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Officers arrest 106 in crime sweep

Authorities target a range of offenses in two city neighborhoods.

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002

TAMPA -- Law enforcement officers combed the Robles Park and Belmont Heights communities Thursday, making more than 100 arrests in a three-day crime sweep that ends today.

"This is an ongoing initiative to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood," said Tampa police Chief Bernie Holder, standing outside the Ragan Park Community Center on Lake Avenue. "This is an area where we've received a lot of complaints."

Holder said the 106 arrests made as of Thursday afternoon include 67 misdemeanors and 39 felonies on charges ranging from prostitution to drug violations. He said 167 traffic citations also were issued.

The sweep marks the latest in a series of operations that have taken place about six weeks apart in various parts of the city, many along the Nebraska Avenue corridor.

Tampa police officers teamed with sheriff's deputies, the state Department of Corrections and the city's code enforcement office.

"(Citizens) say how good it makes them feel to know the police are there," said Tampa police Capt. H.D. Miller. "They feel better about their neighborhood."

Holder said he plans to continue the sweeps in the future, targeting "quality of life" issues that make the neighborhoods more livable.

"We feel we are doing some good," Holder said. "We're not going to change things overnight, but there is a message we're trying to send: We're not going to go away."

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