Paranoid and Violent, Thieves High on Meth Take Crime to Extreme Levels: Calgary Police
Reinforcements are on the way in the form of new officers, tactics and training to help combat crime in Calgary fuelled by an abundance of meth on the streets, says Calgary’s acting police chief.
Incidents relating to methamphetamine use in Calgary have skyrocketed over the last five years, soaring by a staggering 536 per cent by the third quarter of 2018. As of the end of November, police had dealt with more than 412 incidents involving methamphetamine, more than one per day.
But interim police Chief Steve Barlow said the increase in meth use is directly linked to dangerous crimes across the city, including reckless drivers of stolen vehicles, break-ins and thefts.
He called the spike in crime “an unintended consequence” of meth use.
“We’re seeing our break-and-enters and our thefts from vehicles, theft from garages and all those easily accessed places we think about. We’re seeing those on the rise,” Barlow said. “Our stolen autos are huge right now, and they’re very, very dangerous.”
Members of the service’s auto theft team laid 251 charges against 54 suspects between August and November 2018. Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley said a large number of the charges weren’t stolen-vehicle offences, adding there is a “food chain” of criminals using car keys as a “transactional piece.”
Barlow said all manner of crimes in Calgary are often connected to stolen vehicles, which are also linked to meth, adding, “Most if not all of these people are somewhere in their high during these events.”
He said the paranoia-inducing drug can cause car thieves “to flee from the police at any cost,” putting Calgarians in danger.