How to spot a meth lab in your neighborhood

By Stefanie

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) With two Meth Lab busts last week, one in North Charleston and the other in Lincolnville, it seems like the criminal activity is on the rise in the Lowcountry.

Bomb squad expert Lt. Patrick Morris of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office said the increase in meth lab cases recently is not unusual.

"They run in cycles just like any other criminal activity. They are always there; they just run under the surface and it takes tactics to determine if we have meth labs and then take appropriate meth lab action," Lt. Patrick Morris said.

But there are ways to spot a meth lab in your neighborhood in order to keep you and your family safe.

"Indictors that we go for are odd behavior is the key, strange odors, larger than normal AC units, or excessive use of AC in the winter time, boarding up windows, not putting out trash or burning trash, these are suspicious indicators of clandestine labs," Morris said.{}"Surveillance, unusual surveillance, cameras in the house, especially expensive surveillance camera equipment can also be an indicator."

Officials said a vast majority of how they bust labs comes from good tips from citizens, and that they would rather a person call and it be nothing than to not call at all.

"The laws have gotten stronger, they have gotten harsher, because when you get caught now you go to prison and it's just not aimed at the manufacturing of drugs but they took into consideration the danger that it brought to the public," Morris said.

Nearby meth labs can lead to respiratory infections or injury, even if you don't know you've been exposed, and the fatal threat of fires.