The thing about drug operations is they can be set up anywhere, anytime.
And occasionally, it's not just police officers that 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 Stow Police Det. Tom Gottas and Cuyahoga Falls Police Capt. Jack Davis:
- There's an unusually large amount of traffic, often at strange hours. 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.
- Observable exchanges of items, especially where money is visible.
- Ability to afford items without a job -- cars, TVs, etc.
- Neighbors will continually host parties and appear to be under the influence of drugs.
- Repeated flickering of cigarette lighters.
- Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia (syringes, pipes, baggies, etc.) in the area.
- Noxious odors coming from houses or buildings, such as musty or chemical smells; and open windows in cold weather.
- Discarded chemical bottles in the trash.
- Houses or buildings where extreme security measures seem to have been taken.
After a report is provided, it may not always result in a drug arrest as some tips simply lead to dead ends, said Davis. At times, it takes sufficient evidence or a prolonged investigation, so be patient and keep an inconspicuous eye on suspicious neighbors, he said.
The Stow Police Department has a Drug Tip Line (330 689-3784) where callers can leave tips in a voicemail format and remain anonymous, said Gottas.
If callers wish to speak with a detective in reference to any drug-related matter, Gottas can be reached at 330 689-5728.