The number of illegal drug labs found in rental properties is steadily rising, prompting police in Queensland to run information sessions on identifying signs of drug manufacturing.
According to a report from the Australian Crime Commission, there were 379 clandestine meth labs found in Queensland, more than double the number found in Western Australia, which was 160.
However, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ), many property managers consider themselves to be in low-risk areas, while this is far from the case.
“I have come to understand that illegal drug activity is not exclusive to outlying suburbs and learned some of the indicators most would overlook, but are in fact a blaringly obvious clue to identifying a meth lab,” wrote the REIQ Journal's Amanda Haack, who works closely with the Queensland Police Service Drug Squad
The Crime Commission report supported REIQ's position, claiming that “Residential areas remain the most common location for clandestine laboratory detections.
“Following a relatively stable period between 2003/2004 and 2007/2008, the number of clandestine laboratories detected nationally has increased,” the report says. “In 2011/2012, the number of clandestine laboratories detected in Australia increased 15 per cent, from 703 in 2010/2011 to 809 in 2011/2012.”
Ninety-nine labs were discovered in Victoria, 90 in NSW, 58 in South Australia, 15 in Tasmania and 7 in the Northern Territory. One lab was discovered in the ACT.
“The circumstances in which Queensland property managers are required to conduct routine inspections means their eyes should be wide open to such clues,” Ms Haack said.
“In June, the REIQ in conjunction with the Queensland Police, Aon, Carter Newell Lawyers and TADDA [The Australian Drug Detection Agency], will host a series of interactive networking breakfast sessions that will identify key risks areas and the associated recognition and response tactics that every property manager must know.”