Drug Houses

This content provided by the Federation of Calgary Communities. The original can be found here.

Calgary is prone to thunderstorms, and all thunderstorms have the potential to be dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which injures more than 150 people in Canada every year.

Do you have a drug house in your neighbourhood?

Drug houses don’t just happen in other neighbourhoods. There are drug houses in all types of neighbourhoods. “Drug houses” are homes that are used for the production of illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine. Due to the hazardous chemicals used and the fire hazards posed, drug houses are a serious threat to the community. Drug dealers look for locations where neighbours do not communicate and isolate themselves. This makes it easy to intimidate those neighbours that do notice drug activity. Drug dealers like neighbourhoods that say, “It can’t happen here.”

How can you identify a drug house in your neighbourhood?

Most drug houses have similar identifying characteristics. Watch for the following:

  • Strange Odours. Smells to be aware of include ammonia, acetone, acid, and solvents.
  • Frequent and Unusual Traffic Flow – stop, enter, leave. Watch for frequent visits by different cars, at any time of the day or night. Be suspicious of vehicles with obscured or absent license plates. Watch for excessive foot traffic to and from the house or property and loitering in or around the house.
  • Property Alteration. This includes covering windows and patio doors with items other than curtains or drapes, barricading windows and doors, and disconnecting fire alarms.
  • Bright Interior Lights. High-intensity 1000-watt lamps are commonly used in the production of methamphetamines and cannabis.
  • Constant Humming Noises like that of a fan, or a transformer on a hydro pole.
  • Tenants Who Own Expensive Items, especially if they appear to be unemployed. Expensive cars, cell phones, home entertainment systems, etc.
  • Extensive Security Measures, beyond typical home security. This includes fencing, guard dogs, lookouts, etc.
  • Little Property Maintenance. Unkempt yard, little to no furniture.
  • Increased Noise and Crimes. Loud voices, fights, gunfire, radios, especially at night. Increase in crimes like auto burglaries, robbery, vandalism, and assault, as well as active prostitution in or around the neighbourhood.

Prevention is the best way to stop drug houses!

You can reduce the chance that a drug house moves into your neighbourhood. Meet and get to know your neighbours and your Police Community Liaison Officers. As problems develop in the neighbourhood, work with law enforcement to resolve them quickly.

What should you do if you suspect a drug house in your neighbourhood?

  • Communication is key. Talk to anyone and everyone: neighbours, the police, the SCAN Unit (Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods), local Crime Stoppers, anyone in the government who can help you get rid of the drug house. You will not solve the problem yourself – the only way to shut down a drug house is through teamwork.
  • Keep records. Set up a calendar and a log to take down license plate numbers, car color and make of suspicious vehicles, date and time of activity. Record the time and date of incidents surrounding the drug house, such as shots fired, screaming, burglaries, vandalism, etc. Report this information to the police.
  • Be patient. Police have to work within the law, and so do you. It may take time to gather enough evidence to shut down the drug operation legally, so don’t be discouraged.

Phone numbers to call to report drug house activity:

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