Duluth. MN (NNCNOW.COM)
Meth usage has increased in many areas of the Northland...and so have property crimes.
The popularity of shows like Breaking Bad... the story of a former chemistry teacher who develops cancer and begins to make and sell meth to support his family, may have normalized the phenomenon...The effects are wide reaching.
"Over the years we've seen a steady increase in property crimes," says Charles LeGesse Chief of Police in Superior.
In the last 30 days Superior alone has experienced 28 occurrences.
The crimes include theft, shoplifting and vandalism.
"When we get into who are they and what are they into we do see abuse of controlled substances and addictions," says LeGesse.
Authorities say that when struggling to feed an addiction, law violators may feel crime does in fact pay...
"Drugs are very expensive and people that are abusing drugs often aren't gainfully employed and they're going to find a way to fund that habit and theft is one of the ways that happens," LeGesse adds.
And at a time when it's needed most, the funding for law enforcement to do the costly job of breaking down active meth labs, is hard to find.
"The money's drying up, so we end up eating the cost of the cleanup typically on those," says Lt. Steve Stracek of the Duluth Police Dept.
Theft from cars is one of the most popular crimes amongst users that are really willing to do anything to get a fix despite the drugs negative side effects.
"A lot of my friends that I used with they don't have a lot of their teeth...and scars," Troy Waldren.
A life with meth can be just a quick step away from a life a crime.
"I was facing my fourth felony conviction and we were busted with a meth lab down in Hinkley and luckily I was just charged with what I had on me which was a fifth degree felony," says Waldren.
According to Rehab International, meth users have the highest rate of relapse within the drug community. Now clean, Waldren hopes to offer support to those who still struggle with the drug.
"It's just that choice on a daily basis...today I have four kids and a beautiful wife, I kind of have a second opportunity at life," says Waldren
Statistics show Superior residents have a 1 in 19 chance of becoming a property crime victim.
Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware