Sunday, June 25, 2006
How To Spot A Grow-Op
BUYERS BEWARE! Sure signs that a house has been used for home-based marijuana growing operations.
The number of marijuana grow-ops and drug seizures has dramatically increased over the last few years.
There are many other serious community consequences associated with these crimes. Marijuana grow-ops are continuously linked to property crimes and crimes of violence. In addition to finding stolen property inside these homes, Police have investigated several home invasions where thieves have broken into grow-op houses to steal the marijuana crop being produced. Some recent home invasions involved innocent families that had moved into a previous grow-op house or were living close to one and were mistakenly victimized. It is important, therefore, to spot a grow-op and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.
The following are characteristics of typical grow-op houses, many effects of which can still be visible after the house has been vacated:
[ ] Suspects do not appear to regularly attend jobs but drive expensive vehicles.
[ ] There are dark coverings over some of the windows to prevent the escape of bright hydroponic lights.
[ ] Rooms in the house or outbuildings seem to be illuminated all the time.
[ ] There is heavy condensation on the windows. Absence of frost or snow on the roof when other houses have frost or snow. Or growers put fans in the window to increase air circulation that blows the curtains around.
[ ] There may be an unusual number of roof vents, or unusual amounts of steam coming from vents in cold weather.
[ ] A variety of extra measures have been taken to protect the house, i.e. new fencing, guard dogs, bars on the windows etc. Entry is exclusively through the automatic garage doors. Residents are hardly ever seen out of their cars.
[ ] There is a strange odor emanating from the house (pungent and skunky).
[ ] Sounds of electrical humming, fans or trickling water. There are also construction noises associated to accommodate a marijuana production facility.
[ ] There is unusual or modified wiring on the exterior of the house.
[ ] The hydro meter can be seen spinning unusually fast. Growers have most of their lights on for at least 12 - 18 hours at a time.
[ ] Localized power surges or browning - neighborhood residences or units experience unexplained power surges or decrease of power that dims lights and slows down appliance use, with the return of normal power flow about 12 hours later.
[ ] Residents avoid all contacts with neighbors.
[ ] Children’s toys and bikes are left outside but there are no children seen at the residence.
[ ] Quantities of growing equipment and supplies are seen to be taken into the house, shed or garage, yet there are no flowers or garden at the house. Often these supplies are purchased in winter.
[ ] There are pots, soil, hoses and nutrients scattered around the property.
[ ] The house can appear to be vacant, the yard is not well-tended, and flyers are accumulating at the door. Residents are seldom seen (garbage is rarely put out to the curb).
[ ] There are hoses running from doors or windows on the exterior of the house.
[ ] Instances of visitors parking down the street and walking to the house. There is excessive vehicle and/or pedestrian traffic day or night at unusual hours.
[ ] The occupants appear to have moved in at night.
[ ] It is never possible to see activity at the house but there is lots of garbage.
Real Estate Chronicle