GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Since the beginning of January of 2020, law enforcement officers have responded to over 780 calls regarding incidents at Economy Inn, a motel on Augusta Road in West Greenville.
City officials and local law enforcement are reaching a breaking point when it comes to the constant crime at extended stay motels which spills into surrounding neighborhoods.
According to Sheriff Hobart Lewis, other hotels in the area have garnered around the same amount of calls as Economy Inn.
“Those places breed criminal activity to be quite honest and we’re going to do everything we can to shut it down and demolish it is our goal,” Lewis said.
Crimes, such as car theft, robbery, prostitution and most recently the murder of 30-year-old Alicia Laws, who was killed on Christmas Day, are driving officials to take action.
The sheriff’s office said these hotels drain resources and tax dollars and they plan to work with Greenville County Council to shut these motels down.
“This is not what we want for the people who live over there and own homes and businesses over there on that side of Greenville and we’re going to help them,” Lewis said.
The sheriff’s office said deputies have made an effort to lessen crime in the area and they’ve reached their maximum when it comes to patrolling the motels.
Deputies have used undercover operations to capture those involved in distributing drugs. However, officials said lack of security measures, such as no cameras or security guards at the motels have turned them into hotspots for crime.
“There is nothing good happening at those places,” Ennis Fant, Greenville County Councilman for District 25 said, “I’m asking the sheriff’s office to designate it as a nuisance and in that case it can be shut down.”
Many low income families, some on the brink of homelessness live inside of these hotels to avoid being out on the streets.
Ennis Fant, Greenville County Councilman for District 25 said if the motels are shut down, he has a plan in place to build the first residential retail space in Greenville County for families with moderate to low income.