Motels Fight Back Against Crime - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Motels Fight Back Against Crime

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October 18, 2007

Albany -- Dougherty County's District Attorney gave two Albany motels strict orders to clean up crime from their facilities or they would be forced to shut down. The DA's office says too frequently officers have to respond to the Mabry Motel and the Regent Motel for drugs, loitering, and other illegal activity. Now, the motels are cleaning up their act so they can keep their businesses.

The Regent Motel's owners knew they had to do something.

"Only registered guests are allowed on my property. The other people come and I say check out," says Owner Ramila Patel.

She didn't like her motel being branded a problem motel. So she and her husband put up no trespassing and no loitering signs. Then they installed high-tech security cameras to patrol the area by day and night.

Charles Grocce lives at the motel.

"It's quieted down a whole lot," Grocce says.

Owners at The Mabry Motel were also told to clean up crime.

"After 11 o'clock, no one's allowed on the property unless they live here,
 says housekeeper Teddy Manriquez.

She says that wasn't in place before. She also says a new security guard now patrols the area every night. Prostitutes once gathered here, she says, now they have to find another spot.

"If you don't live here, you're not welcomed here because you don't need to be here," Manriquez says.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards says his office is still looking closely at both motels.

"At this point there seems to be a positive indication but were still going to monitor the situation very closely," Edwards says.

Drug Unit agents tell him there's been a decline in activity. Now they're waiting on APD and the Sheriff's Office to turn in their report about crime at the two motels.

"Were not expecting anything to just drastically happen overnight, but as long as they are making a concerted effort to try to resolve these issues, that's what we want to try to encourage. In fact, that's what were demanding," Edwards says.

Patel is convinced her new and improved operating procedures will make the grade.

"This property right now is clean and no drug deal people here. At night time, it's so good like," Patel says.

And it will have to stay that way if they want to stay in business. 

It's been two months since DA Ken Hodges met with the motels' owners. Assistant DA Greg Edwards says he'll give APD and the Sheriff's Office two weeks to hand over their reports on the motels, so they can decide if further action needs to be taken.

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