Monday, August 25, 2008

Berks D.A. targets landlords where drug deals occur

The City of Reading has a drug problem. The City of Reading has a crime problem. The City of Reading has an absentee landlord problem.

All three are related, says Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams, who has announced he will go after landlords who rent to drug dealers.

Drug dealers need a place to conduct their business. They often rent homes or apartments in the city. Their landlords are often out-of-state and don't particularly care what happens in their properties as long as the rent is paid on time.

That's about to change under Adam's new crackdown. Adams is mailing letters to landlords where drug activities have occurred, according to a story in the Reading Eagle by reporter Holly Herman.

Adams will provide tips to landlords for screening tenants. He is also putting landlords on notice that if one of their tenants is arrested for drug dealing, the D.A.'s office will move against the landlord to confiscate the property.

"We are not just going to sit back and prosecute cases," Adams told Herman. "We want to improve the quality of life in Berks County. The landlords are being put on notice that drug dealing will not be tolerated."

Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.

Adams has been in office since January, having ousted four-term District Attorney Mark Baldwin in one of the biggest political upsets in county history.

Adams used to work for Baldwin and won the Democratic nomination last spring to run against the Republican D.A. even though Adams was a registered Republican. Adams' proactive approach to crime-fighting contrasts with Baldwin's laid-back approach.

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