The Texas National Guard will demolish 49 vacant structures in Dallas as part of a program to rid neighborhoods of drug havens, reports the Dallas Morning News. The Guard’s counterdrug task force has torn down more than 1,200 structures since the early 1990s. This will be the first time the Guard has done it in Dallas. “They not only are able to provide a service to the community, but at the same time they are able to train on the equipment they are assigned to operate, giving them the opportunity to sharpen their skills,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Kendrick, a Guard spokesman.
“We’re not going in and taking down old eyesores just because somebody wants to take them down,” Kendrick said. “The house has to have a history of drug use attached to it.” Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has long complained about the blight of crumbling, boarded-up houses in southern Dallas. “The great majority are eventually turned into drug houses because they sit there, and they’re only attractive to those people who are looking for stash houses, and homeless folks and drug addicts,” he said. “They are the houses of absentee landlords and people who no longer want to or have the desire to take care of their properties.” The demolition is scheduled to begin early next month.