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Number of Meth Lab Incidents Increases in 2013; Enforcement Continues

The numbers are in and they show the meth problem is still very prevalent in Vanderburgh County. Evansville Police detectives say it's the result of continued enforcement and increased awareness.

The numbers are in and they show the meth problem is still prevalent in Vanderburgh County. The Evansville Police Department has released a map showing the 113 meth lab incidents in 2013. Last year's total surpasses the 111 meth lab incidents reported in 2012 but falls short of the 130 meth lab incidents reported in 2011.

"It's just a Midwest drug," said Detective Brock Hensley, one of the members of the Evansville Police Department's Meth Suppression Unit. "It's taken it's roots in this area We're stuck with the problem."

Each one of the 113 meth lab incidents last year doesn't take into account how many actual meth labs were found at each incident, Hensley said. Very rarely do authorities find just one actual meth lab during each bust. In fact, during one bust in May 2012, detectives discovered more than 100 one-pot meth labs.

"We think the problem is serious," Det. Hensley said. "Obviously the prosecutor's office thinks it's serious. The mayor's office thinks it's serious. He started a coalition to combat meth."

Det. Hensley said the numbers are just indicative of the meth problem in Vanderburgh County. The numbers are also a byproduct of increased enforcement and awareness.

"When you have a full time unit out there, that's our sole job to hunt for meth labs and meth-related crimes whereas a lot of other counties don't have that same luxury of having that," Det. Hensley said. "On the other side of that question, I would say the activity is still up where it was."

"The more the public is informed and the more aware the public is, the better off we'll be."

On the map released by EPD, it shows a high concentration of meth lab incidents in the Jimtown area, one of Evansville's most densely populated areas. However, Det. Hensley says the meth problem has become prevalent all over the city and county.

"One thing we're starting to learn is that meth really has no geographic boundaries," Det. Hensley said. "We're starting to see it in every bit of the community."
 
As the meth problem spreads across Vanderburgh county, it appears to largely stay confined to a certain demographic.

According to statistics provided by the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office, there were no charges filed against people whose race is black or Hispanic. There were 295 meth-related charges filed against white males last year and 187 meth-related charges against white females.

There were 51 charges filed against males whose race was listed as 'other' which means non-African American, white or Hispanic. There were 13 meth-related charges filed against females whose race was listed as 'other.'



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