Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit June 27, 2012 - 9:00 am

We’ve reduced storefront drug dealing: Iqaluit RCMP

We could be around any corner at any time”

SAMANTHA DAWSON
Music is blasted outside Arctic Ventures store in Iqaluit to deter drug peddlers and loiterers from hanging around outside. Starting this summer, RCMP officers are stepping out from their vehicles to do this themselves. They intend to catch criminal activity and random acts of mischief by foot and ATV patrols. (FILE PHOTO)
Music is blasted outside Arctic Ventures store in Iqaluit to deter drug peddlers and loiterers from hanging around outside. Starting this summer, RCMP officers are stepping out from their vehicles to do this themselves. They intend to catch criminal activity and random acts of mischief by foot and ATV patrols. (FILE PHOTO)

The decision by the RCMP to add foot and all-terrain vehicle patrols has helped curb drug trafficking in front of local businesses, Sgt. Kevin Lewis said June 26 at a city council meeting.

Foot and ATV patrols will start again this weekend, he said, with some RCMP members wearing plain clothes.

Obviously, it’s much easier to intercept drug dealers when you are not wearing a police uniform, Lewis said.

“We could be around any corner at any time,” he said.

The RCMP’s “V” division has seen a significant reduction in loitering as a result of the patrols, which act as deterrents, so “it’s something we are going to maintain because it is successful,” Lewis said.

“We’re seeing a lot less people hanging out who are causing drug trafficking,” he added.

Drug traffickers are more cautious now, and drug-dealing at store-fronts occurs less frequently than a year ago, when it was “quite rampant and out in the open.”

However, when the sealift ships arrive, there will be an increase in illegal cargo, accompanied by a spike in bootlegging. That’s the norm, Lewis said, because “sealift is a convenient way to import alcohol.”

The RCMP relies on information from the public before police can act to stop shipments of alcohol, which are illegally imported or shipped in large amounts.

“We are prepared to deal with that as we get the information,” Lewis said.

During the Canada Day weekend, RCMP will have help from bylaw officers.

“We have beefed up our manpower for this weekend,” he said.

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