TPD, city to clear out De Anza Park

Safety concerns at DeAnza Park
A syringe was found on the playground at De Anza Park. Source: Tucson News Now .
A syringe was found on the playground at De Anza Park. Source: Tucson News Now .
A man was asleep on top of the bathroom at De Anza Park Wednesday. Source: Tucson News Now.
A man was asleep on top of the bathroom at De Anza Park Wednesday. Source: Tucson News Now.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Drugs, dangerous behavior and downright dirty conditions.

That's how residents around De Anza Park off Stone Avenue and Speedway Boulevard described the public park.

"Sex and drugs, and people doing it in the playground," Erica Williams said. "Yeah, the conditions make parents not want to bring their kids here, because I wouldn't want my kids stepping on anything that is not safe."

Williams said she stopped bringing her children to the park after finding some drug paraphernalia near the playground.

She is not the only one fed up. Neighbors and business owners filled a community meeting with Tucson police on Thursday, Aug. 9, to talk about the problem.

Residents shared their concerns of drug use and sales going on at the park, as well as people defecating in public and violent fights or behavior.

"I don't see families there, I don't see people using the playground equipment, they don't feel safe there," said Captain Diana Duffy, with TPD's Operation Division West.

Officers presented the meeting with a five phase outline of a 'De Anza Parks Quality of Life Police Initiative." The plan includes community input, increased patrols at and around the park and providing services for people who stay at the park for extended periods of time.

The increased presence is expected to to begin by the end of the month, with "fair and consistent enforcement."

"Our goal is to make the park safe, our goal is to offer services for some people who are there all day long, maybe they have some needs, reference addiction, mental health issues, so our goal is to offer them help, offer them services. Ultimately, clean up the park and make it a community park again," said Duffy.

"Ideally, we will identify any organization or group to "adopt" the park.  The goal would be for the adopting entity to coordinate regulate community events at the park to keep the community involved."

The final phase includes area beautification and maintenance with the city's Parks and Recreation Department. That could include adding basketball or tennis courts, improving bathrooms or installing soccer goals.

The initiative is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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