Pubdate: Fri, 15 May 2009
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 The Record
Author: Jeff Outhit


Waterloo Region

Drug crimes are soaring faster here than almost anywhere else, even 
as crime plummets overall.

A new national study shows the rate of drug crime rose 84 per cent in 
the region between 1997 and 2007.

This increase, which was previously reported, has resulted in only a 
medium level of drug crime compared to other cities. But the 
escalation is dramatic.

Only three other cities in Canada saw drug crimes rise faster, 
Statistics Canada found. They are Trois-Rivieres, Sudbury and Saint John, N.B.

Police say there's no need for public alarm. They say the figures 
mostly reflect better enforcement and are only partly due to links to 
the drug trade in greater Toronto.

"I think it's good news for us," said Insp. Steve Beckett of Waterloo 
Regional Police. "It's not a reflection of how much drug use is in 
our community. But it is a reflection of how much police enforcement 
activity is taking place."

As police crack down, unreported drug crimes become offences and then 
statistics, Beckett said.

The region saw 1,210 reported drug crimes in 2007. That's an average 
of about three every day.

Two-thirds are cannabis-related, while cocaine accounts for one in 
four. The vast majority are for possession, with just 14 per cent for 

Waterloo Region ranked 14th out of 27 Canadian cities for its total 
rate of drug crime in 2007. The rate remains 20 per cent below the 
national average.

To combat drugs, Waterloo Regional Police have established squads to 
investigate marijuana grow operations, the street-level drug trade 
and organized crime.

"We've dedicated more resources to drug and gang enforcement than 
ever before," Beckett said. "What you see is a measure of our effectiveness."
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