BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WISH) – Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley said the city’s latest efforts to reduce crime are working, but he said there’s still more to be done.
He outlined plans last month to fight crime at the local Wal-Mart and Motel 6. Now, Buckley said police are spending less time at those two properties.
But just in case things take a turn for the worse at the Motel 6, he recently had the Public Works Department create a sign reading “WARNING: Prostitution and Drug Area.”
Buckley said Tuesday he was on the verge of putting it on the easement near the property.
“They can get mad at me all they want, but I control the easement,” Buckley said.
That will only happen if problems continue at the motel, where police responded hundreds of times last year, according to Buckley.
Officials slammed management with the city’s first ever public nuisance citation after a standoff with a guest last month.
Since then, Buckley says police have been called there about six times.
“We’re still responding to the Motel 6, but not like we used to,” he said.
The citation is just one part of the city’s fight against the two problems properties. The other one is the Wal-Mart in Beech Grove, where a fight broke out last month and the video went viral.
Police have been called there more than 1,000 times over the past two years.
“As a whole, everybody in this community, we’re not like that,” said Beech Grove local Dean Widman.
Widman and other Beech Grove residents learned last month that the Wal-Mart was hiring off duty police officers for security. Officials said police would no longer be called for thefts under $50.
Since then, Buckley said, police have made two arrests at the store. Buckley said police were at one time averaging four to six daily arrests there.
“It’s very encouraging. I figured it would work,” Widman said. “He’s putting his foot down. It’s about time something’s happening.”
Widman lives closer to the Motel 6, which is just a couple blocks from his house. He’s happy that police aren’t being called there as much, but if that trend changes, he said he’d like to see the ‘warning’ sign go up.
“When you put that out there, that’s pretty self-explanatory,” he said. “Maybe they’ll think twice before they do things like that.”
Buckley said he eventually wants drugs and prostitution eradicated at the motel.
According to statistics provided by city officials, overall crime from January to May in Beech Grove was down about three percent this year compared to last year. Numbers from June and July are not listed in the document.