Motel owner takes preventative measures against prostitution - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Motel owner takes preventative measures against prostitution

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Allowing prostitution keeps the rooms full, but typically brings along other types of crimes with it that drive away innocent customers. Allowing prostitution keeps the rooms full, but typically brings along other types of crimes with it that drive away innocent customers.
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MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

For motel owners, the sex trade is good money, but bad for business. Allowing prostitution keeps the rooms full, but typically brings along other types of crimes with it that drive away innocent customers.

The owner of the Federal Square Inn on Madison Boulevard is fighting the prostitution problem herself. She said motels like her's often attract that type of activity because of the low rates and extended stay opportunities. However, in the past two years, she started taking many measures to keep prostitution and other crimes off her property, something she said other motel owners don't always do.

She installed surveillance cameras in every corridor and watched them regularly for men who were not guests of the motel coming and going. When a guest checks in, she looks for signs of a prostitute, and turns them away. Some are not easily detectable when they check in, but if she has suspicions, she keeps an eye on their room and asks them to check out if there's a problem. Guests who have caused problems in the past are flagged in the computer system, and turned away if they come back.

Since raising the bar, she had noticed a decline in problems, but also a decline in business. However, it's a sacrifice she is willing to make for the sake of improving her motel's reputation.

"They accept everybody. They really don't care whether it's prostitutes or drug dealers, they have something going on all the time," said Heywon Lee Ford, the motel's owner. "They are making good money. I always see their parking lots full of cars, but when I look at my parking lot, there are not many cars. Yes, it is hurting my business, but it is ok."

Prostitution now often start out on social media websites and ends up at motels. Police are working to crack down on the problem, but investigators said it's a team effort, meaning motel owners must make these folks feel like it's not okay to be on their properties.

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