Lack of communication by Metro delayed help for neighbors - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Lack of communication by Metro delayed help for neighbors

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Video taken by an undercover reporter documented suspicious activities like back pack deliveries and hand shake exchanges in parking lot while small children pass by at the Economy Inn. Video taken by an undercover reporter documented suspicious activities like back pack deliveries and hand shake exchanges in parking lot while small children pass by at the Economy Inn.
Fred Cogswell Fred Cogswell
Major Greg Burns Major Greg Burns
Louisville Metro Police records show 1,580 police runs to the hotel's address between June 2011 and June 2013. The crimes include assaults, robberies, drugs and prostitution. Louisville Metro Police records show 1,580 police runs to the hotel's address between June 2011 and June 2013. The crimes include assaults, robberies, drugs and prostitution.
Jim Mims Jim Mims

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A hotel with drugs, crime, prostitution and now controversy between city departments. Did a lack of communication let the problems continue?
 
Families at the Economy Inn on Bardstown Road said they were being overrun with crime and it appears a communication breakdown between police and the city actually protected the hotel's owners even as those residents begged for help.

People like Fred Cogswell, who live behind the Economy Inn on Bardstown Road, don't sugar coat the issues.

"Its just getting worse and it's feeding right out of this hotel," Cogswell said. "You've got prostitution, you've got drugs. You've got everything over there. It's like a pimp hooker crack haven."

Louisville Metro Police records show 1,580 police runs to the hotel's address between June 2011 and June 2013. The crimes include assaults, robberies, drugs and prostitution.

Video taken by an undercover reporter went a step further, documenting suspicious activities like back pack deliveries and hand shake exchanges in parking lot while small children pass by at the extended stay hotel.

Under the Louisville Metro nuisance ordinance, police are supposed to notify the city's department of codes and regulations when they make prostitution, drug or alcohol related arrests at area businesses.

But codes and regulations director Jim Mims said he did not know about the problems at the hotel until a reporter brought the issues to light.

"For this year we have one case," Mims said, adding LMPD has not passed on any of it's other cases in the past 12 months, a stack of citations that are more than an inch thick.

Mims said police don't always know they're supposed to involve the department when trying to clean up a crime hot spot, often unaware that codes and regulations can fine a business, and eventually shut it down, for ongoing arrests covered under the nuisance ordinance. That's frustrating for Cogswell, who said he has called for years asking the city to do something.

"Its pretty typical," Cogswell said. "Usually the left hand and the right hand don't seem to know what's going on, because you would think if the right hand knew, what the left hand was doing, that place would be shut down years ago."

Major Greg Burns, the LMPD commander in that area, said he was aware of the role codes and regulations can play. But he decided to hold off on reporting the Economy Inn, because management is taking steps to try and clean things up.

"If they are not, I think we have to collaborate more closely with LMPD," Mims said. "To make sure that we are receiving the criminal citations and we are beginning cases."

It's a pledge  neighbors wish they heard long ago.

"It's about time," Cogswell said. "And I hope they follow through."

Major Burns said crime has dropped at the Economy Inn in recent months and the new general manager is committed to making things better. Burns said he's going to let hotel management continue to improve and if things start moving backwards, he'll call in codes and regulations to start the civil process of taking action against the owners.

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