Q&A Tuesday: Hotline set up for criminal activity associated with meth
The Carson City Sheriff’s Department has activated a Meth Hotline for people to report criminal activity, with the focus on collecting information concerning drug sales and use. Sheriff Kenny Furlong instituted the hotline in the hopes that people who have been afraid to report activity will come forward with the assurance they will remain anonymous and deputies will respond to their calls within 24 hours.
What is the Meth Hotline?
The Meth Hotline is a phone number the community can use to report suspicious activity in neighborhoods or businesses. The number is 887-2020, ext. METH. We chose the word METH (extension 6384) so that people can easily remember it.
What happens when you call?
Callers will be forwarded to voice-mail, where they can leave information including who, what, when and where activity they suspect relating to drugs is occurring. They may also leave contact information if they so desire, but it is not required. At present, the Sheriff’s Department Detective Division will be retrieving and investigating the information.
What is the purpose of the hotline?
Prior to the activation of the hotline, there were no means in this community, other than 911, for people to call in suspicious activity. Many of the people in the community have information that does not rise to the level of an emergency, but is extremely valuable for targeting methamphetamine and other drug activities.
We believe very, very strongly that this hotline is going to be inundated with information. As a result, we have extended the duration of the message allowing people to leave longer, more detailed messages.
Is this line truly going to be anonymous?
The only way officers will contact you is if you leave your name, phone number and address. It would be helpful to investigators if they were able to contact the reporting party, however, it’s not necessary. If you leave your name and number, that does not mean you can’t remain anonymous. You simply have to inform the officer of your preference.
What if the information is not drug related?
We recognize that drug use is the underlying root of a variety of crimes. People are encouraged to report if someone appears to be living outside of their obvious means, if chemical odors are emanating from a house, or there’s a lot of traffic at a particular address. Drug sales may not be related to those calls, but the home may be a place to use. We don’t want either in this community.
A survey last week of 50 people booked into the Carson City Jail revealed 42 percent admitted using methamphetamine on a regular basis.
Of that 42 percent, only 38 percent were employed. In order to use meth, you must have some source of money and users are likely to lie, cheat, and steal to feed their habit.
What is the goal of the meth hotline?
Our goal is, within 24 hours of receiving a tip, a deputy will respond to that information. Responding means contact will be made with the target, the information will be passed along to Tri-Net Narcotics Task Force, or the issue will be resolved. Sometimes the information will not be valid tips on criminal activity, and we recognize that. But let us be the judge of whether the information is vital or not.
Besides criminal investigations, where else will the information be useful?
Property owners will be informed on a regular basis of any illicit drug activity on their premises. During a recent search of a home, we were able to inform the landlord of heavy property damage, gang and drug activity. As a result, the property owners hastily got here and evicted those persons who were not arrested.