Warwick police train hotel workers to spot criminal activity

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Warwick Police Department held a seminar Monday to coach hotel personnel on how to spot the signs of criminal activity that may take place at hotels.

There are many hotels throughout Rhode Island’s second-largest city, many of which are located near T.F. Green Airport.

“A very big part of our economic community is our hotels,” Warwick Police Chief Col. Stephen McCartney said Monday.

According to McCartney, the event was part of an ongoing conversation with those in the hotel industry in an effort to keep them and their guests safe. He said the seminar focused on several issues including human trafficking, domestic violence and drug-related crimes.

“We have had several incidents of that, and we need to give them the idea of what the telltale signs are so that they can call us because then we will bring additional resources to bear in order to deal with those problems,” the chief explained.

The Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard has proven especially problematic, with police making numerous arrests there this year alone, including the discovery of a meth lab inside one of the rooms. They hoped to crack down on criminal activity by having the management send them their daily log of guests, but that plan was quashed in May following a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The chief said his department addresses these types of issues on almost a yearly basis, and it wasn’t one incident in particular that sparked the idea for the seminar.

“It’s not so much that we’re looking for problematic hotels as much as we want to explain to them the experiences with police what are the general trends and crime patterns that are going on so we can make the hotels aware that you need to be keeping an eye out for this,” said McCartney.

Col. McCartney added that larcenies in hotel parking lots are also common because they are targets of opportunity.

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