photo credit: Shelby
County District Attorney General
Drug Dealers Have
No Home in Memphis
County District Attorney General’s office is hard at work in partnership with the
police and the business community to manage specific initiatives that help
create a safe community. One key program that has existed for 17 years is the
Drug Dealer Eviction Program (DDEP).
just as it sounds, evicts arrested drug dealers and, in best case scenarios,
keeps them on the run and unable to rent housing in another part of the city.
“It takes just one dealer to destroy a neighborhood,” said Commissioner Bill
Gibbons, TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Memphis Fast
Forward’s Chairman of Operation: Safe Community. The DDEP receives information
every week day from the police department about drug-related arrests. One of
three actions can be taken to remove a dealer from an apartment community –
first, the tenant may choose to voluntarily leave upon receiving a letter. If
that doesn’t happen, the landlord may file eviction action. If that is not
done, the state also has the authority to file eviction action.
is to send a clear, strong message that Memphis is not a friendly place for
drug dealers and they will not be allowed to take up residence in our apartment
communities,” continued Commissioner Gibbons.
March 2013, 3,693 convicted dealers have been removed from apartment
communities through the DDEP.
prevention side, the DDEP’s newest tool aims to engage apartment owners and
managers in the process of stopping dealers before they have a chance to move
into a community. The “DDEP Database” became available just this year under the
leadership of Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich and is a
publicly accessible, online system for property managers to search prospective
tenant names and determine if they have been involved in a drug-related removal
from a rental property.
owners are the key to success in using the DDEP Database as a prevention
measure,” said GeneralWeirich. “We know this tool has already stopped dealers
from moving into our neighborhoods, and we’re really encouraged by the number
of landlords who have already stepped up to be involved in the DDEP and who are
spreading the word to their peers in the community.”
Database is accessible by visiting the Shelby County District Attorney General website (scroll to the bottom of the page).
apartment complexes often serving as mini communities of their own, engaging
property owners and managers in issues of crime, safety and economic
development is an imperative piece of Memphis Fast Forward’s comprehensive plan
to accelerate economic prosperity and quality of life.
why Operation: Safe Community, an initiative of Memphis Fast Forward, is an
advocate of the DA Office’s new DDEP Database and has elevated expansion of the
database to one of 15 priorities in 2013.
program to the DDEP, called Project Safeways, uses a complimentary “Anti-Trespass policy” to help address the
full cycle of drug activity in rental properties. “The philosophy of the
Anti-Trespass Initiative is that apartment communities are strictly for
law-abiding tenants and their invited guests,” explained General Weirich. “If
you don’t fall into one of those two categories, you probably don’t belong
has helped prevent drug buyers, thieves, gang members and other destructive
types of people from being accepted on rental community property. “Between
being able to make arrests for trespassing and being able to evict people for
selling drugs, law enforcement and property owners are working together to
clean up and turn around our neighborhoods,” General Weirich concluded.
of the DDEP Database is part of Operation: Safe Community’s Goal Three: to Reduce
Blight, Problem Properties and Crimes in Apartment Complexes.
information on this story or Operation: Safe Community generally, please
contact Michelle Fowlkes, Memphis Shelby Crime Commission Executive Director,
one of five pillars in the Memphis Fast Forward strategy, Operation: Safe Community is
complemented by PeopleFirst Partnership, Growth Alliance, Healthy Shelby
and Government Fiscal Strength to
achieve collective impact toward economic prosperity and quality of life in the
greater Memphis region.