How to Spot a Grow Op

The general public are often the eyes and ears of the police. If you observe suspicious drug activity in your neighbourhood call us at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 613-233-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-8477.

Top 10 Signs that a House May be Being Used as a Grow Op in Your Neighbourhood:

  1. House has a "not lived in" feel: Many grow operations do not have people living inside them.
  2. Unusual visitor behaviour: Inconsistencies in visitors to and from the residence, ranging from no visitors giving the appearance of seclusion, to frequent visitors for short time periods.
  3. Constant noise : The sounds of humming fans can be Pipes through the bathroomheard because the air may be vented through the chimney, into the attic, or even into the sewer system. In addition, the sounds of construction late at night could be an indicator.
  4. Covered windows: Covered with white plastic, heavy curtains pressed against the windows or blinds that are tightly shut and pressed against the windows. These window coverings will never be opened.
  5. Condensation: Humidity inside a grow room is approximately 65% with temperatures above 30 degrees celsius. These conditions cause condensation on windows and walls that result in mould, mildew and rot.Power supply
  6. Random power surges: Neighbours may experience unexplained power surges or power "browning" (decrease of power which dims lights and slows down appliances) with the return of normal power flow approximately 12 hours later.
  7. "Beware of Dog" or "Guard Dog on Duty" signs: Used to deter trespassing, protect against theft and detection by police.
  8. Odd odour : The unique smell of a grow house has been chemicalsdescribed as a sweet vegetative smell or a mix of a skunk and rotting cabbage. Often, the smell of mothballs or fabric softeners are present as they are frequently used to mask the smell of the operation.
  9. Property History : Premises used previously as marijuana grow operations are known among the criminal groups and are used repeatedly.
  10. Distractions : Outdoor and/or indoor lights, radio and/or TV on for 24 hours, flyers left in mailbox or on the front steps, children's toys and bikes outside without children living there or seen at the residence, realty signs posted on front lawn.

The detection, investigation, dismantling, and cleanup to return grow op houses to the housing market is a complex undertaking. Sometimes, damage to a building is not visible. The Notification of Marijuana Grow Operation Protocol Agreement ensures that the necessary steps are taken to have the building made safe for the public and allows a potential buyer or real estate agents to be aware of the damages. For more information on Grow Houses, please visit the City of Ottawa website or call 3-1-1.