In light of the recent break and enters in Fort Frances, Sgt. Mike Golding, media relations coordinator for OPP in North West Region, said they have seen a spike in break and enters in communities in the northwest region.
Golding noted that this spike is coupled and strongly related to the use of methamphetamine.
“What’s happening is, these people that are addicted to these strong drugs like fentanyl are doing whatever they can to break in steal money and steal objects to sell to make money to buy more drugs,” Golding said.
As a result, Golding said the OPP started a national methamphetamine strategy to raise public awareness.
“This campaign is actually directed at companies and in industries to recognize drug labs and places where people are actually making the drugs and to report them immediately to the police,” Golding said. “We want the public to understand how these negative impacts that drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine have on not just businesses, but communities, families, and even the environment.”
According to an OPP press release, methamphetamine and synthetic drug labs can be found anywhere. Indicators of a lab may include suspicious activity, secretive behaviour, chemical odours, garbage that contains numerous chemical containers, glassware and evidence of chemical dumping grounds on or near premises.
Besides public awareness, Golding said he is strongly urging all businesses to maintain strict safety and security protocols to protect their businesses. Golding said the first thing businesses should do is hire the right people.
“You have to know who you’re letting into your building and allowing access to your privacy,” Golding said. “Do some background checks, make sure you’re hiring the right people. A lot of people can come and go, and sometimes they just get the job to sculpt the place out and next one of their friends or cohorts is waiting to break in.”
Golding said businesses should also invest in good quality security cameras in order for law enforcement to have video footage to help them carry out investigations. Golding added that a recent arrest was made, in connection to several break and enters, in which the accused was identified using security footage from cameras.
“They’re very inexpensive nowadays when you consider what they can save you in damages, Golding said. “You can pick up a decent camera system under $500. I think that’s a real great advantage so you can have 24/7 coverage and be able to monitor it from your house. I think that’s a really good investment.”
In addition, Golding said increasing the lighting after work hours or installing motion sensors will make people think twice before entering.
“Another big one, don’t leave cash on the premises,” Golding added. “If you can’t afford a safe, don’t allow people to know where you keep the cash or let people go behind the counter.”
Golding said the OPP encourages social media followers to share messages and information in order to help educate other members within your community of the potential indicators of methamphetamine and synthetic drug labs as well as the dangers they pose within communities.