Public nuisance law requires patience, teamwork

LAWTON-- Drive-by shootings, gang violence and stabbings.  Some neighborhoods across Lawton are saying enough already with violence.  People are calling 7 News telling us they are tired of all the drug traffic, loud music and late-night visitors.

Tammie Blackburn has lived in this west Lawton  for about a year.  Now she's on a mission to clean it up.  She hears yelling, cussing, fighting and even gunshots in her neighborhood.  The trouble makers scatter once police show up but once the cops are gone they are back at it.

Lawton Deputy Police Chief James Apple says although the Lawton city council passed a public nuisance ordinance last year, it takes time and help from the community for the law to work.  He says it takes more than one phone call or report on an address to get the place declared a nuisance.

Police say taking pictures, using video cameras and getting tag numbers are a big help as long as your not putting yourself at risk.

Officers say for them to take action they must witness a crime taking place or have a witness to the crime.  If they don't have somebody who wants to be the reporting party and is willing to testify if a case goes to court then it's hard to prove.

One program that's worked in many Lawton neighborhoods is Neighborhood Watch. You can start your own with just a block, school or several blocks.  If you want more information on how to set one up, contact the Lawton Police Department.