BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Baton Rouge community deals with high crime rates at hotels and motels, with city leaders calling some of the properties hotspots for crime.
“We have had overdoses, arrests, domestic issues, even murders in some of these hotels,” said Laurie Adams, Councilwoman of East Baton Rouge Parish.
Councilwoman Adams is introducing a new ordinance that focuses on calls for service at hotels and motels. The ordinance will be introduced at the Metro council meeting on Jan. 11. Adams says an ordinance already in place is not taking care of the problem.
“This activity has got to end,” she said. “Residents are very concerned, they are worried, business owners are experiencing incidents at their businesses that they feel are related to what’s happening in some of these hotels.”
The new ordinance states no hotel or motel should have calls of service equal to or greater than half the number of rooms. That means if in a year, a hotel with 100 rooms has 50 or more calls requiring law enforcement to be dispatched, that hotel can lose its permit for a month and pay a fee.
The ordinance states the following:
- Hotels/Motels maintaining 90-149 rooms available for occupancy shall be fined $750.
- Hotels/Motels maintaining 150 or more rooms available for occupancy shall be fined $1,000.
- Each day on which a hotel or motel operates without a valid Hotel/Motel permit shall be considered a separate and continuing offense for purposes of this section.
“The idea is not to shut everyone down unless you have to,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore, East Baton Rouge Parish.
Moore says motels like the OYO see hundreds of calls to law enforcement in a year.
“It’s driving a lot of police cost and, you know, police have things to do and we’re short. You don’t want them having to respond to things that they shouldn’t have to respond to,” he said.
Last week Moore issued the OYO owners a nuisance order. Moore has not heard back from the owners.
In April, City-Parish Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel said the hotel had 85 EMS calls last year, the highest number of EMS calls within the parish.
“If the hotel/motel fixed that problem, they wouldn’t have to call for service,” said Moore.
Adams says the goal now is to identify which hotels are causing a nuisance and find a solution.
“This is just a critical piece that we need to get right to improve the quality of life here in Baton Rouge,” she said.
The East Baton Rouge metro council will vote on the ordinance next week. If passed, it will go into effect in 60 days.
The full ordinance can be found below.