DETROIT -

It's Operation March Madness on the streets of Detroit, and police have the ball in their court -- they're going after drug dealers and gang members.

"This is spring cleaning. (The Detroit Police Department) once again is cleaning the neighborhoods up for the good people who live here," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Neighbors watched as officers carried out 17 raids across the city.

"I was shocked. I'm very shocked," said resident Lance Alford. "It's unfortunate that we have to live like this. It's good police are doing things about it."

At an address at Lansdowne Street and Casino Avenue, investigators found drugs hidden all over the house, including cocaine in a baby's shoe. As the officers searched the home, two young men sat on the floor of the living room in handcuffs.

The officers' next stop was at a home in the 6300 block of Neff Avenue. Police confiscated guns, cocaine, Ecstasy, weed and $1,300 in cash. They arrested three people.

Detroit police want to send a strong message to lawbreakers that they're in charge. Craig said these raids are working.

"I take exception to the critics who say we are staging this," said Craig. "People in the community are talking, even those who are engaged in the criminal behavior are talking. They're saying they're concerned that they can't just flagrantly run their business like they did in the past."

Related: Have Detroit Police Department raids made a difference?

One neighbor who didn't want to be identified hopes one day she doesn't have to live in fear.

"It's too much going on out here nowadays. It's terrible," she said. "You're scared to walk the streets because you don't know what's going to happen nowadays. Too many people getting robbed, murdered."