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10 Signs Your Neighbor is a Drug Dealer

Michelle Wilson - February 11, 2022

10 Signs Your Neighbor is a Drug Dealer

The last thing anyone wants to think about in their neighborhood is a drug dealer or manufacturer setting up shop next door. Unfortunately, due to the vicinity of homes, neighbors’ activities can hold a direct influence on your daily life, too – whether you want them to or not. Although troublesome neighbors can be a nuisance, they aren’t always serious issues needing investigation. If you have a few suspicions that your neighbor is making or selling drugs, there may be merit to your concerns. Most drug dealers have similar red flags, regardless of where they live. To help get you started, here are ten signs your neighbor is a drug dealer.

Having Plenty of Visitors

There’s a fine line between a social neighbor and someone bringing significant foot traffic to the property. Most drug dealers will use the home as a pickup spot or “drug house” to hold illegal substances. Pay attention to the faces coming and going on the property, look for new people, and repeat guests, mainly if it seems they never visit long.

Living a Great Life without Employment

When something doesn’t add up, it might suggest something more sinister at play. If your neighbor isn’t employed by seems to have cash burning a hole in their pocket constantly, they may have a side hustle off the books. Look for large amounts of cash purchases or significant buying power from an individual with minimal resources. For example, someone driving around in an expensive car despite having no job for the last three years may suggest a red flag.

Unwelcoming Environment

Your neighbor seems to have high levels of security on the property, with cameras and floodlights. They also post plenty of no trespassing, keep out, or beware of dog signs around the property. While they might be protective of their property, there’s a chance they’re hiding what’s within the property too.

Sudden Increase in Criminal Activity

When your previously peaceful neighborhood suddenly becomes a hot spot for theft, vandalism, or other criminal activities, there may be a more significant issue at hand. Unfortunately, individuals using controlled substances are often connected with illegal activity, making your area a prime target for problems.

A Suspicious House

If you walk through a neighborhood, most homes will look relatively similar in appearance and upkeep. Physical differences might include blacked-out windows (using blackout curtains or cardboard), heavy coverings year-round that never seem to open, or high privacy fences in the backyard. If your neighbor’s house struggles to fit in, there’s a chance they’ve got something to hide. If you live in a cold climate, look at the roof of homes in your area. Most drug manufacturing or growing houses require excessive heat (notably growing operations without indoor tents), melting ice and snow off the roof well ahead of others.

Very Antisocial Behavior

Some people are naturally private, but if it seems your neighbor avoids people at every opportunity, it might be an indicator. Look for paranoid, unfriendly, or odd behaviors from the residents, especially if someone comes to the door.

Strange Items in the Trash

While you can’t always rummage through someone else’s trash, pay attention to the items thrown away. If you’re noticing strange things appearing in the garbage continuously, there’s a chance something malicious is happening next door. Items might include cat litter, large bags of salt, antifreeze, brake fluid, drain cleaner, batteries, and plastic bottles with holes in the top.

Ventilation Systems

Many drug manufacturers remove excess fumes or humidity on the property, requiring different ventilation systems. These might include additional vents or fans at the windows or continuously running humidifiers on the property. While the occasional fan running doesn’t cause concern (especially during the summer months), using them constantly without stopping may highlight dangerous activities.

Drug Paraphernalia Around the Property

These items include any material, product, or equipment used to compound, produce, or administer a controlled substance. Depending on the product, these items may vary. Finding these items around the property may be a red flag, especially if you notice other issues. Items like burnt bottle caps or spoons, razor blades, cotton balls, foil, rubber tubing, or small plastic bags indicate controlled substances. Constantly finding these items on the property (or blown on to neighboring properties) may show something.

Strong Chemical Odors

Manufacturing drugs require significant quantities of chemicals that give off a strong smell, especially in manufacturing areas of the home. These areas might include the garage, basement, or kitchen (or the vents and windows leading outside). These products give off strong odors, like vinegar, rotten eggs, or ammonia (like popular window cleaners). Having the occasional smell from a property is normal, but it may be worth reporting if these smells don’t let up after a few days.

What Should I Do if I Think My Neighbors Are Dealing Drugs?

If you believe there’s a good chance that your neighbors are dealing or manufacturing drugs, you should take a few moments to consider your next steps. Every action comes with a potential risk that you should weigh out carefully. Make sure you’re basing these decisions on facts, not assumptions. Here’s how to handle a possible drug dealer living in your neighborhood:

Contact the Landlord

For rented properties, always contact the landlord regarding your concerns. Give the landlord facts and any supporting documents to your claim. If possible, this reporting should be anonymous, especially if you believe the tenant is likely to retaliate.

Start a Neighborhood Watch

Individuals concerned about their safety have power in numbers. If you’ve become concerned about your neighborhood, reach out to others to start a safety committee. Record any dangerous or threatening activity, along with concerning behaviors. Having multiple houses involved will help build your case.

Perform a Background Check

Running a background check might shed some insight if you know the individual’s first and last name (or other identifying details). Background checks will include any credit history, criminal activities, and employment details on the candidate. By carefully reviewing the background report, you’ll have a better understanding of who your neighbor is and whether they’ve previously been involved with concerning hobbies.

Contact the Police

You should report any activities making you feel threatened or endangered to the authorities, but only if there is evidence of your suspicion. For example, reporting a potential drug dealer without proof will likely be ignored (and build tension between you and the neighbor). Give the authorities specifics and details without hypothesizing. If you suspect the neighbor is dealing drugs, let them know the behaviors that concern you, items you’ve found (paraphernalia or chemicals, for example), and concerns you have.


While these red flags and signs aren’t concrete identifiers, they highlight key areas to monitor when you have concerns. Drug manufacturers and dealers can take up in any neighborhood, often going without detection until there’s a significant problem or issue. If you’re questioning whether your neighbor is involved with criminal activity, you’ve noticed bizarre or concerning behaviors that seem abnormal.

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