BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Guns, drugs including the notorious fentanyl, and stolen cars are a few of the things that were confiscated in the most recent police sweep of a neighborhood that now seems to be a major foothold for crime.
Within this month, 47 arrests have been made in the motel area at the intersection of Olive and Knudsen Drive.
The first two weeks of July started off with the Kern County Sherriff Department launching sweeps on the criminal presence on Olive Drive near highway 99.
Crime and homelessness are deeply rooted within this neighborhood.
“This is a community where everyone knows each other and everyone has known each other since childhood and on up,” Chrissy Preston a homeless person on Olive Drive said.
Preston said crime happens everywhere in Bakersfield but that it’s this neighborhood’s culture.
The majority of people that talked with us who live in this area said they do not feel safe because of the drug dealers, active prostitution, and homeless people who have taken over a neighborhood, that they said wasn’t always so bad.
Kern County Sheriff Donny Yongblood said the area has been a hotspot for the homeless and a base for illegal activity off and on for years.
“We’re doing these sweeps knowing that some of them won’t be kept in jail very long,” Sherriff Youngblood said. “Some have some severe mental health issues. Some have severe drug issues. We’re trying to keep these people on the move.”
Youngblood said this doesn’t only affect residents but businesses too.
“Due to the hotel over there there’s a lot of bad activity that happens,” Samantha Works the Assistant Manager of Brazilian Muscle Bowls said. “I do feel bad for the owners too because they are just losing sales if the bad activity continues in the area because they are just going to go down in sales and our customers are going to continue being afraid to come into the store.”
Sheriff Youngblood said the sweeps will not stop until they see a decrease in criminal activity which they said hasn’t happened yet.