COPY-Council approves measure to crack down on gangs

LAWTON--Gangs and graffiti are bigger problems than ever in Lawton. Tuesday night, the council took a big step toward getting them under control.  Council members expanded the definition of a public nuisance to include graffiti.   That means, if homeowners don't take care of it in a timely manner, the property could be demolished by the city.

Officials say this is just one tool they are providing to help homeowners and police crack down on suspected gang members.   "We're going to make it as difficult as we can on drug dealers gang members or any other criminals to live in this town," Councilman Keith Jackson said.

The old public nuisance ordinance primarily covered overgrown grass, as well as rundown and abandoned houses.  The expansion will cover gang-related graffiti on houses, and other types of criminal activity.  Both the city and police department say they want to help landlords with troublesome tenants.  Tonight's action by the council means the city will be able to back homeowners up by evicting suspected gang members.