NORTH PORT, Fla. - “It’s the neighborhood crack house, plain and simple," says Jennifer Hauser. "It’s the neighborhood drug house. It doesn’t belong in our neighborhood, too many kids here."
She moved to South San Mateo Drive in North Port two years ago from New Jersey looking for a quiet place and safe for her family to live.
“Those of us who pay our bills and mortgage not be the one looking over our shoulders,” says Hauser. “People at the house all hours day and night, mostly midnight to 6 a m.”
A North Port police official agrees.
“There’s drug dealing going on here, drug sales going all hours of day and night, (in) Port Charlotte, North Port, Venice," says Assistant Chief Mike Perfrey. "We haven’t identified them all yet but we will,”
Pelfrey says NPPD has received so many complaints about this home. “Yelling, fighting, dogs barking -- it’s a quality of life issue for the people living here.”
Police stepped up community policing and organized a spontaneous cookout Thursday afternoon.
Pelfrey says the officers donated all the items.
“One had a tent, another went to Walmart and purchased hamburgers, hot dog buns, hot dogs, another had a grill.”
Photos of the cookout went viral on the North Port Police Department’s Facebook page. The officers set up on a wooded lot right of way next to the suspected drug house.
“But we came out in a noninvasive, nonconfrontational way all day cooking burgers, hot dogs, playing cornhole, throwing the football."
And building relationships, he said.
The police presence sent a message to the people in the house.
“We’re putting them on notice—we’re here,” says Pelfrey.
Hauser appreciated the cookout.
“Being here, having that BBQ and the community come out, (that) proved they’re not going anywhere.”