A private security company under contract to the City of Chilliwack is offering landlords a service to detect marijuana grow-operations using a mobile heat-seeking device.
Brian Goldstone, CEO at Griffin Investigation & Securities Ltd., said the service, the first of its kind that he is aware of, will be offered throughout the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Greater Vancouver.
He said the $14,000 mobile FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red camera) is not as powerful as those that can detect human bodies, so privacy should not be an issue.
“We’re not out there trying to see people in their homes or what they’re up to,” he said.
However, the unit can measure the “heat signature” of a rental property and detect the greater amount of heat required by a marijuana grow-operation.
The inspection would normally take place from the roadside, at night, without entering the property.
Goldstone said once a grow-op is indicated, the property owner can give the tenant two-weeks notice of a physical inspection of the rental unit.
A marijuana grower would then likely quickly dismantle the equipment.
“They’re not going to want their grow-op found,” he said.
Property owners who buy into the service will also be able to advise prospective tenants that FLIR inspections will take place on a monthly basis.
“The whole idea is to prevent (grow-ops),” Goldstone said. “I hope we never find one.”
The $75 fee for the monthly FLIR inspection is a small price to pay for the thousands of dollars in remedial work that landlords face when a rental property is used for a marijuana grow operation.
Goldstone, a retired police officer, said his company came up with the idea after doing some research and deciding it could be a money-maker for the company and at the same time help protect landlords from illegal marijuana growers.
“Landlords have no insurance to cover (the cleanup),” he said, which recently cost one Mission landlord $18,000.
Griffin recently won a security contract with the City of Chilliwack, but operates in several other Lower Mainland municipalities with a staff of over 100 and nine security vehicles.