Ventura beach community outraged over excessive 911 calls at local motel
Calls amount to almost one per day for police
By Shane Cohn 04/04/2013
A motel in Ventura’s Pierpont neighborhood has drawn the fury of nearby residents.
The Motel 6 at 2145 Harbor Blvd. has been a center for crime, suspicious activity and raucous behavior, according to neighbors and police reports.
From March 1, 2012, to March 27, 2013, the Harbor Blvd. motel has received 326 calls for service, according to police reports obtained by resident Murray Robertson.
“Over 300 phone calls in a year is ridiculous,” said Robertson. “Any motel by the beach is prime real estate. There is no excuse for this. We need to grab local management by the balls, tell them to pay attention and be a good Pierpont neighbor. “
Nearly three weeks ago, a man, allegedly yelling about “rock cocaine” was shot and killed by police after he ran two officers over in the motel parking lot following his eviction from the motel. Police were called to the motel on a request to help evict the man.
Motel 6 is owned and managed by the Texas-based G6 Hospitality, LLC. Calls to the Safety and Security branch of G6 were not returned, but in an e-mail exchange with Robertson, Victor Glover, vice president of Safety and Security, wrote “We fully expect to do our part working with the Pierpont group and the police department to address the concerns that you raise.”
Jim McCaslin, chair of the Pierpont Community Council, met Monday, April 1, with the Ventura Police Department and other concerned residents to discuss the Motel 6 issues. McCaslin said some suggestions to mitigate suspicious activity at the Harbor Boulevard location included adding more lighting, cameras and fencing in some areas. He said plans are being formed with the police department to meet with a G6 representative.
“The natives are restless,” said McCaslin. “This has been ongoing and with the shooting at Motel 6 and whatnot down there, this has become front and center.”
The Ventura municipal code considers more than five calls in a year to be excessive, warranting “extraordinary police service.” The 326 calls from Motel 6 during the past 13 months was, by far, the most egregious of the motels in the area with excessive calls for service, followed by the Shores Motel (55), Comfort Inn (29) and Inn on the Beach (16).
While a certain percentage of calls from the Motel 6 location were concerning domestic violence and other issues beyond management’s control, the city code states that the city can attach a fine to excessive police calls. First, however, the police department can work with the property owner to develop a safety and security plan. If the property owner fails to abide by plan, the property owner would then have to pay the cost for providing extraordinary police services.
“If the city would charge for excess services, the motel would start behaving better,” said Robertson.
But if it was up to him, Robertson has a better idea for the prime piece of property, just one block from the beach.
“I’d like to see it leveled and put good property there,” Robertson said. “It’s a goldmine and it’s being used and abused.”