GREENWOOD, Ind - City leaders in Greenwood say they’re seeing encouraging signs of progress after the passage of an ordinance designed to reduce criminal activity at a cluster of hotels near the I-65 exit.
The ordinance, passed in September, requires all hotels in the city to become licensed and keep the number of police, fire and medical calls below certain levels based on each hotel’s occupant capacity.
Greenwood Mayor, Mark Myers, says several hotels that were the focus of the ordinance have already made changes aimed at keeping criminal activity away from their businesses. One hotel in particular, the Intown Suites, seems to be leading the way in that regard. After the ordinance passed, Myers said a vice president for InTown Suites flew up from Atlanta to meet with him and other city leaders.
“They came in apologizing right off the bat and asking what they could do to make things better,” Myers said.
Since that initial meeting, Myers says the InTown Suites hotel has made several changes to prevent and discourage crime on their property. Those include aesthetic improvements to the building, more security cameras in and around the building, and license plate readers in the parking lot.
“It’ll do two things. One, if a stolen car does come in here, we’ll automatically be alerted,” Myers said. “But secondly, and I think more importantly, people know what they are. And it will deter them from even coming on the property.”
Myers said other hotels near I-65 have also made changes to discourage crime. The Red Roof Inn has now hired their own private security guard who stays at the hotel.
Greenwood Police Chief, John Laut says he’s pleased with the cooperation shown by managers at the hotels along Main Street.
“Seems to be working,” Laut said. “We’ll have to wait and see over time.”
Laut says it’s too early to measure the success of the ordinance, but he likes what he’s seeing so far. He says police calls to the hotels seem to be on the decline.
“Listening to my radio, I’ve heard the calls go down, which is a good thing,” Laut said.
Myers said another important effect of the changes being made is the message it sends to the criminal community, that the hotels are no longer a safe place to do drugs or hide out from police.
“Word gets out really quick,” Myers said. “They have their own little network. And word gets our really quick, hey stay away from this place, they’re cleaning it up.”
Sheriff Duane Burgess is seeking a county ordinance that would be based on the Greenwood hotel ordinance model. Burgess says his legal team is in the process of drafting language of the ordinance.