West Adams motel a hotbed for crime, neighbors say; protesters demand change

WEST ADAMS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- People living near a West Adams motel say it's a magnet for crime, and on Tuesday they took their complaints to Los Angeles City Hall.

The battle lines encircle the Adams Garden Inn. Neighbors say it's a hotbed for crime.

"I'm actually kind of scared to even be standing here right now," said M'Ma Syrai Tabu.

The low-income tenants blame outsiders for trouble, which they claim has declined.

"Yes, it's not cosmetically appealing, but some people call this place home," said Alex Khan, a tenant.

On Tuesday, protesters rallied along West Adams, demanding that the motel management comply with dozens of city zoning conditions aimed to root out criminal activity. They include more surveillance cameras and a 24-hour security guard to enforce rules.

Most contentious for the motel owner is police officers must have access to inspect registration records without a warrant. The lawyer for the motel owner says that is unconstitutional.

"June 22 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 published decision invalidated the city's ordinance," said attorney Frank Weiser.

In Tuesday's planning committee hearing, city officials cited a long history of troubles at the motel operated by Balubhai Patel and his family members. Over a 13-year period, there have been hundreds of arrests and calls for service, according to court documents.

While the owner has taken some measures to improve security, LAPD vice detectives say prostitution continues unabated.

On Tuesday, the committee voted to uphold the city's demand, imposing more stringent conditions for the motel. Language in the code may have to change to comply with the Supreme Court decision. Shutting it down, though, was not on the table to the relief of the tenants.

"This is where we can live at right now until we can do better," a tenant, who did not provide her name, told Eyewitness News.

The L.A. City Council will vote on the matter on Wednesday.
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