La Crosse residents taking a stand against drugs in their neighborhood

Residents in one La Crosse neighborhood say they’re sick and tired of the drugs and crime going on it their area.

Tuesday night they began putting their heads together at a neighborhood meeting to find a solution to their problems.

Residents between Cass and Main Streets and 21st and Losey Boulevard say there are a few properties nearby that are causing them problems.

Tuesdays night’s meeting is giving them a chance to talk with the La Crosse Police Department, and their neighbors, about the steps to take to get the problem out of their neighborhood.

Emily Bouzek has lived in her La Crosse home for 14 years. She said when she moved in, she loved the neighborhood, but since then things have changed.

“My children have found syringes on the boulevards, we had multiple, you know, a lot of police presence, it’s different,” Bouzek said.

Bouzek said most of her neighbors are still very nice, but there are a few homes that aren’t. And it’s the latter that have her and some of here other neighbors ready to take a stand.

“There’s a lot of kids in this neighborhood, we’ve got two big schools right here and I want my kids to be safe when they’re riding their bikes to and from school everyday,”

Every seat was taken at the Blessed Sacrament Elementary School Tuesday night  while several dozen listen to La Crosse Police Lt. Pat Hogan’s advice on how to solve this problem the neighbors are having.

“It’s a very involved neighborhood, very involved group,” Hogan said.

Hogan said in the spring the police department sees an increase of criminal activity because folks are leaving doors and windows unlocked.

“How being involved as neighbors, watching out for each other and then reporting any sort of suspicious activity that might be going on in the neighborhood and letting us know about it,” Hogan said.

Bouzek said she’s encouraged by her neighbors making a stand because she wants this problem out of her neighborhood.

“It’s a nice neighborhood mostly, we’ve got the elderly service building here, we’ve got a bunch of schools, a lot of young families and I hate to see this kind of activity continue,” Bouzek said.

The group of neighbors has had success in the past with this problem.

Last fall they worked with the city and police department to get enough evidence to close a known drug house in their neighborhood. 

Unfortunately, they said the drug problem hasn’t gotten much better since.

The La Crosse Police Department says about 97 percent of the arrests it makes come from information that the public provides.

Hogan said it made nearly 600 drug-related arrests last year, which is the highest in four years.