In a city fueled by drug crimes, Holyoke police Chief James Neiswanger says the only way to make a difference is to aggressively go after the offenders.
"A lot of times that is actually arresting the end user, the junkie and using him to get to his source, and then you move to another source and then another source," he said.
The Holyoke and state police have made two high-profile drug stings in two weeks, the last one culminating after 10 months of investigation.
Neiswanger says his narcotics department is working on dozens of cases at any one time.
"It would be great to have a whole office staff to work on one case at a time but that isn't the reality."
Neiswanger says the reality is hundreds of hours of surveillance and investigation must be put in to take down drug rings that are connected to 75 percent of the crime in the city.
Two weeks ago, multiple agencies and the Holyoke PD busted 556 South Bridge St., targeting alleged members of the La Familia gang.
"If you go down to 556 South Bridge today, after we were down there a couple weeks ago as far as the drug market, it's kind of a ghost town down there right now," Neiswanger said.
And when the drug crimes decrease, Neiswanger says so too does the violent crime, including murders.
The last time the city saw a murder was in 2011.
"I really think we're all looking for the same thing and the same thing is a better Holyoke," Neiswanger said.
Neiswanger says the end goal is to make the city safe enough so that business owners will want to start moving back into the downtown area to create more job growth.
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