Pubdate: Sun, 23 Jan 2005
Source: Langley Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 BC Newspaper Group and New Media Development
Author: Natasha Jones
Bookmark: (Youth)


Students and instructors at Gillette's Hair Education Centre want police to 
make more frequent patrols of the Langley City bus loop, after a noticeable 
increase in illicit drug activity.

Their concern was intensified after student Mary Pallister stepped on a 
hypodermic needle as she walked from her car to the hair centre at 8:15 on 
Monday morning.

"I'm very lucky it didn't go through my boots," Pallister said.

She and other students and instructors from the hairdressing school have 
noticed drug use increasing over the past month. Some say it began to 
escalate a year ago.

"We need better policing in this area," Pallister said.

Students and staff looked on in horror recently, when they saw a man pepper 
sprayed after he had apparently refused a request for drugs. Instructor 
Noemy Blayney said that the pepper spray made its way into the school.

"We were coughing and our eyes were stinging," she said.

"We tried to go outside to help. The ambulance was called, and the police 
came, but they said there wasn't much they can do."

But since the incident last week, patrols by a private security firm have 
been stepped up, and Langley RCMP say they are working on a anti-crime 
strategy for the bus loop area, which is on Logan Avenue west of Glover 
Road and is part of a strip mall which houses several businesses, including 
the hair education centre.

"We are aware of that and have been for some time," said spokesman Cpl. 
Dale Carr. He said that when the Community Police Office fine-tuned its 
patrol zone schedule, the bus loop area was deliberately included.

"We are currently working on an enforcement strategy that will be 
implemented shortly," Carr added.

It can't come soon enough for instructors Blayney and Marilyn Swinburne. 
Blayney said that staff are taking extra precautions while classes are in 
evening session.

"We are afraid. We have to lock the doors when we are working. I'm in 
charge of at least five students at night so it's not only my well-being, 
but the students and clients," Blayney said.

Swinburne is anxious for the situation to improve. "In the last year and a 
half, things have been getting worse and worse and worse," she said.

The instructors and students say the problem is both the use and the 
peddling of illegal drugs.
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