What happens when a drug den is operating in your neighbourhood? The rumour mill may be going strong but where are the police? The police aren't often hanging out on the street so they may be completely unaware of the problem.
In Toronto that scenario played out this year when a local business was the scene of a major drug investigation. The 14 Division Major Crime Unit of Toronto Police are seeking to get a pizza parlour that was a front of a drug operation forfeitured.
In a phone interview, Detective Karen Chapman of Toronto Police said, "We have to assume that this was going on for a while" considering the amount of drugs that were seized on Feb. 13 when the search warrant took place.
Pizza Gigi is located across from a local high school. For some time it was fairly well known in the community that something was going on. Students whispered about it in the school hallways. When the search warrant was issued there were no questions on why it was issued but instead why did it take so long.
There was a simple answer for that question, the police had only been in the loop about the rumours for a week according to Detective Chapman.
"The information wasn't known to the police. In this case information came in and we investigated it right away." Chapman went on to explain that witnesses who come forward are always protected. "If a witness is ever thought to be in jeopardy we will stop with that aspect of an investigation."
Chapman stressed that witnesses are always looked after and that calling in information will not put a person in harm's way. In fact not letting the police know when there's something criminal going on in your neighbourhood is more dangerous.
"Assume the police do not know about local criminal activity in your area. Police aren't privy to local rumour mills. We need residents to give us that information," Chapman added that when you call it helps to have as much information as possible such as times of criminal activity, descriptions of people involved and even licence plate numbers.
As for the future fate of GiGi Pizza, Detective Richard MacCheyne with the Financial Crimes Unit, Asset Forfeiture Unit, said that if it is forfeited the federal government will depose it.
"We have no idea what the federal government will do with it," MacCheyne said during a phone interview, "At this time it's only an allegation. The owner can still go into the business he just can not sell it or put a lien on the property."