FOX59 cameras were rolling during a multi-agency sweep of so-called nuisance hotels and motels throughout Marion County. The Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement lead the teams that included police officers as well as health and fire officials.
One team on the south west side stopped at five businesses that are on their radar for multiple reasons that includes the Capri Motel, Dollar Inn on West Washington Street, Relax Inn, Gateway Motel, and Dollar Inn on Crawfordsville Road.
They checked guest registries for outstanding warrants and inspected vacant rooms. The fire inspectors were looking for non-working fire alarms and no batteries as well as expired fire extinguishers and exposed electrical wiring.
“You lay down. You go to sleep. You think you’re protected, and you’re not,” said Thida Donel, an IFD deputy fire marshal.
“We know who the usual suspects are in the industry,” said Brandon Dickinson with the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. “It’s the hotel equivalent of a slumlord.”
A guest at one of the hotels was handcuffed after a police officer on site said she had failed to appear in court after a prostitution arrest.
“It’s typically the same hotels we visit on a daily basis,” said Sean Lynch, an inspector with the Wayne Township Fire Department. He said they not only respond to fire calls but to medical runs as well because of common overdoses and domestic violence situations.
The hotels and motels also represent nearly 380 IMPD runs in 2013 already. Dickinson said that is an unnecessary, added strain on already limited city resources.
Only two of the identified businesses on the south west side are officially licensed. The other three are supposed to be working towards an up to date license.
“They have elevated police runs and high magnitude types of crimes. Those types of things are concerning to us. We know if we take care of those, the rest of the industry will take notice, and they might be next,” said Dickinson.
Three other teams visited more than a dozen other businesses across the city as part of the sweep. Authorities requested immediate fixes instead of issuing some minor citations and promised next day visits in certain circumstances.