CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you think your neighborhood is safe from the drug problem, think again.
Drug investigators say heroin dealers are moving into nicer neighborhoods, and in some cases closer to schools.
It's a problem authorities want to stop before it explodes out of control.
"Since we're running across it more and more, we actually went out and purchased more heroin testers," said Mike Alford
The testers allow undercover investigators like Alford to make heroin busts out in the field without waiting on a crime lab, and he says he's using them a lot more often.
"I believe in 2007 the Cape Girardeau Police Department and SEMO Drug Task Force arrested one person. In 2008 the numbers jumped to two and here recently just this year alone, we are seeing six or seven for possession or distribution," he said.
With half the year left to go, this increased heroin use has authorities concerned.
They say many dealers have moved into nicer neighborhoods to avoid drawing attention to themselves.
Dorothy Brown moved into her home 40 years ago.
Just last week, investigators arrested a suspected dealer a few doors down from her, and Brown says she had no idea there was a problem.
"I've got children, grandchildren, neighbors have grandchildren we don't need it," she said.
Heartland News spoke with another woman whose husband got arrested last week for dealing heroin. She tells says she didn't have a clue.
"It's putting everybody at risk. I'm totally against drugs," she said.
The region's new heroin habit is an expensive one. It's a habit authorities fear could lead to more crime.
"You got people needing 300 dollars a day for their drug habit, and they can't hold a job because they are shooting heroin - there's gonna be a higher crime rate in the area," Alford said.
Investigators say this isn't a problem that is likely to stay in the Cape region.
The SEMO Drug Task Force is responsible for a dozen counties, and they say they are monitoring the entire region to see if the problem spreads.