Sunnyside police cracking down on crime in hotels & motels

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Police are cracking down on crime in hotels and motels in Sunnyside. They're responding to an increase in crime over the last two years. Drugs and gangs get a lot of the blame.

Tim Lyczewski owns an auto shop next to the Travel Inn. He takes extra caution in keeping his business safe.

"A lot of my customers insist if their car's here overnight, it'd be locked up inside which makes it a little more difficult for me because I've only got so much room to put things in at night," said Tim.

Sunnyside Police said most crimes in hotels and motels are committed by repeat offenders.

"If we've got a troubled hotel, somebody coming from out of town may not realize that's a troubled hotel and their safety is important," said Sunnyside Sergeant Joey Glossen.

Sunnyside Police are trying something new to crackdown on hotel crimes. The department is using its gang unit to talk to hotel owners to get them to screen guests before letting them check into a room.

KIMA spoke with a motel worker who didn't want to be identified. She said she wants to work with police to stop crime.

"If we see anything suspicious, we're going to let them know right away," said the hotel worker.

KIMA pulled the numbers of hotel and motel crimes in Sunnyside. There's been an increase of crime at the Grapevine Inn, Rodeway Inn, Country Inn, Town House Motel and Travel Inn over the last two years.

KIMA also compared crime in these hotels from January to July since 2011. The biggest jump this year is at the Travel Inn.

"We're getting a lot better police presence around this area than we had before," said Tim.

Sunnyside police said the last option is to give hotels and motels citations. The department wants to work with owners to try to find solutions first.