A Red Deer man frustrated by a perceived lack of RCMP attention given to drug deals on his street received full attention from a top police officer on Thursday.
During a police town hall meeting, Jim Skoreyko told Insp. George Stephenson about drug activity along his Oriole Park street for the past four months. He’s watched individuals exchange money in front of his house and even during the day when children are returning from school.
Skoreyko and his neighbours have confronted the dealers, only to have the criminals turn angrily on them.
He’s called police at least 20 times, but has only seen three police cruisers shortly after he’s complained.
“We keep showing up and the drug dealers show up,” said Skoreyko. “When the police do show up, the (dealers) are gone.”
Skoreyko, a widower with two daughters, said he’s at his wit’s end. He said he just wants to protect his family.
Stephenson took Skoreyko’s phone number afterwards and said he would look into the situation. He said it’s possible that the RCMP street team may be aware of what is going on.
He assured about a dozen people who attended the public meeting at Notre Dame High School that police are making a dent with drug houses. But they do move around quite a bit, he added. “We continue to make gains,” Stephenson said.
He said recent civil legislation, known as the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) Act, is helping to curb illegal activities on properties.
A team of Alberta sheriffs will investigate a complaint and meet with the property owner. If necessary, the sheriffs can go to court have the property cleaned up or even shut down for 90 days.
Several people in attendance sympathized with Skoreyko.
“Every law that comes out seems to be in favour of the bad guys,” said Ed Tatarnic, a resident from Morrisroe. “The police just seem to have to jump through more and more hoops.”
Former Highland Green resident Cheryl Hansen recalled two drug houses being shut down. She said it took some time and the effort of many dedicated area residents.
Stephenson emphasized that “with community involvement, we know that the crime rate will decrease.”
Cpl. Kathe DeHeer said the first batch of Citizens on Patrol volunteers may be driving city streets as early as next week. Currently, they are going through security clearances.
If the volunteers see any suspicious activity, they will be able to radio into RCMP.
Another police town hall meeting will be held Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at Red Deer Lodge.