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The city has to protect tenants and neighbors

Charleston is a beautiful city that is slowly turning itself around. The revitalization efforts in the East End and on the West Side are most encouraging.

But there are still patches of blight. One example was a house at 1411 Jackson St. that its landlord, Timothy Harold Stone, 44, of Charleston had converted into a bizarre seven-unit apartment that housed 15 to 20 people, including children.

On Thursday, city building inspectors, backed by police officers, condemned the building. The landlord pulled a screwdriver on an officer and was promptly arrested.

Police charged Stone with battery of a police officer, brandishing a weapon, and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The latter crime is a felony.

Lt. Shawn Williams said the property was well known for drug and prostitution problems. Police said they answered 1,000 calls for service at the property over the years.

"In my 15 years' experience, it's one of the worst I've seen," Williams told the Daily Mail's Ashley Craig. "Utterly deplorable.

"He'd broken up the house into seven units and was charging them basically $500 a month for nothing. There was no running water."

There also was no primary source of heat. What inspectors did find were roaches, bedbugs and filth.

Cleaning up blighted houses fights crime and helps neighbors. No one wants to live next door or down the street from a slum.

Williams, who commands the city's Community Services Division, said officers are trying to clean up Jackson Street.

"We were targeting houses we knew were bad and trying to get them straightened out, but this one has been a thorn in our side," Williams said. "The people who live around that area were constantly calling about it."

Here is hoping other slumlords got the message and clean up their properties and their acts.

No one should have to live that way, and no one should have to live next door to it.


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