From the stories in the local rags news outlets (Simcoe.com and MidlandToday.ca) you can be forgiven if you believe that criminal empires are getting stronger and bolder, and expanding from the GTA into smaller communities along the 400 series highways and beyond.
I have a somewhat more positive hypothesis that I think actually better explains what we are seeing. The thought is that the double whammy of legal pot and Covid-19 is bankrupting criminals who are becoming desperate for new markets as their old ones dry up. Like the ransomware attacks that have plagued smaller municipalities and businesses as larger municipalities and businesses have hardened their cybersecurity, and criminals have moved to smaller, but easier, targets, I believe that drugs and human trafficking are an increasing problem for smaller municipalities not as the result of the growth of empires, but quite the opposite.
I suspect that the ‘underground market’ for illicit drugs has been shrinking drastically in large centres. Trafficking might seem like a lucrative alternative, but I would be surprised if there was not a previously existing supply that met the demand that could be met without such risk that the criminals get caught. It’s also likely that increased enforcement of the those crimes and outreach to victims is making even that market shrink. (I hate to put such a putrid practise in such clinical or financial terms, but ultimately crime is heavily influenced by the economics of that scene).
In short while the immediate future is alarming for small communities, ultimately I think it means a positive end result is possible, and even likely.
I think justice can win!