The thing about drug operations is they can be set up anywhere, anytime.
And occasionally, it's not just police officers who work to find the bad guys. It may all boil down to a tip given by an observant resident.
Here are some things to watch for regarding suspicious neighborhood drug activity, according to Capt. Jack Davis:
- There's an unusually large amount of traffic coming — in cars, taxis, or walking — often at strange hours. Visitors may sometimes pound on doors or shout to be let in. This traffic is usually quick, and the people stay only a short time. Sometimes they don't even go in at all; instead, someone comes out to meet them.
- Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia (syringes, pipes, baggies, etc.) in the area.
- Repeated, observable exchanges of items, especially where money is visible.
- Noxious odors coming from around the houses or buildings, such as “musty” or chemical smells.
- Houses or buildings where extreme security measures seem to have been taken.
- Houses or buildings where no owner or tenant is apparent, and no home activities — yard work, painting, maintenance, etc. — seem to go on.
"These things in themselves may not necessarily mean that a drug house is evident, but they do arouse suspicions," said Davis. "...This reporting may be done anonymously, however it is helpful if you are willing to leave your information for follow up questions."
After a report is provided, it may not always result in a drug arrest as some tips simply lead to dead ends. At times, it takes sufficient evidence or a prolonged investigation, and Davis asks that folks continue to keep a watchful, yet inconspicuous, eye on what may be criminal activity in a given neighborhood to help an investigation along.
Anyone suspecting drug activity should contact the Mentor Police Department at 440-974-5760 or call the Lake County Narcotics Agency at 440-350-3333.