Living Next to a Drug House?
With the sheer volume of drugs that have made there way into the province over the last 10-15 years, the Medicine Hat Police Service has seen a dramatic rise of drug activity, particularly in residential areas. At anytime there may be up to 30 houses within the City where drug dealing activity occurs on a regular basis. The police recognize the presence of drug trafficking, especially in our neighborhoods is a public safety concern and unacceptable. All reports of suspected drug activity are taken seriously and several warrants are executed each month resulting in arrests.
The following are common signs of suspicious or illegal activity. Observing one of the following doesn’t always signal illegal activity, but if they occur frequently or together, a problem may exist. Signs to look for include:
- Residents that are rarely seen, distant or secretive.
- Frequent visitors and unusual traffic at odd times of the day or night.
- People repeatedly visiting the property who only go to the door for short durations.
- Increased vehicle or foot traffic.
- Frequent late night activity.
- Windows blackened or curtains always drawn.
- Extensive investment in home security.
- Neglected property and yard.
- Presence of drug paraphernalia or strange odors coming from the property.
- Residents who regularly meet vehicles near the property for short periods of time.
If you suspect you live next to a drug house, the following are some things you can do to mitigate the problem:
- Report it. When possible, speak to an officer directly to facilitate a thorough exchange of information. Anonymous tips are good, but often necessary information that is helpful to a Police investigation is overlooked. Personal contact with Police members allows for clarification questions and follow up.
- Do not assume the problem house in your neighborhood has been brought to the attention of the Police. Many nuisance residences go unreported for lengthy periods because neighbors assume someone else has already reported the activity. Let the Police know as soon as concerns arise.
- Zero Tolerance. Call the police for any violations of the law you encounter including; excessive noise, unsightly yard, dogs at large, parking violations, noisy parties, noisy vehicles, driving complaints, open liquor on the street, fights etc. These types of lesser offence go hand-in-hand with drug trafficking. The more attention a drug dealer gets from the Police and Bylaw Enforcement, the more likely they are to move on.
- Take notes. Police cannot enter a residence to search for drugs or people without a warrant authorizing them to do so. This only if a judge is convinced that there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe drug trafficking is taking place. You can help the police form their grounds by keeping detailed notes of dates, times, license plates and other information that help show drug activity is taking place.
As part of government’s priority to build strong communities, the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act (SCAN) allows Albertans to take back their neighborhoods by reporting problem residences and buildings. SCAN improves community safety by targeting properties used for illegal activities and holds property owners accountable for illegal activities that regularly take place on their property.
If you are suspicious about a property in your neighborhood, do not investigate it yourself or approach the occupants. Contact the Medicine Hat Police Service at 403-529-8400 / SCAN at 1-866-960-SCAN (7226) or call the MHPS Drug Tip Line at 403-502-8909.
Organized Crime Section
Medicine Hat Police Service