Families ‘living in fear’ as neighbourhood garages turn into crime dens

‘This is not a way to live,’ says mother afraid of drug dealers in her street

This innocent-looking garage may be harbouring drug dealers.

This innocent-looking garage may be harbouring drug dealers.

Families are being forced to live in fear in their own homes as criminals setting up their operations nearby intimidate them to the point that they fear speaking to the authorities, it has emerged.

A mother who spoke to The Sunday Times of Malta on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions described how her neighbours had “taken over the street” she lives in, running what residents believe to be a shady business in one of the garages there.

She described how men in pairs visited the garage regularly, with the visits increasing on the weekends. While the garage owners claim to be running a hair salon, the visitors come ready with their hair styled and often have someone waiting outside the entrance while the other is inside.

We have taken to spending the least amount of time in our home possible to avoid even seeing them. Others do the same

Despite being concerned that the garage may be serving as a front for criminal activity, the mother said that nobody wants to speak to the authorities for fear of repercussions.

She explained that when she attempted to seek assistance from the police some years ago, the garage owners made it their life’s mission to shut her up, resorting to intimidation tactics that included standing on her doorstep and showering her with insults each time she walked out the door.

“We have taken to spending the least amount of time in our home possible to avoid even seeing them. Other neighbours do the same and avoid anything that might get in their way. It is not a way to live,” she said.

The mother came forward with her concern following a Times of Malta report that drug dealers were renting garages and housing animals in them in an attempt to distract police dogs from sniffing drugs as criminal operations become more organised.

Police sources also said that criminals were often choosing spots where their activities did not raise suspicions.

Asked whether the fear expressed by this woman was common, a senior police source admitted that there had been cases where people were afraid of filing reports, not only because of the hassle that went into filing them but because they were concerned about repercussions.

The police source described how some would rather ignore the problem and not get involved rather than reporting the criminals and possibly being made to testify against them in court.

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