Judge closes Frankford-area home

Delaware Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III announced on Thursday, Nov. 19, that the Delaware Department of Justice had secured the closure of a property near Frankford under Delaware’s Nuisance Abatement Act. At the Department’s request a Superior Court judge closed 28565 Blueberry Lane, Biden announced.

“This property is a poster child for how drug crime and violence destabilizes neighborhoods and threatens the safety of our families,” Biden stated. “We will continue to take aggressive action against property owners anywhere in Delaware who allow crime to flourish and bring down the quality of life.”

At a hearing on Nov. 19 in Sussex County Superior Court, the Department of Justice provided evidence that the property had been the site of constant drug trafficking, gambling activity and violence over a period of several years. Among the activities at the property were an armed robbery during which shots were fired in the presence of an 8-year-old child, a stabbing and a drive-by shooting during which bullets entered the house and hit a couch in the presence of 6-month-old and 2-year-old children.

Since October 2004, the AG’s office said, police had visited the property at least 18 times to apprehend fugitives believed to be on-site.

Judge T. Henley Graves agreed that the property presented an immediate threat to the public, health, safety and welfare and issued a temporary abatement order shuttering the property and banning anyone from the premises.

The AG’s office noted that it had received active support and cooperation in the case from the Delaware State Police, the Governor’s Task Force, residents and state Rep. John Atkins, whose district includes the property.

In August 2007, Biden launched a statewide effort to combat crime in Delaware under the state’s Drug Nuisance and Social Vices Abatement Act. Under the Nuisance Abatement Act, enforcement actions can take a variety of forms, including closure of a property. The Delaware Department of Justice identifies nuisance properties up and down Delaware through its own investigations and in cooperation with state and local police agencies, local authorities, civic associations and neighborhood residents.

Through its enforcement actions, the Department gives property owners the choice of voluntarily cooperating to clean up the illegal activity or defending themselves in court and being forced to clean up the crime by court order.