British Columbia

'I want to feel safe in my own yard,' says woman who found used syringe in her garden

A mother of two in Prince George is concerned that homelessness, drug addiction and crime in the area are spilling into neighbourhood yards after finding a discarded needle.

Prince George, B.C., bylaw officers picked up a five-gallon bucket full of needles this summer

Hana Bullard stands in her yard where she found a discarded syringe, likely used for injecting illegal drugs. (Audrey McKinnon/CBC)

A mother of two in Prince George is concerned that a surge in homelessness, crime and drug use in the area is spilling into residents' yards after finding a discarded needle in her garden.

Hana Bullard, who has a one-year-old and four-year-old, found the used needle in her front yard last week while talking to a neighbour.

Her children were following just behind her when she spotted the sharp object.

"I still feel a little sick to my stomach thinking about it," she told CBC's Audrey McKinnon.

"As soon as you see it, you have this image of your small child contacting this."

Hana Bullard says she doesn't feel safe in her own home and yard anymore and wants to see more patrols in the neighborhood. (Audrey McKinnon/CBC)

Feeling unsafe

Her two children often play in the garden, Bullard said, crawling around in the grass near where the needle was.

"It makes me feel very unsafe," she said. "This is my home … and I don't want to send my kids out in my own yard."

She called the city and bylaw officers showed up to remove the needle.

"They were very good and they replied very quickly and came out to look after it," she said.

Call for more patrols

But Bullard wants to see more preventive measures and police patrols in her neighbourhood.

"I would just like to feel as though there is a bit more monitoring of the area," she said.

This is not the first time discarded needles have been an issue in Prince George.

In August, bylaw officers cleaned up enough syringes to fill a five gallon bucket in the city.

"Both my neighbour and I have found drug paraphernalia — including needles — before, but they are usually contained in the public parts of the street," Bullard said.

She's calling for change as crime seems to be moving closer and closer to residential areas.

"I want to feel safe in my own yard and I don't," Bullard said.

"I know of neighbours who have had people come into their homes, make themselves comfortable. I've had someone be physically assaulted in their own home. It's scary."

With files from  Audrey McKinnon and Daybreak North.

Read more from CBC British Columbia