‘If you want to buy crack and you’re living in Poway, you’re going to 17th and K.’

Statement: “If you want to buy crack and you’re living in Poway, you’re going to 17th and K,” Bob McElroy, president of the nonprofit Alpha Project, told voiceofsandiego.org for a story about drug activity in the southeast corner of the East Village.

Determination: Mostly True

Analysis: Obviously McElroy doesn’t know if every Poway resident seeking to buy crack goes to 17th and K, so we want to analyze the statement’s implication: The downtown area is a regional hotspot for the drug trade.

From a statistical standpoint, the southeast corner of the East Village accounted for roughly one out of every 10 drug arrests in the city of San Diego last year, according to an analysis of police data. The five-block area along 17th Street near K Street had the city’s highest concentration of drug arrests.

In interviews for the story, police, residents and business owners affirmed McElroy’s statement that part of the heavy drug trade along 17th Street is related to outside buyers and sellers. The large homeless population is also part of the problem.

But here’s an important nuance. The East Village is not the region’s only hotspot for drugs. Most cities in the county have streets or neighborhoods with elevated levels in crime. Apart from the East Village, San Diego Police arrested hundreds of suspected drug offenders in Ocean Beach and along the El Cajon Boulevard corridor last year.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org. What claim should we explore next?


Summer Polacek

Summer Polacek was formerly the Development Manager at Voice of San Diego.

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