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PBSO: ‘Bad batch’ of drugs on Lake Worth streets causing overdose spike

The city has seen a troubling spike in the number of overdose cases the past two months, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Captain Todd Baer told City Commissioners Tuesday night.

“There’s a bad batch out there right now,” Baer said. “Street level pharmacists must not be lacing (the drugs) well.”

There were 53 overdose cases in March where the victims were revived, up from 18 in February, Baer said.

READ: Can a colorful tile mural smashed by a reckless truck driver be saved?

Five cases were fatal last month, an increase from two in February.

“We’ve had more overdoses in March than any month since last July,” Baer said. “April is trending the same way… we’re not out of the woods.”

As for overall crime in Lake Worth in 2016, it was down 2.7 percent compared to 2015, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s uniform crime report.

READ THE POST SPECIAL REPORT: Heroin: Killer of a generation

Baer said violent crime was up six percent, while property crime was down five percent.

The number of reported murders were up from seven in 2015 to 10 in 2016. Aggravated assaults also jumped from 230 to 279.

There were 36 rapes in Lake Worth last year, down from 47 the previous year. Robberies also fell from 197 to 185 and burglaries decreased from 490 to 432.

“Overall it’s real good news, but it’s a mixed bad,” he said.

READ: Tears, anger as more than 100 people call for help on opiods crisis

As for prostitution, Baer said the sheriff’s office made 31 arrests in the past six months.

“It’s a lower number because less of them are out there,” Baer said. “They disappeared for a while, but they’re starting to pop up again.”

Two illicit massage parlors — one on the 2500 block of N. Dixie Highway, the other on South J Street — were raided in the past six months.

In partnership with the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, Baer said Lake Worth is trying to compile a list of citizens who are willing to attend first appearance at the the Palm Beach County jail.

“It’s one thing when we go up there and tell the judge how important of an issue this is, but it speaks volumes when citizens attend,” Baer said. “It lets the judge know how serious an issue this is.”

In other PBSO news, Baer said 10 high-definition, color cameras are close to being operational in city hot-spots.

“We’re almost there,” Baer said. “We hit some technical and legal loopholes.”

The cameras are built and waiting on radio transmitters, Baer said.

The city is also making a list of businesses and residences near main thoroughfares who want to voluntarily give their IP address and access to their cameras. Baer said so far 400 are on that list.

“Preferably it’s a business,” he said. “We don’t want to see inside your house. We just want to get tags and people walking by. What would take days to see on video, now takes minutes.”

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