Motel owners want to reverse crime trend - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Motel owners want to reverse crime trend

August 15, 2007

Albany - - One week after the Dougherty District Attorney told two motel owners to clean up crime or shut down their businesses, those owners say they're willing to do what it takes to comply.

Wednesday, D.A. Ken Hodges and law enforcement officers were scheduled to meet with the owner of The Regent Motel to come up with an action plan. The meeting actually brought out more than just one motel owner.

District Attorney Ken Hodges says the Regent Motel often attracts the wrong crowd.

"If someone walks up in the middle of the night with no luggage and is from Albany, there's no good reason why they need a hotel room. Its probably for drugs or prostitution or some other illicit activity."

That's why the Regent Motel on Ogelthorpe Boulevard is on Hodges' hot list. After he wrote a letter to the hotel's owners, they contacted him requesting a formal meeting with police.

"I expected to see him either him or him and an attorney."

But others were waiting to meet too.

"Additionally, The Royal showed up, The Mabry showed up, The Travelers, The Budget Inn and 8 Inn all had representatives that were there."

Five other motel owners who are also concerned about crime on their premises say they want to clean it up before authorities do it for them.

"Sometimes we'll go out there and we'll arrest someone for prostitution or for pimping and then we'll come back a week later and they'll be back there in the same room."

So Hodges encouraged the owners to be selective on who they rent to.

"They need to quit renting rooms to people that they know are criminals that were arrested right in front of them."

They also discussed hiring security officers, stepping up surveillance and adding more light to the grounds. Hodges says the 45 minute meeting was productive and non-confrontational.

"Were going to do what we can to make sure crime does not fester at these locations."

And he says these motel owners actually want their businesses to be crime free. 

Law enforcement will continue to monitor activity at the motels. Hodges says if they don't reduce crime in the next two months, he'll force them to close.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=motels/bs

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