(WBIR-Knoxville) This week marks the 45th nuisance closure in Knox County in 4 years.
The latest was Thursday, when police boarded up a home in North Knoxville following a string of incidents involving prescription pills. The District Attorney General's office said the home was a haven for criminal activity.
12 bars and clubs, 6 gas stations, 14 houses, 2 motels, 5 massage parlors, and much more. The DA's office said 45 businesses have been shut down in Knoxville under the nuisance law since 2010.
"We look at a variety of aspects," said Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorney. "Calls for service, the number of times police officers are called to the scene to look at crimes. We get citizen complaints from community members, neighbors of certain properties."
The DA's office said 37 of the 45 properties have been permanently closed. 5 had a conditional reopen, 3 were forfeited, and 3 cases are pending.
"There have been a few that we felt appropriate to allow them to reopen back up with certain conditions and those properties have been thriving," McDermott said. "One of the properties, a motel, was the scene of hundreds of calls for service. KPD says those calls have reduced dramatically since the nuisance closure."
One of the properties, Mickey T's off of North Central Street, was known for its ongoing drug problem. It was closed, demolished, and taken over by the Helen Ross McNabb Center.
"It was demolished and turned into a green space and a bus stop so that people fighting their addiction didn't have to walk past the very demons they were battling," said McDermott.
One property in the Knoxville area has been closed down twice and now a brand new business has taken its place.
"Smile's Spa was closed in September of 2013 for activities involving prostitution inside the massage parlor. That was a permanent closure that was ordered by the court," said McDermott. "KPD later received a complaint that a few months later in January, the same activity was going on."
A business can be considered a nuisance for many reasons. This includes prostitution, drug use, and even fighting. Authorities said they will continue to use the nuisance law whenever they deem necessary.
"General Nichols has stated that this is one of the most successful programs that he has seen in his 22 years as the head of the District Attorney's office," McDermott said.
The DA's office said they have seen an estimated 85% reduction in crime after they close a property with a nuisance injunction.