Recently, there was a rather notable marijuana bust in San Mateo that netted 530 plants, due to a tip from a “concerned citizen.” Every one of us probably has some kind of self-appointed concerned citizen living in our neighborhoods, and it’s thanks to people like them that we can discover there’s a pot house in an otherwise quiet, suburban subdivision.
Check out the neighborhood, courtesy of Zillow. This does not look like the meth district. And the house isn’t just on the West side of El Camino, it’s on the West side of Alameda. And on the Peninsula, West means more prestige, more appeal, and more Real. If any part of San Mateo is going to aspire to Real Bay Areahood, this is a good place to start looking.
The local San Mateo Patch has some helpful hints on how you too can be a concerned citizen and rat your neighbors out for running a grow house. Here’s how to tell what they’re up to:
Manheimer and Alcantara encourage the help of citizens in locating neighborhood grow sites. Each suggested some indicators that there might be an operation in your neighborhood.
"You’d hear whirring noises," says Alcantara, "because they need to have filtration inside the house. They need to get the oxygen out, and the carbon dioxide in for the plants, so they have filtration systems set up.
- Infrequent visits by individuals who stay for a couple hours and then leave.
Because everyone knows that suburban get-togethers last all the livelong day.
- Lights in the house appear to be regulated, and on timers. Sometimes, rooms inside seem perpetually lit.
I wonder who it was who suggested putting lights on timers (see Home Safety).
- Initial construction and the noise that comes from that work.
Because nothing says grow house like noise from contractors.
- A "skunky" marijuana odor, and other odors, such as those from mothballs, air fresheners or chlorine, which are used in an attempt to mask the marijuana smell.
- Unusual garbage strewn across lawn. Items used for growing marijuana, such as wiring, PVC piping and nutrient containers, may be discarded and left around the house.
So that’s why we’re seeing so many nominations for the Burbed Good Housekeeping Tag of Approval.
- Windows covered in dark plastic or newspaper.
Better have them check out the goth teen across the street for the blackout curtains, too.
Remember the words of Robert Frost: Bad neighbors make good fences.
Let us know about any questionable signs your neighbor is running something nefarious, or any interesting things you see when touring Open Houses. This is an Open Thread, so open up.