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Point Douglas taking the lead on evicting meth dealers: community activist

Point Douglas Residents Committee Chair Sel Burrows. Amber McGuckin/Global News

While Winnipeg is still waiting for the results of the Illicit Drug Task Force’s report on tackling the meth problem, one local neighbourhood is finding its own creative methods of evicting drug dealers from the community.

Point Douglas community activist Sel Burrows told Global News Radio 680 CJOB that area residents have been working with landlords, police and the city to fight back against the crisis.

The Point Power Line, a call-in tip line, has been their main weapon of choice, and has led to a number of suspected dealers being bounced from the neighbourhood.

READ MORE: Early-morning police raid at north Point Douglas house

“Basically what happens in Point Douglas is that we just ask neighbours to look out the window,” said Burrows.

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“If they see the symptoms of major drug dealing, hard drug dealing, we ask them to give us a call and then we work with the landlords, with the community support unit of the police, with bylaw enforcement… whatever it takes to get the people who are selling the hard drugs evicted.”

Burrows said approaching the landlords – many of whom have been managing area properties for over a decade – is the first step.

Most landlords, he said, are eager to evict suspected dealers when prevented with evidence of a “meth nest.”

If that doesn’t work, the community support unit of the Winnipeg police is step two.

“These guys will go knocking on the door of an address where we believe they’re selling meth or opioids, and have a chat with the guy. Most of the time, they stop dealing. This is compared to getting 22 police officers together to do a drug raid.”

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If those options fail, approaching city by-law officials is often a successful, although unorthodox, option.

Burrows said there are a number of little-known city by-laws that can be applied to meth houses, including crackdowns on unlicensed home businesses and more.

“One of the things that drives people crazy is when they’ve identified a meth house… and nothing happens,” he said.

“Over 95 per cent of the people in Point Douglas are honest. They want a clean and healthy community.”

Point Douglas residents can call the Point Power Line with tips about potential drug houses at 204-956-4090.

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