(KMOV) -- One prosecutor is cracking down on crime by targeting eyesores.
“These are just part of the bigger picture of the crime and corruption going on in the community.” said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly of several dilapidated properties in the Metro-East town of Brooklyn.
Kelly has now charged seven people for dumping in Brooklyn, including two women in their 80s.
Both the prosecutor and the chief of police told News 4, they’re taking broad approaches to combating crime.
Looking around at yards littered with debris and buildings collapsing, Kelly said what begins just as trash, often turns into real trouble.
“Do you think crimes actually occur on these properties?” asked News 4’s Lauren Trager.
“Sure, sure, any of these abandoned properties are magnets for gun crimes, for drugs for prostitution, it just says anything goes, the law is not enforced here,” Kelly said.
There’s no doubt, this town needs a turn-around.
“I’m really, really concerned about my guys on the streets,” said Police Chief Tony Tomlinson.
Chief Tomlinson is worried especially about guns. He said he, too, is trying different tactics.
How are you combating that problem?” Trager asked. “We are really, really aggressive on traffic. Just for last month, it netted us 16 guns,” Chief Tomlinson said.
Going after illegal dumpers, Kelly said, has worked elsewhere.
But, neighbors said one woman charged for trash is in her 80’s and doesn’t even live in her home anymore.
Kelly said by prosecuting, they may learn it was someone else creating the eyesore.
“People that are deliberately allowing the conditions to continue, we have to do what we have to do,” he said.
He believes targeting trash will make the streets safer.