The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order that took effect at noon on May 13, authorizing them to close the house at 14031 118 Street for 90 days.
Under terms of the community safety order granted by the court, crews boarded up the house, changed the locks and erected a fence around the property. The barriers will remain in place until Aug. 11, and no one is allowed to enter the property during the closure period.
“Law-abiding Albertans deserve to live in safe communities free from drugs and the traffickers that pollute them. Thanks to the SCAN unit, people in this neighbourhood can rest easier. We value the relentless efforts of the SCAN unit and its law enforcement partners who keep Albertans safe, secure and protected.”
Multiple complaints from the community about drug use and drug trafficking associated with the property sparked the SCAN investigation, which began in October 2019.
SCAN investigators confirmed drug activity was taking place at the property, which is near a community park and an elementary school.
“The fact that drug-related activity was happening near an elementary school and a park make this particularly concerning. Our government will continue to remain vigilant to provide law enforcement with the tools and resources they need to protect vulnerable Albertans from those who would prey on them.”
The recent investigation is the second involving this property. In 2015, SCAN investigators responding to a complaint about drug activity issued a warning letter to the property owner, who is believed to be the sole resident of the house.
In addition to observing criminal activities covered by the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, investigators also noted the high volume of people coming and going from the property created an elevated risk of spreading COVID-19 by not following physical distancing recommendations outlined by public health officials.
Due to restrictions on court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, investigators had to first apply to Court of Queen’s Bench for an emergency hearing before proceeding with a community safety order application.
After being granted an emergency hearing, investigators obtained a community safety order in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench on May 5. In addition to barring anyone from the property until Aug. 11, the court order places the property under supervision until May 5, 2021.
The SCAN unit works with other law enforcement agencies to shut down properties being used for illegal activities. The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the authority to target problem properties through civil enforcement.
Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated more than 5,800 problem properties and issued more than 80 community safety orders. The majority of complaints are resolved by working with property owners to keep criminal activity out of the community.