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Springfield MO police create map to help you track former meth lab sites

'All those chemicals and the leftovers from that is such a health concern.'

September 30, 2010|by Sara Forhetz, KY3 News | sforhetz@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--  Springfield police are mapping out the city's methamphetamine problem one home at a time.  It's a move to let potential homeowners know what they're getting into, and to let you see what your neighbors might be up to.

Starting Friday morning, anyone living in Springfield, or interested in buying here can see exactly what has gone on inside a home that's potentially on their short lists to buy.  The Springfield Police Department's website will pinpoint where meth labs have been found.

The police chief says it's one more tool in the fight against meth.

Just this week, pharmacies in the state joined a new computerized tracking system to try to stop meth makers who try to buy too much medicine containing pseudoephdrine, a key ingredient in meth production.  The Springfield Police Department's new map throws one more wrench into their plans.

"We decided we needed to show people where these meth labs are being discovered," said Chief Paul Williams.  "All those chemicals and the leftovers from that is such a health concern for parents and kids, and we're trying to really make it safer for people."

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Williams says he wanted to start mapping any and every meth lab in the city.  He says the idea started out as a tool just to help officers know which areas to target but the dots were all over the map, and they showed a big jump in cases, and he wanted everyone to know.

"We had a 193-percent increase between 2009, to date, and 2010, to date, in the number of meth labs we recovered," said Williams.

There were about 44 this year, and 19 last year.  With this, he hopes to knock that number down once again.

"This will give people an opportunity to go online: 'I'm getting ready to rent this house, or buy it.'  Just click on it; say, 'Okay, there was a meth lab down the street,' or 'That was in the street,' or 'It was this address.'  Ask the owner: 'I need proof you cleaned this up,'" the chief said.

Property owners are required to have any meth houses decontaminated.  That can cost up to $10,000 or $15,000.

Arkansas also maps meth houses at Arkansas Meth Map.

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