Pubdate: Thu, 18 Nov 2010
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Sun Media
Author: Daniel Pearce


Norfolk's top cop has expressed concern over medical marijuana growing
operations that have set up in the county in recent years, warning
they could lead to violent crimes.

Even though the operations are licensed by government, and are
completely legal, "there's a propensity for other activities" to go
along with them, said Norfolk OPP Insp. Zvonko Horvat.

"It could escalate into violence. That's a bit of a concern for us,"
Horvat said Wednesday following a police services board meeting.

In October, $8,000 in marijuana was stolen from a greenhouse in a
break and enter in the west end of the county, Horvat announced at the

No violence was involved in the theft.

"There's always a potential when you have that business in your
community that you may have these activities, because unless you
possess a licence, you can't walk in and purchase it," Horvat said.

A number of licensed operations have opened up in Norfolk in recent
years, often renting greenhouses left vacant in the wake of the
decline of tobacco.

Growers supply sufferers of a number of ailments, such as arthritis
and multiple sclerosis, who must first get a prescription from a doctor.

The October incident was raised by Horvat while he presented his
monthly crime report, which noted that break and enters have declined
noticeably from the previous month.

In October, police investigated 14 incidents compared to 23 in
September. (However, those figures are up when compared on a
year-to-date basis with 2009, rising from 199 to 228.)

Horvat credited the most recent drop to the work of the force's
special "street team."

Break and enters in October also resulted in $21,000 in tobacco being
stolen, Horvat added.

Assaults are also down on a year-over-year basis, he reported. They
number 366 compared to 422 in 2009.

"There's been a slight reduction in domestics," Horvat

Here are the year-to-date crime statistics with 2009 and 2008figures
in brackets:

Assaults: 366 (422, 400)

Drug investigations: 104 (98, 93)

Break and enters: 228 (199, 228)

Frauds: 141 (108, 128) Mischief: 552 (600, 659) Vehicle theft: 65 (69, 109)

Theft under $5,000: 510 (460, 536)

Robberies: 6 (6, 10)

Impaired driving: 95 (121, 161)

Counterfeit money: 13, (15, 30)

Motor vehicle collisions: 840 (780, 899)

Street racing: 12 (22)

Three-day license suspension: 103 (69)

Distracted drivers: 45
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