face of what has been a behind the scenes effort to root out crime in what is often a neglected part of the city.

Drug traffic destroys a neighborhood because the trade is a magnet for other crimes. There is the violence that inevitably results when gangs try to establish and challenge each other’s turf.

And, as has happened on Grant Street, there are also the petty thefts, robberies and prostitution that come from the drug dealers’ customers, who need more money to score. Craig and his officers are right to stand up and say that drug trafficking will not be tolerated in the neighborhood, but it will take more than just the police to make a meaningful effort to stop it.

Neighbors, who know what’s going on outside their doors, should share what they see with the police.

Landlords should keep track of what’s going on in their buildings and know that they have a responsibility to make sure that they are not renting to criminals. If they don’t, the city’s housing officials should enforce ordinances that can cost bad landlords their ability to receive housing vouchers for rent.

This kind of effort will take the whole community’s involvement, and it can’t stop at the first sign of success. Longtime Grant Street residents say the drug dealers had been moved out before, only to return when the police moved on to other priorities.

Chief Craig is right to make Grant Street a priority again, but it will take a whole community effort to succeed this time.