Neighborhood Watch—It May Be the Kid Next Door
It used to be a lot easier to spot the addicts who were using, buying and selling drugs in our neighborhoods. In the past, menacing looking individuals lurked in the shadows. With the legalization of pot and the ability to purchase any drug a person desires online, being able to pinpoint the addicts and dealers has changed, and become a bit more difficult. What hasn’t changed are the vehicular thefts, burglaries and other crimes that are committed to support the ever-growing number of people with active addictions.
It’s quite common for a crack addict to go through 5 grams in a day. A painkiller addict can spend upwards of $500 a day and a heroin addict will spend $100 a day just to get rid of the sickness. So how can an addict support such expensive habits? At first they may be able to work and cover the costs, but jobs are short-lived for most addicts due to frequently calling out of work, not showing up and getting fired for being high on the job. Some dealers will even let you buy on credit, but sooner or later the price of the addiction becomes too high and the addict turns to crime.
Usually, the first crimes committed are stealing money and credit cards from their mom, dad, husband or wife. Then maybe it’s money from the petty cash box at work. The string of thefts easily turns into burglaries, where jewelry, phones and electronics are easily stolen from homes and traded for drugs or converted to cash. The escalation of lies and crime grows in proportion to the addict’s need for drugs.
Narconon Suncoast’s Drug Prevention Team visited the Gulfport, Florida Neighborhood Watch meeting this week to talk about the effects that drug addiction has on community safety. The meeting highlighted the same crime trends that most communities in America are facing due to the increasing numbers of addicts living in neighborhoods across the nation.
An attendee of the meeting said:
“People often think it’s outsiders, or those bad kids or people from ‘that side of town’ who are coming and stealing in their neighborhood, when the fact is, it’s probably the child of loved one of someone they know, who is ripping them off.
“Recently an attorney from Connecticut contacted us to help do drug prevention in a very nice neighborhood after finding out one of their neighbors’ children, who had become addicted, was targeting their neighborhood during the day to support his habit. It was a group of upstanding young people who knew the neighborhood.”
Corey L., who had recently graduated the Narconon Suncoast program, spoke about how to identify people who are potentially trouble and how to get them effective help.
“When you start doing drugs, you never think about how much it will cost you in all ways, not just the money. One thing that is for sure is that the habit always grows and no matter how much you try stop buying it, someone always has a ‘deal” for you or will spot you this week, as long as you make it up next week. Addicts get creative in finding money sources.”
Things to watch out for that can easily get converted into cash include:
- Missing gift cards and presents
- Checkbooks and blank checks
- Credit cards lost or new credit cards being sent to your home
- Jewelry and watches
- Phones or electronics
- Designer or expensive clothes, purses that can be resold at shops or online
- Tools, power tools and mowers
- Bicycles and scooters
The Neighborhood Watch program emphasizes keeping things locked up and making sure that people don’t become a convenient victim of crime. The average thief doesn’t want to confront people. They watch your home and notice the times people are around and take advantage of the unlocked front door or car door to make a quite buck.
Addiction is the number one reason why people steal. If you find out someone you know is stealing, find out why. Confront them and get them help. Handling an early addiction is much simpler than trying to untangle a life of crime, violence and addiction. With addiction, there is no other way for the story to end. For neighborhoods, keep a close eye on people who look like they might be in trouble. Confront their families and offer help. It’s always easier to prevent an addiction or a life of crime than it is to turn it around.
The great news is that the Narconon Suncoast Program offers a way to treat addiction and help the addict make up the damages that their addiction has caused themselves, their family and their community. While some people think that their addiction and related criminal acts may have gone too far, the Narconon Suncoast program offers a way out. The program also works with law enforcement and the legal system to help people turn their lives and communities around and finally become drug free for good. No addict has to be lost to addiction forever.