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Officials say warmer weather brings increase in illegal drug and - KOAM TV 7

Officials say warmer weather brings increase in illegal drug and alcohol activity at the falls outside Joplin

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Local law enforcement officials say warmer weather brings an increase in illegal drug and alcohol activity at the falls just outside Joplin.

By day, the falls are a hidden gem of the Four States.

However, by night, it's sometimes also a hot spot for illegal activity.

"The first time I actually came to the falls, I really didn't pick up on it because I thought this was just a nice place to come and hang out with your family," said Tyler Merriott, Joplin resident. "I saw quite a few people out here with their coolers, and their coolers were not filled with water. They were filled with alcohol, substances and stuff."

Merriott says sometimes what is left behind, creates a danger to young children.

"If somebody leaves marijuana and a kid eats that or something, you just have to be careful," he said.

"You don't want them picking things off the ground," said Corporal Chuck Niess, Joplin Police Department. "There are occasionally needles out there, although we try to keep those picked up."

And many advise closely watching pets too.

Law enforcement officials say they plan to have extra patrols in the area throughout the summer.

"Anytime you see something that's wrong or doesn't look right to you, please call the police and let us know," Niess said. "Extra eyes and ears always help."

Officials say public consumption is the most common offense at the falls, but vehicle break-ins have also been an issue.

"People need to be aware of that and not leave valuables in their car," Niess said.

Neiss says people should not be afraid of visiting the falls, just aware of their surroundings.

"Be aware that there are things like that here, so just a precaution," Merriott said.

Officials say they plan to begin having extra patrols in the area once Joplin Schools dismiss for summer.
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