National News

Police try to improve neighborhood known for drugs

Posted July 28

— Just a month out from the opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, CBS46 is exploring a community some consider a forgotten neighborhood, just steps from the gates of the shiny new Atlanta landmark.

Parts of English Avenue and Vine City have long been known to many as The Bluff, and CBS46 found that there are two very different stories to tell.

In the shadow of burgeoning hope lies a neighborhood full of despair. The Bluff is known infamously across the country because of YouTube and music videos. Drug addicts and former addicts say it's a hot spot for heroin, meth, cocaine and whatever is your pleasure.

It's the place in Atlanta to buy and sell drugs, and also one of the most dangerous places in the city.

But it hasn't always been that way.

Quancella has grown up in The Bluff and says it is not as bad as it's portrayed.

"They always say The Bluff is this, The Bluff is that. It's not like that, it's not a bad area," says Quancella. "People try to carry on like it is, but it's not."

Atlanta police patrol the area vigorously and see promise. They've implemented a Westside security plan to try and stabilize the neighborhood. The plan has been in place for a year, and Atlanta police says crime is down 38 percent in English Avenue and Vince City. And by 2020, the force plans to build 25 homes to increase the number of officers who actually live in the neighborhood.

"It's changing slowly," says pastor Tim Rodgers. "I'd love to see it persevere for those who've lived here as things change."

But that change isn't happening fast enough.

Josh is from Johns Creek, and in high school he would make the drive from the suburbs to The Bluff to get high and sometimes sleep in abandoned houses. He's now clean, sober and helping other kids beat their addiction.

But Brandon says every day is a struggle for him, and getting high in The Bluff is still a fact of life.

And still, somehow hope in The Bluff perseveres.

As hope continues in The Bluff, the Atlanta Police Foundation is set to cut the ribbon on the state-of-the-art Promise Youth Center at the beginning of August.

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