Metro Council works on proposal to limit crime at motels amid recent violence

After yet another tragedy at the troubled OYO Hotel, city-parish leaders are pledging to come up with a new law to regulate businesses with high crime rates.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - After yet another tragedy at the troubled OYO Hotel, city-parish leaders are pledging to come up with a proposal to regulate businesses with high crime rates.

But coming up with a solution is a lot easier said than done, especially since this isn’t the first time the city has tried to craft a law like this.

City-parish leaders have spent the last few months coming up with a new plan to address the crimes that continue to happen at some motels but it could take some time before a fix is seen in place.

Police lights and crime scene tape have become a fixture at the OYO Hotel and other motels across Baton Rouge.

The murder of a 2-year-old baby allegedly at the hands of his own father is just the latest example of what leaders are calling a growing problem.

RELATED: Father’s charge upgraded after death of 2-year-old

Police upgraded the charge for Anderson King, 25, to first-degree murder Tuesday morning following the death of a 2-year-old. (Source: WAFB)

“We’ve got to address these continuing crimes that are happening in these locations and shut it down,” said Laurie Adams, councilwoman for District 11.

An ordinance was created in 2018 that gave the council the power to revoke or suspend a hotel or motel’s permit after a certain amount of criminal activity. However, leaders say the law contains a lot of issues that prevent them from properly using it.

“The city ordinance is very complicated, and it really needs to be changed and just start all over again,” said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Adams, whose district contains the OYO Hotel, is taking the lead in coming up with a new law to police these properties. She said they are still in the research phase but she gave some insight into how the new law would work. It includes creating a fluid system to notify council leadership about any sex trafficking, drug crimes, and other criminal activity that happens.

“We’ve got to find a way to find a way to create a mechanism that will trigger and let the administration and let the city council know that we have these hotels that have had a number of incidences that are taking place over a short period of time,” explained Adams.

She pointed out there are a few loopholes on the enforcement side they have to fix too.

“If you did go before an administrative hearing and you lost your license, there’s nothing to prevent you from just going back the next day and reapplying,” added Adams.

Leaders say the goal is to not shut down businesses. They just want to make sure the right people are held accountable.

“It just creates additional urgency to get our research done and get something to the table,” noted Adams.

“I know it’s frustrating for everyone here, but we’re working on it,” added Moore.

There’s no timetable on when this new law will get finalized, but once it does, it will go before the metro council for approval.

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