MEDICINE HAT, AB — A Medicine Hat resident is afraid for her and her family.
“Krista” (name changed to protect her identity) lives in the Flats, across from a home she says is a hotbed of illegal activity.
“For as much as we do, and we’ve been trying to make the neighbourhood great again, it feels like we’re not succeeding at all,” she said.
She says the problems began approximately six months ago.
“(There’s) increased traffic in the area, increased theft around our yards,” she said. “There’s increased sketchy people, and people coming into our backyards, neighbour’s yards.”
Krista says her children are afraid to walk in the alleys near the home, and run into their house when people are near the home.
She says she calls the Medicine Hat Police Service at least twice a week with her concerns and what she says. She adds she's worried about her kids seeing people use and deal drugs right in front of their home.
“You can hear people talking about drugs, and you can see things that you don’t want your kids growing up to see,” she said.
Last year, the Medicine Hat Police Service launched the Report a Drug House program, allowing residents to allowing residents to anonymously report these types of incidents.
“Over the last, I would say two years, it’s been brought up a few times at Police Commission meetings, within the community, and hence that’s why we brought in the Report A Drug House Program to Medicine Hat and hopefully get rid of them in the community,” said Constable Marc Seiller with the Medicine Hat Police Service.
Seiller says when a tip is received, letters are sent to all neighbours in the area of the suspected house, and police increase patrols in the area.
If the activity doesn't subside, the Safe Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit is called in to shut down the property. Police have had to do this with two homes in the past year.
Tips from the community are a vital part of being able to do that, says Seiller.
“Sometimes we don’t even know about problem houses within our neighbourhood, so it’s very important for them to be able to communicate with us, and tell us what problems are, and help us deal with the solution,” he said.
Krista says she and her family have lived in the neighbourhood for the past decade, and have no plans on moving.
She's hoping the police are able to put a stop to the drug activity in the neighbourhood.
“We’ve rebuilt this house from the flood, we’ve put our heart and souls into this place, and I think they have to go,” she said. “We’re here for the long haul.”
Seiller says possible signs of a drug house include an increase in vehicle and people traffic at all times of the day, blacked out windows, unusual smells, unfriendly residents who are secretive about their activities, and a decline in the exterior appearance and landscaping of the home.
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