Group wants to close north Charlotte road as part of effort to reduce crime

Group wants to shut down problem road

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - What do you do when a road in a neighborhood has become busy with crime, and acts as the back road that some criminals use to come and go?

If you’re Greg Jackson with Heal Charlotte, you look for bold and drastic actions.

“Shutting down this road of Reagan Drive,” said Jackson. “It doesn’t service what it was initially there to service – the trucking routes.”

Jackson, who is spearheading the Reagan Drive Initiative, says of Reagan Drive: “this is just a high level crime area and it’s become a gateway back entrance when people can be served in other ways that aren’t the most productive ways for this area especially with the revitalization that we’re trying to do over here.”

“Right now, it’s just full of prostitution, human trafficking – labor trafficking or sex trafficking, drugs,” said Jackson.

Recently, police have also investigated a homicide after a woman's body was left at the side of the road. And, one of the apartment complexes on the road has had two arson cases.

Reagan Drive is also a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) bus route where children who live in the area are picked up and dropped off.

“This is a bus route for my kids that go to my after school program, that are in the neighborhoods that we serve with our youth programming and this is the one of the hottest areas for human trafficking so when you put those two together it really doesn’t make sense why this is an open road to be served for children,” said Jackson. “So we wanted to shut it down just for that initiative alone as we come down the road we get the human trafficking, we get the other crime disparities and we recognize there are other entities in this town trying to lower the crime here.”

The organization adopted Reagan Drive, which Jackson says allows them to do “community cleanups, community service, events things of that nature where we can work directly with NC DOT and the city and we have certain rights on the road to go and do that.”

Now, Jackson has begun exploring how to get Reagan Drive closed between Tom Hunter and the North Tryon exit ramp from I-85.

But there are apartment buildings off Reagan Drive.

A woman who lives in one of the complexes told WBTV she’s not in favor of closing the road.

“I wouldn’t like it because this is the way I go to work in the morning. I haven’t experienced any crime. I’ve been over here three years,” she said, acknowledging that there is another entrance to her complex that she could use.

“I could,” she said. “I could but I wouldn’t like it because this is more convenient for me.

Jackson says part of the plan would include working with the apartment buildings and CMS.

“Close their back entrances, get them to open up to Tom Hunter,” said Jackson. “Work with CMS so we can get some of the buses rerouted that are dropping kids alongside Reagan Drive so they can drop them off on the front entrances of the apartments.”

Jackson and the Reagan Drive Initiative are in the early stages of trying to close the road but they’re looking long term.

“Let’s find a way it can actually serve the community. It can actually serve the Reagan Drive Initiative and this corridor and revitalizing this area,” said Jackson. “Where we can do some positive things like community centers to serve entrepreneurs. We want to have a light shine on Reagan Drive and it’s hard to do that when you have so much negative things happening.”

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