Brian Whiteside

Brian Whiteside

Five hotels in Gwinnett were the sites of 271 crime incidents that Gwinnett County police responded to during a 12-month period between September 2018 and September of this year, and Solicitor General Brian Whiteside said it’s symbolic of a problem that his office is taking steps to address.

Whiteside recently sent letters to the owners of seven hotels in the county asking them to meet with him and local police officials by the beginning of November. The solicitor wants the hotel owners to do something to address the amount of crime happening at their properties, ranging from drugs and prositution to rapes, robberies and assaults.

The five hotels that the solicitor’s office released Gwinnett County police crime stats to the Daily Post are just some of the hotels that Whiteside’s office is looking at so far. Officials from the office said stats on two other hotels, which Norcross police respond to, will not be available until next week.

“They’re gonna have 30 days to answer to a meeting with me or I’m going to shut them down for ordinance violations,” Whiteside said. “All of these hotels that consistently have crime, some of the hotels that you’ve heard about that have shootings, such as Knights Inn.

“We sent letters to their CEOs (Oct. 4) that basically states that statistically we can prove they’ve had crime over a (five to six) year period and they’ve taken no measures to stop the increase in crime and they are harmful to the citizens of Gwinnett.”

Whiteside said the hotels could face ordinance violations for public nuisance and having a disorderly house because of the ongoing crime issues that occur on their premises.

“They would have to answer to a judge why they have had crime over five or six years, why do they have people selling drugs, why do they have prostitution, who have people been wounded or shot and killed?” the solicitor said.

The hotels named in the Gwinnett County police incident stats provided to the Daily Post by the solicitor’s office include the Norcross Extended Stay, which is located at 2250 Pelican Way; Motel 6, located at 6015 Oakbrook Parkway; Congress Hotel and Suites, located at 5885 Oakbrook Parkway; Horizon Inn and Suites, 6187 Dawson Blvd.; and Country Inn and Suites, 5970 Jimmy Carter Blvd.

All five are in the Norcross area. The solicitor’s office said it is also monitoring the Knights Inn Norcross and the Red Roof Inn-Atlanta in Norcross.

But Whiteside said it is an issue across a broader part of Gwinnett as well, mentioning there are “a couple of hotels in Lawrenceville” that are being looked at as well. Officials at his office said they are reviewing crime data from other hotels across the county to determine which ones frequently have crimes happening on their premises.

Once that information is compiled, the owners will be contacted as well.

Whiteside said the hotels bear some responsibility for the crimes that occur on their properties.

“We’re asking that you take measures that are reasonable and prudent to stop crime because we have people go in and they have fake IDs and the receptionists just laugh and they let them in,” Whiteside said. “Now if you’ve got a fake ID, you know that person has committed a crime or about to commit a crime.

“Those things are important when we come in, or police come in, and they look for the ID used on that copy machine and they arrest the guy and they say that ID wouldn’t pass a 3-year-old looking at it. Some of these hotels have active knowledge that (people staying there) are committing a crime.”

In addition to ordinance violation citations, Whiteside said he’s also exploring the possibility of whether the county can take civil actions against problematic hotels to seek damages to cover the costs of police responding to crimes at those locations.

At the Norcross Extended Stay alone, there were 99 crime incidents reported between Sept. 1, 2018, and Sept. 1 of this year.

Some of the crimes listed among the three pages of issues that allegedly occurred at the hotel were: two rapes; an aggravated assault with a knife or other cutting tool; an aggravated assault with another unidentified weapon; five cases of battery; two incidents of cruelty to children; five incidents of someone breaking into cars and stealing items; one prostitution incident; one case of false imprisonment; two missing person cases; and 13 cases of various types of larceny.

Police records pertaining to the Norcross Extended Stay showed there were also two incidents where someone possessed more than 10 ounces of marijuana, two incidents where someone possessed less than an ounce of marijuana and one cases where someone intended to distribute marijuana.

“We’re aggressively pursuing (actions aimed at) preventing crime and enforcing (the law),” Whiteside said.

Overall incident figures for the other hotels that stats were provided for include:

♦ Motel 6: 77

♦ Congress Hotel and Suites: 35 incidents

♦ Horizon Inn and Suites: 34 incidents

♦ Country Inn and Suites: 26 incidents

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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