Operation Safe Crossing targets crime near schools

"I do whatever is clever," says a woman named "Lisa."

She's an admitted prostitute who claims to make a good living.

"More than doctors and lawyers put together," she says.

Her "office" is an area along Elvis Presley Boulevard near a number of Memphis city schools where kids are back in class. She doesn't have a problem with them seeing what she's doing.

"I'm not saying they should be exposed to it, but it's still part of life," says Lisa.

Students like Cetavius Tate see ladies like Lisa all the time, along with drug dealers and those to whom they sell.

"I think it's just outrageous," says Tate.

Police and prosecutors think it's outrageous too. They've shut down more than 20 suspected drug houses since the beginning of the summer. All of them have been located with a half-mile of a Memphis City School. Two are right across the street from Hamilton Middle. Police say the people living inside one of them even tried to talk children into helping them deal drugs.

"Nothing surprises me," says Will Hite.

Hite owns one of the houses. But he says he didn't know his tenant was up to no good and that the house is a public nuisance.

"Yea, and right next to a school too," says Hite.

Police will continue to target problem properties as well as prostitutes like Lisa. They're after anything posing a threat to the safety of children in the places where they are supposed to feel the safest. "Operation: Safe Crossing" started at the beginning of June.


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