Police take action after Muckraker revealed drug, prostitution den by playground

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Boarded-up drug and prostitution den in the Cass Corridor.

For more than a year, an abandoned building in the Cass Corridor served as a drug and prostitution den, where exposed needles, used condoms and broken liquor bottles were scattered around the property.

Behind the building is a playground where children play basketball and families gather for picnics.

One of numerous needles outside of the building.
One of numerous needles outside of the building.

Soon after Motor City Muckraker featured the building in a story on Feb. 17, Wayne State Police boarded up the property, issued trespassing citations to people found inside the building and teamed up with Detroit to boost patrols in the area.

“All shift patrol officers were directed to make a enforcement stop at this location,” Wayne State Police Chief Anthony Holt told me. “Once we started with the direct visibility, the word spread quickly that this was not the place to be. We have the building boarded up and we will continue our enforcement activity at that location and in the area.”

Inside the building.
Inside the building.

The building is tucked behind a large vacant house at Martin Luther King Jr. and Second.

Detroit police are pursuing the building’s owner, Calvin Bruning, who has neglected the property for years.

“There is an environmental officer assigned to check that location and follow up with environmental court to ensure that the owner is cited and is forced to clean up the lot and secure the building properly,” Sgt. Michael Woody told me.

An exposed needle and broken glass on a sidewalk.
An exposed needle and broken glass on a sidewalk.

Thelma White, who lives nearby with her young children, said she was afraid to walk past the building.

“It’s scary,” she told me. “I don’t want my kids stepping on a needle or broken glass. It’s disgusting back there.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.