GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- People in one Denison neighborhood say they are sick and tired of picking up used needles and syringes out of their yards. They have tried to get nearby property owners to put a stop to it, but it is still happening and homes are being vandalized. Now they are worried about their families' health and safety.
Both law enforcement and residents tell me the 4600 block of Highway 91 in Denison has been a hot spot for drug activity. In fact, just Friday, the Grayson County Sheriff's Office says a deputy collected a bunch of paraphernalia from the area, and they are increasing patrols to try to put a stop to it.
A property owner near the Texoma Motel, who did not want to be identified says he has been in the area for more than two years and is fed up with finding drug paraphernalia in his yard.
"Glass pipes, lots of syringes, miscellaneous plastic bags with residue of narcotics inside them that's tested positive," a property owner said.
He says he has taught his children not to touch those objects, but says it could just be a matter of time before another child mistakes the debris for a toy.
"Lets play doctor and the next thing you know some child has aids or hepatitis, and looking at liver transplant because of an innocent mistake on a discarded drug paraphernalia," a property owner said.
Sgt. Ricky Wheeler with the Grayson County Sheriff's Office says they make dozens of arrests in the area each year.
"We've served search warrants there. We've had drug labs there. We've had assaults, sexual assaults, shootings, stabbings, a little bit of everything goes on there," Sgt. Wheeler said.
He says just this month deputies have made at least five arrests at the Texoma Motel.
"Our deputies do drive by there on a regular basis," Sgt. Wheeler said.
Bhavna Patel says she has owned the motel for more than 30 years. She says the drug use in and around the motel has gotten worse and she's trying to put a stop to the crime.
"We are trying to stop as much we can. We try to call the sheriff if we see any problems like this," Patel said.
She says she tries to run a clean business and that she wants to put a stop to the crime that goes on there because it affects her family too.
"Half of the time they try to flush it down, you know, and that's even more a problem. Problem for us to be, got to redo the whole bathroom, like taking of the commode."
Property owners say they hope authorities will find a better way to tackle the issue so they can stay in the area.
"We've already considered moving, but the property values right now prohibit sale. I'd be in the hole to sale this place," a property owner said.
Sgt. Wheeler says all the Sheriff's Office can do is respond to calls and increase patrols, which they plan to do. However, he says every resident should watch his or her neighborhood and if you see criminal activity going on report it.