A problem property in Lethbridge has now been shut down for 90 days due to drug activity. The Safer Community and Neighbourhoods, or SCAN unit, of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order to shut down the house at 124 – 19 St N in Lethbridge. A fence has been erected and the house has been boarded up. The SCAN Unit and Lethbridge Police Service say they have been investigating the house since March after there were complaints from community members about drug activity.
“But with these residents it’s a true myriad of calls. You have these ebbs and flows where sometimes, and not to the fault of the neighbourhood, there’s a frustration where sometimes they don’t call in. We may not have been there for all the different negative occurrences. Because of their cooperation and participation in this dealing did call us. We have everything from assaults and we locate stolen vehicles in and around the area. You find vehicles that have been prowled around the area. Oftentimes these homes are just truly magnets for negative users that are either on there way to or away from this residence. With that negative issues happen and we’re called to come deal with it,” says Liam Breedon, a Sgt. in the Property Crimes Unit and High Risk Offender Unit within the LPS.
Between October of 2019 and February of 2021 the Lethbridge Police Service responded to 33 incidents at that property. An LPS search warrant in June 2020 turned up a small amount of fentanyl, along with drug paraphernalia and several pieces of stolen identification.
“As far as the drug paraphernalia, HAZMAT here today took a half pale of needles out of here. To the point where we’re having infrastructure tip-toe through the yard because there’s needles everywhere,” states Mike Letourneau, an inspector with the SCAN Sheriffs Branch.
Tyler Shandro, the Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General says “Alberta’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives law enforcement another tool for fighting crime by targeting properties associated with illegal activity. Community safety orders can help break the cycle of crime and allow law-abiding Albertans to take back their neighbourhoods and rest easier.”
A release from the province went on to say the community safety order, obtained in Court of Queen’s Bench, took effect on May 4 and bars people from the property until the closure period ends on Aug. 2. The property in this case is also the subject of a court-ordered sale unrelated to the investigation. The SCAN unit will continue to monitor the premises until the community safety order expires on April 26, 2023, or until the property is sold. Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated almost 7,000 problem properties and issued nearly 100 community safety orders.