The opioid epidemic - hoppers/thieves

OVERKILL

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*ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICAL COMMENTS PLEASE*

I do not want this thread locked.

Locally, over the past several years, there has been a massive insurgence of homeless as well as a huge spike in the number of addicts/addicted who roam the streets. These groups may have some members in common, but I believe many of the latter crash at trap houses and the like.

I've had 9 bicycles stolen, which has been frustrating, but every time, my kids have forgotten to lock the bikes up. Until last night.

Things got weird a little while ago where a guy was up on my deck, had gone through my backyard, and then when caught by one of my kids, pretended like he wanted a drink.

When I was a kid our downtown was amazing. Lots of little shops, sidewalks were clean, absolutely no risk of running into a nutter.

Now, there's somebody living in many of the former shop entrances, their sprawl strewn into the walk. There are people shooting-up in broad daylight and passing out. We had a couple get totally zonked and KO'd on the island just across from our place back in the spring. I saw a guy totally collapsed, looked like he was dead, on the church steps. A friend of mine works downtown, one of his duties is sweeping up the needles so customers don't step on them. Things have totally gone to hell.

They all ride bicycles (which are stolen). They all carry backpacks. They feed their habits via theft and their actions have become more and more brazen.

My parents live in a nice area, near the old teachers college. Most houses are worth well north of $1M at this point, theirs probably around 1.5. Literally 6 houses away an elderly woman comes into her kitchen and there's an addict going through her purse. Terrified and in a panic, she flees to the neighbour's house, calls the police, there's a chase, they lose the crackhead, who managed to scuttle off through backyards like a spider monkey. It's terrifying for a mostly older population in that area who are extremely accustomed to feeling safe where they live and are defenseless.

One of their main sources of revenue has been people's unlocked cars. They go through, steal change and whatever else they can find, but things are now escalating.

There's a local group that I'm a member of that's sort of like a city-wide neighbourhood watch that's trying to aide in tracking these individuals and helping people get their stuff back. For quite a stint you'd have the odd person call out "lock your doors" in response to somebody losing their stuff. Clearly, not helpful. That crowd has become quite quiet recently as locked vehicles are being broken into. These hoppers are now carrying slim-jims and other manner of break-in tools. They are going into people's houses. Last night, I had two crappy bikes stolen off my deck, the guy was smart enough to stay out of frame of the camera (this is a first) but you could clearly see him weilding bolt cutters from the other side of my deck rail. With no consequences and a system of catch-and-release, there is literally no deterrent for these people to just continuously up the level of how bold they can be.

I see media attention given to groups promoting safe injection sites, more free needles (a local group gave out 750,000 needles in 2019, only 235,000 made their way into the return bins...) and a "compassionate approach". Clearly, this isn't working and in fact appears to be making the situation dramatically worse. These people need treatment within the confines of a treatment facility, not a fresh needle and a place to shoot-up. Enablement isn't compassion, it's lazy, these people need a hand-up not a hand-out. When you are having to train downtown shop staff how to revive folks with Narcan perhaps it would be wise to revisit the effectiveness of what you've deemed a "solution".
 

BlueOvalFitter

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Amsterdam (Netherlands) has a site for the needle pushers somewhere in their downtown area. They even give the junkies FREE needles and Heroin. :unsure:
 
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It's getting bad here , too. Used to be if you were 10 or 15 miles out of the city you were safe from all of that. I've started locking my vehicles (and not leaving keys in them ...) along with barring the door shut on the garage. Who knows what will go missing next.
 
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Wow, things in Ontario sound horrible.
I can see helping alcoholics and addicts to an extent.
But catch and release for burglaries is just plain wrong. And catch and release for repeat drug offenses is wrong.
Heck, breaking into a home around here is a good way to get shot.

Full disclosure, I have been in A.A. for 34 years. I know the other side of life.
 
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With many of life's problems, it the solution was easy, we would have found it by now. Ignoring or being compassionate doesn't seem to work. Making it illegal and locking people up doesn't seem to work, either. It's very difficult to turn your life around once you're part of the criminal justice system.

Marijuana was made legal in NJ. We can't buy it yet but I smell it often in my travels. I don't know that legalizing heroin or making opiates readily available would help the addicts, though. Both my wife and I and my mother were prescribed opiates for potential post surgery pain and none of us needed to take them. They hand them out too easily. But that doesn't help the folks addicted. Need to get them off the junk and then the petty crime goes away.
 
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Amsterdam (Netherlands) has a site for the needle pushers somewhere in their downtown area. They even give the junkies FREE needles and Heroin. :unsure:
No reason to rob people if it's free plus you have continuous opportunities to get them into rehab.
 

JTK

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That's horrible. Is moving an option?

I don't think I live awfully far from you in the States. Never lock our cars, garage, sheds, etc.

There's homes in my area that didn't or might still not have locks on their doors.
 
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Amsterdam (Netherlands) has a site for the needle pushers somewhere in their downtown area. They even give the junkies FREE needles and Heroin. :unsure:

This is a ever more common tactic. Portugal originally started something akin to this. They even give out free heroin and have a safe area with clean needles for injection. To get this addicts need to submit to education and discussion and it is far more effective than just about anything at reducing drug use and deaths...
 
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I think most people are addicted to something. I don't know any people like this but I do see them sometimes. I can't imagine they listed "turning tricks for drugs" as an asperation in their HS year books so I often wonder what set of life choices get people to that intersection.
 
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That's horrible. Is moving an option?

I don't think I live awfully far from you in the States. Never lock our cars, garage, sheds, etc.

There's homes in my area that didn't or might still not have locks on their doors.

I know exactly what you mean, but there will come a point where people in places like Hamburg, Orchard Park, Eden, and Amherst will start locking their cars. My guess is it starts with porch pirates and escalates from there...
 

OVERKILL

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I'm saying the current approach isn't working. If there's a more effective solution than what I've proposed, I'm all ears, but currently, giving them needles has resulted in more needles laying around and they don't use the disposal bins.

I don't think any of these people desire to live the lives they are currently living, that's why I said a hand-up vs a hand-out, keeping them stoned out of their gourd isn't helping them, nor is it doing anything to curb the increasingly bold lengths they will go to in order to feed that addiction, but give them treatment and a safe place to live while being treated, I think that's far more likely to lead to somebody on the path to recovery. Of course some will fall off the wagon, but it's a heck of a lot better than the current approach, IMHO.
 
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@OVERKILL I can tell you what worked for me. After my 3rd DUI over a 20 year drinking career, I was done. I mean down and out, even though I was working in the engineering department of a Silicon Valley high tech company and a straight A student in Computer Science at a local JC.
The fear of long incareration and knowing I had one person to blame left me spiratually dead. Lost. Hopeless.
By far the worst was knowing I had driven thousands of miles dead drunk and easily coud have run over... I was utterly defeated. Dead inside.
Putting large amounts of depressants into your body for years tends to make you depressed...
The judge sentenced me to 3 AA meetings along with the other stuff. I have been sober since.

Not drinking (using) is the 1st step. Then and only then can you work on yourself. That's my experience.
Just so you know, I did not do many of the things you listed. Those were "yets". It was only a matter of time.
Most of my friends are dead. I am one of the lucky ones.
 
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JTK

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I know exactly what you mean, but there will come a point where people in places like Hamburg, Orchard Park, Eden, and Amherst will start locking their cars. My guess is it starts with porch pirates and escalates from there...
Yep, parts of those areas aren't even immune these days.
 
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For vehicles parked outside around my area, the recommendation is to have garage door openers, identifying registration/insurance info and valuables pulled out. Also, the vehicle left unlocked as the repair of forced access can be high.
 
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