DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – You could think of it as fighting fire with fire. For nearly 20 years cities across the country have taken assets confiscated from criminal activity and used the proceeds to battle or dismantle current illegal activity.

Case in point — Thursday’s demolition of nearly 50 abandoned houses in Dallas.

Members of the Texas National Guard, as part of the Operation Crackdown Counterdrug Task Force, are busy working in Dallas, tearing down dozens of abandoned houses that have also been associated with illegal drug activity.

One guardsman said he was proud to do work that will benefit children in the area.

“Give ‘em a safer area in their neighborhoods — from the drugs and prostitution and stiff like that,” Master Sergeant Marcus Wilkins said. “Where people like that aren’t using these facilities or they’re [area residents] not walking in them and getting hurt themselves.”

National Guard members have been in Dallas all week and Thursday’s demolition was the eighth of 49 houses that will be torn down. All of the properties should be demolished by the end of the month.

This is the second time the city has partnered with the National Guard to rid the city of “blighted vacant homes.”

Last year more than 30 abandoned Dallas houses were demolished.

Officials with Operation Crackdown say their goal is to help “reclaim neighborhoods from the influences of illegal drugs and associated violence.”

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