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Police & Fire News

June 29, 2014

New website identifies Indiana meth locations

New Albany realtor: Information could be useful to prospective homebuyers

INDIANAPOLIS — It is now easier for Hoosiers to find out where methamphetamine activity is taking place in their communities.

The Indiana State Police has recently launched a public website that maps all the locations where the agency responded to methamphetamine production or where remnants of the drug use have been left behind.

“It is primarily a source for the public and purchasers of a property,” said ISP Sgt. Micheal Toles,  who serves the state’s  northern section. “The website educates the public of the number of labs and where they are located.”

The website, meth.in.gov, shows incidents dating back to 2007.

“The map shows over 10,000 [methamphetamine] seizures. That is a large number. It is very impactful and sends a message to the public,” Toles said.

The online database allows users many options to view the information, including a mapping system and searching by a specific county.

The mapping system identifies locations of methamphetamine sites, and each incident has additional information available through an occurrence report.

“The occurrence report shows the address, the date, and time of seizure,” Toles said.

The report also lists if the response was made to a structure, vehicle, or a dump site of methamphetamine materials such as a ditch or creek bed. “The website is very helpful.”

The online information was made available through the actions of the Indiana General Assembly that required the ISP have website functional by July 1, and the agency has already put the site online.

Toles said legislators, real estate professionals and law enforcement officials worked collectively to design the law preceding the website, which is designed as more of a resource to community members than a tool to law enforcement officials.

It is expected those who may benefit most from the website’s information are homebuyers, who can search for an area for methamphetamine activity, as they may search a sex offender registry in a particular neighborhood.

New Albany-based Schuler Bauer Realtor DJ Hines said he understands the new law as another step to help homebuyers make more informed purchases.

He said Realtors sometimes deal with properties deemed “stigmatized,” which includes homes where a grisly crime may have occurred or believed to be haunted.

Hines said in some case Realtors are required to disclose a home’s stigmatized attributes, and in other cases they are not.

“As I read the law, I understand it that we [Realtors] will be required to make this [previous methamphetamine site] disclosure,” he said.

Hines said it remains unclear how prospective buyers will respond to learning that a home listing was once the site where a methamphetamine clean up was required.

“I’m not sure if it will be relevant to the buyer, if the property has been properly cleaned and the cleaning is approved by the county, and there are no concerns of lingering effects,” he said.

Hines supports efforts to make more information available to potential home buyers, and he advocates buyers to purchase proactively.

“I think buyers should be more diligent in asking about all aspects of a property that they are thinking about purchasing,” he said.

Hines said in his 35 years of working in real estate, buyers today can become more knowledgeable of home listings than possibly ever before.

“[The law] is part of a process of educating the consumer the best we can with everything we know about a particular property,” Hines said. “And, I think that is positive.”

 

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