Pubdate: Fri, 22 Sep 2006
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Kim Novak


Simcoe Reformer  --  "This Is An Important Day For Norfolk."

Those were the words of Frank Elbers, director of the OPP's drug 
enforcement section, during a press conference in Simcoe yesterday.

The seizure of $180,000 worth of drugs and charges being laid against 
48 people in connection with the case make it an important day for 
the county, and more specifically Simcoe. It was more than a year ago 
that the drug problem in downtown Simcoe came to the fore.

A shooting - police say it was drug related - near the town's core 
caused downtown merchants to beef up their message: drugs are a 
problem. Many businesspeople saw it on a daily basis. Their 
livelihoods were being impacted.

And so the process to clean up the downtown began.

Earlier this summer downtown merchants admitted that increased police 
presence was making a difference.

Earlier this week, police confirmed that in a report to the police 
services board. The numbers showed there were fewer incidents in 
Simcoe's downtown.

Yesterday's drug bust is certainly welcome news. But we shouldn't for 
a moment think that the problem is solved. When it comes to drugs, 
where there is a will there is a way. It's something the police 
realize all too well.

"We're not naive enough to think the problem will go away, but this 
may make someone think twice about selling drugs in Simcoe," Norfolk 
OPP Inspector Norm Denckert said at yesterday's news conference.

But the dent made in the local drug trade shows it does make a 
difference when more officers are patrolling the streets.

It's something that should not be lost on Norfolk politicians, 
political wannabes and taxpayers. While no one advocates giving 
police a blank cheque to clean up the streets, there is a price to 
keeping crime rates low.

And there are signs that the problems faced by Simcoe could spread.

Police have reported an increase in the number of mischief incidents 
in Port Dover. Denckert attributes this to the increase in the town's 

It doesn't take much to connect the dots: more people means the 
threat of more crime and the need for more policing.

As frustrating as the process has been, action was taken on Simcoe 
before it reached a point of no return. Vigilance on the part of 
police, politicians and the public at large will be what keeps 
Simcoe's downtown on the road to recovery and assuring drugs don't 
bring decay to other Norfolk communities.
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