Drug houses

Is there a drug house in your neighborhood?

“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.

How can I identify a drug house in my neighborhood?
Most drug houses have similar identifying characteristics. You should watch for the following:
•    Strange Odors. Smells to be aware of including ammonia, acetone, acid, and solvents.
•    Unusual Traffic Flow. Watch for frequent visits by different cars, at any time of day or night.  Be suspicious of vehicles with obscured or absent license plates.
•    Property Alterations. 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. Noises like that of a fan, or a transformer on a hydro pole.
•    Tenants Who Own Expensive Items.  If they appear to be unemployed and own expensive items, such as cars, cell phones, home entertainment systems, etc.
•    Extensive Security Measures. Anything beyond a typical home security system, including fencing, guard dogs, lookouts, etc.
•    Little Property Maintenance. Unkempt yards, 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 neighborhood.

What should I do if I suspect a drug house in my neighborhood?
•    Communication is key. Talk to anyone and everyone: neighbors, the police, your local Crime Stoppers, anyone in the government who can help get rid of the house.  You will not solve the problem yourself – the only way to shut down a drug house is through teamwork.
•    Organize a Neighborhood Watch. A Neighborhood Watch encourages neighbors to keep a close eye on activity in the neighborhood, and is the first line of defense against residential drug operations.  The more people whoa re watching the drug house, the more the “witnesses” the police have to the activity.  Other neighbors might see things that you don’t, or vice versa.
•    Keep Records. Set up a calendar and a lot to take down license plate numbers, car color and make suspicious vehicles, date and time of activity.  Record the time and date of the incidents surrounding the drug house, such as shots fired, screaming, burglaries, vandalism, etc.  Report this information to 911.
•    Be Patient. Police have to work within the law, and so do you.  It mat take time to gather enough evidence to shut down the drug operation legally, so don’t be discouraged.
Remember the prevention is the best way to stop drug houses!!
Start a Neighborhood Watch, get to know your neighbors, and meet your community police officers.  As problems arise in the neighborhood, work with your neighbors and police to resolve them as quickly as possible.

Questions please contact:
Community Police Liaison Officer
Craig T. Rafferty
UW-Milwaukee Police
3410 N. Maryland Ave.
P.O. Box 413
(414) 229-4627