Lakewood looks to cut down crimes at hotels and motels

The city approved a new licensing program for hotels and motels

Posted 3/18/19

In June of 2017, Keevin Bell was planning on selling 25-year-old Jesse Robinson a stolen Jeep. One of Robinson's friends met with Bell and gave him $200 in counterfeit bills for the car. When Bell …

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Lakewood looks to cut down crimes at hotels and motels

The city approved a new licensing program for hotels and motels

Posted

In June of 2017, Keevin Bell was planning on selling 25-year-old Jesse Robinson a stolen Jeep. One of Robinson's friends met with Bell and gave him $200 in counterfeit bills for the car. When Bell realized the money was counterfeit, he located Robinson at a motel in Lakewood. Following an argument inside the motel, Bell shot and killed Robinson.

Homicides at motels in Lakewood are common, as half of the homicides in the city have occurred in one since 2015.

“These folks go back and forth from one of these motels to another, it's just concerning,” said Pam Russell, communications director for the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office.

In a move Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul said he was passionate about, Lakewood City Council approved a licensing program to combat crime and disorder at lodging facilities in the city. The intent of the licensing system is to create a between relationship between the city and lodging facilities to improve business practices, provide direct contact with Lakewood Police and to improve safety and security.

Currently, there are 44 hotels and motels in Lakewood, according to the city, and they produced over 2,900 police calls in 2017.

“This well ensure the safety of customers, law abiding operators, surrounding residents and Lakewood Police agents and others responding to these businesses. This program is addressing concerns we've heard from our residents and other businesses,” said Paul in a release.

With the new lodging facility license program, hotels and motels in Lakewood must apply for a license through the City Clerk's Office. The new law goes into effect on March 30, and lodging facilities must apply for a license by June 28. The City Clerk will have the power to approve, or deny a license application. Licenses can be suspended, or revoked if a lodging facility has outstanding orders from the Jefferson County Department of Health, or West Metro Fire, has a significant crime happen on the lodging facility's property and other provisions.

"Our members are at the very bottom of (calls). What impact this will have on properties that have a higher call ratio, I don't know," said Amie Mayhew, president and CEO for the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. Mayhew pointed out that hotels and motels with higher call ratios in Lakewood are not associated with the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. "We ended up being neutral on this ordinance."

The initial application and license fee will be $750, and the annual license renewal fee will be $400.

Denver has a similar lodging facility license program in which the city can revoke a license if a owner, or employee of a lodging facility breaks the law, or if the law is broken on the lodging facility's property. The city has a "Motel Task Force" made up of numerous agencies that work on public health and safety issues related to motels.

“It's to reduce criminal activity at Lakewood's lodging facilities. It's not to close businesses,” said Lakewood Police Sgt. John Alesch. “We're not out to shut places down. What we're here to try and do is improve the safety and quality of life at these locations and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

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