From an article by Alexandria Mayor James P. Moran Jr. in the summer issue of Policy Review:

Let me explain how we determine the existence of a crack house, so that you understand how careful we are to protect the innocent. First, we make a controlled drug buy. Often we send in someone who has been involved in the drug trade in the neighborhood, and who wants to get off light ... He goes into the house with marked money and nothing else. He comes out with drugs and no money. To make sure that this is not a one-time thing -- that you can regularly buy drugs in that housing unit -- we make such buys on more than one occasion, usually separated by two or three weeks.

After we have made more than one successful controlled drug buy, we go to the magistrate to get a search warrant. Only if we find drugs and drug paraphernalia in the possession of the tenant, or have reason to believe that the tenant is aware of the drugs found in her home, do we go through the eviction procedure.

Using this procedure, over 100 families involved in the drug trade have been evicted from public and private housing in the city. We have been legally challenged three times. The eviction has been upheld each time.

We have applied the same aggressive attitude toward private housing that we have toward public housing. With the help of the apartment owners' association, we have put clear, specific language in every lease making the tenant subject to immediate eviction if "a preponderance of evidence of criminal activity" is presented by the police to our prosecutor, who then notifies the landlord. We then put an asterisk next to the evicted tenant's name in a computer base maintained by the landlords' association so as to deny them housing elsewhere in the city.