It is a frequent complaint and problem we hear about from our viewers. Drug paraphernalia has been found in yards, parks, and more. One family in the Garland District fears the problem is only getting worse.
“I just want answers on what to do,” Krystel Hamilton said.
Krystel called our ‘Help Me Hayley’ after finding a pile of syringes next to their vehicle and only feet from her children’s swing set. She says she’s loved her home for years, but now it’s getting increasingly difficult.
“It's an old house...so much family history…I can't let go of it,” she said. “It was my grandparent’s house.”
The wind story in January caused damage to the property that is still being repaired. The family has been spending more time at her mother’s place. Krystel told KHQ she fears someone took advantage of their time away.
“I'm tired of it,” she said. “Some tried to break in (through a window.) That’s my boy’s room.”
The family says in the past few weeks, they have noticed a spike in criminal activity. What worries them the most is the evidence of it that is left behind.
“It's happening all along the alleyways and everywhere,” she said. “I shouldn't have to live like this. I shouldn't have to worry about needles in my driveway. If my kids want to have friends over, I shouldn't have to worry about them being poked.”
But the reality is, she now has to.
“That’s crap…I'm sorry but it is,” she said.
She says she called the crime check Monday morning after finding a pile of syringes. She says she was referred to 311.
“And they were like, the needles are on your property it's kind of your responsibility,” she said. “I'm not touching those needles. I don't know what’s on them or what they were used for.”
Her story is one that has been echoed by many of our viewers stating they have found drug-related material on their property. Since law enforcement typically cannot collect paraphernalia, homeowners are left trying to discard it safely on their own.
The Spokane Regional Health District has some guidelines on how to handle this with precautions. They have released the following guidelines:
- Do not attempt to recap the syringe.
- Find a rigid-walled opaque plastic, puncture-resistant, sealable container. (Example: coffee can, liquid detergent or bleach bottle)
- Consider using latex/rubber gloves, if possible. Be aware of finger dexterity. Also, tongs can be used, but be aware of control dexterity.
- Bring the container toward the location of the syringe.
- Place the container firmly on the ground beside the syringe.
- Do not hold the container upright in your hands as you are disposing of the syringe.
- Carefully pick up the syringe by the middle of the barrel.
- Keep the sharp end of the syringe facing away from you at all times.
- Place the syringe in the container, sharp end first, then drop.
- Securely place the lid on the container, holding the container at the top.
- Remove gloves (if used) and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- If there are multiple syringes (piled), they should be carefully separated using tongs prior to placing in container. Do not separate using your hands, shoes, or sticks.
- Instruct children to inform an adult if they find unsafely disposed syringes.
Krystel does live next to the warming shelter Jewels Helping Hands. On Monday, she spoke with the supervisor who gave her information on who to contact if she sees more paraphernalia. She was told their volunteers have the appropriate equipment to collect it safely. They also told the family they have added their home for hourly perimeter, safety checks throughout the night.