LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Lafayette Police said the number of drug arrests this year continues to increase, and the new uptick could be based on new policing methods getting results.
Investigators said they’ve seen nearly two dozen drug-related arrests so far in March.
Wednesday afternoon, police said they found a marijuana grow operation on Johnson Street, complete with 49 plants, Xanax, and steroids. Police arrested Danielle Marie Richardson, 37, who now faces a list of drug charges.
“We’ve seen an increase in heroin, spice, methamphetamine,” said Sgt. Scott Galloway, with Lafayette Police, “A lot of our shootings and issues with violent crimes and robberies have been drug-related.”
Galloway points to other big busts, one last week netted cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, while putting six people behind bars.
Statistics from Lafayette Police show 505 drug-related arrests in 2011. The number dipped in following years but increased to 682 in 2015.
So far in 2016, there’ve been 189 arrests, almost 28% of last year’s total.
Galloway said the crimes are isolated to Lafayette, with no real connection across the river to West Lafayette or Purdue University.
“The street-level drugs we’re seeing are not necessarily associated with Purdue or have anything to do with those kids coming over and using drugs,” he said.
Lafayette Police have also implemented a number of new policies aimed at curbing the drug problem. Officers now take home their cars. The department beefed up the number of officers on a drug task force, and they’re hiring a dedicated drug dispatcher.
Galloway himself is part of a newly expanded community outreach arm, with the goal of getting more neighborhood involvement and tips.
“I’m also about every night going out and talking to a neighborhood group or some sort of community group that wants to be involved,” he said.
Neighbor Woody Doyle didn’t know the woman arrested at the alleged marijuana house across the street from his, but he said if he got wind of it, he would’ve turned them in.
“If I know they have done it, I’m going to call them in,” he said, “If they’re doing drugs on my block, I’m going to call them in.”