Meth Use – Update

I received this question yesterday:

“…So if the removal of precursors to make meth have been restricted or eliminated, why did you say drug-related criminal activity is up?…”

The question is a fair one. The removal of the precursors has limited the number of meth labs in our communities, it didn’t stop those addicted to meth from getting it. Since they can’t cook their own (a good thing for communities and small children) they have to buy it. In order to buy it, they have to have money. Since most meth users have a bit of a problem holding down a job, their next option is to steal. Eventually family members get fed up with their thievery and they start stealing from their neighbors: literally.

I’ve mentioned several times in the past several weeks about the increase in burglaries and attempted burglaries, especially to unlocked or open garages and vehicles. Easy pick’ins, as they say.

I recently did a Google search on unlocked vehicles and found a number of articles detailing how police in some areas are ticketing vehicle owners found leaving the motors running and/or keys in their cars unattended. Their goal: reduce by over 75% in some cases, stolen vehicles.

Not all thefts are related to meth use: but a good share of them are. Our investigators are telling me that most of the arrests they have conducted recently for bad checks, burglaries, car theft and other property crimes have been known meth users.

The drug investigators tell me that the majority of meth found in this area is brought north from Mexico, where it is made in very large quantities and then shipped to points north. Unfortunately for us, Interstate 35 is a main meth corridor: straight from the Texas-Mexico border all the way up to Duluth. Don’t be misled. The majority of meth users in our area are not immigrants. They are locals.

As previously mentioned, our drug agents also tell me that the majority of those being arrested in our area are locals. People who have grown up around this area. A good number of these folks, according to investigators, were known as heavy alcohol and marijuana users before they “graduated” to meth and often cocaine.

How you can help!

Keep your residence and vehicles locked:
The afternoon and evening shift officers are still reporting unacceptable numbers of vehicles left unlocked, often with the keys in them, in parking lots and garage doors found open at 2 am or 4 am. Keep in mind that an attached garage is your first line of defense against a person breaking into your home. If you leave your garage door open or unlocked, you have provided a would-be burglar a golden opportunity to get inside and in some cases, shut your garage door and spend all the time he/she wants, breaking into your house and often loading your unlocked car (yep the one with the keys in it) to drive it away with your property.

Don’t leave your car running unattended in your garage or in your drive. Don’t leave it running, even for a minute, while you run inside a store to complete an errand.

Report suspicious activity:
If you see or hear something out of the ordinary, especially late at night or early in the morning, call us. If you feel it is an urgent matter; call 9-1-1. If you see people walking around your neighbor’s home that don’t belong, call 9-1-1. Good descriptions of people, vehicle descriptions and license numbers help but don’t confront these folks. They could be dangerous.

Join a Neighborhood Watch:
Contact Officer Jody Spinner (507-645-4477) and start a Neighborhood Watch. We’ll post your neighborhood and work with you and your neighbors on some common-sense approaches to keeping your home safe and secure while encouraging you to better communicate with your neighbors and the police. The police department will also assist you with a security check of your home if you like. There is no cost for this service.

How can you make a dent in the drug business? Lock your car and lock your home. Don’t make it easy for the users to get their drug by using your property as means to get the money to buy it.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
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