Officers enlist SCAN for second house closure

By Ashley Wiebe
April 20, 2017 - 8:31pm Updated: April 21, 2017 - 7:11pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB — Police are keeping a close eye on a drug house that was seized by the province and officers last September.

The Medicine Hat Police Service teamed up with the Safe Communities and Neighbourhoods Unit last year and seized a home on Aberdeen Street.

Officers said 88 per cent of the crime in the area since the start of 2016 had a direct link to the address.

Neighbours complained about criminal activity in the area and once enough evidence was gathered, a community safety order was issued, taking possession away from the home owner for 90 days.

The residence was returned to the owner late last year and since then, police say a problem occupant has moved back into the home and illegal activity has picked up.

A report, shown during the Police Commission meeting on Thursday, states officers were called to the home last month and found someone inside had overdosed.

Police also found syringes, spoons and other drug paraphernalia.

Members have informed the SCAN Unit once again and are awaiting an affidavit for a second closure of the home.

In September, the SCAN Unit told CHAT News they had closed 53 properties across the province and of those, there had only been one instance where a second closure was placed on the same property.

Inspector Joe West said patrol members have been assigned to keep an eye on two other problem properties. One is located in the North Flats, the second is on the South East Hill.

“We’ll have our patrol officers do things like frequent door knocks,” West said. “We’ll go there, sometimes officers will actually be in the area and if they’ve got some paper work to do, they’ll park close by to deter other people from attending those residences.”

In one case, police noted that 26 calls were about one address throughout the month of February. That number dropped to five in March, once officers had started frequenting the area.

“It’s not just about the criminal activity, sometimes that’s difficult to prove,” West added. “But there’s public safety hazards there and we do attend to a number of overdoses at these types of places where EMS is attending and of course we attend alongside with them. We really try and take a holistic and preventative approach to those types of residences.”

West said while having a higher police presence does help, it’s not always the solution.

“We do have instances where we’ll be able to solve the problem and mitigate it and once we take the pressure off, or there’s not as much presence, sometimes the problems can pop up again,” he said.

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