WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — West Salem residents have started an online petition asking the City of Winston-Salem to declare the Royal Inn a public nuisance.
Brandon Vickers, a member of the West Salem Neighborhood Association, says the petition comes more than a year after they met with motel owners, police and city leaders to discuss ways to reduce crime around the motel.
“There were lots of productive suggestions that were made, but it doesn’t appear as though there’s been much in the way of productive execution,” said Vickers. “We want the business to stop its current business practices, which are essentially bringing and cultivating an element of crime and prostitution in our neighborhood.”
According to the Winston-Salem Police Department’s Police to Citizen website, 210 incidents and arrests have been reported within a half mile radius of the Royal Inn in the last month alone.
Those crime statistics are one reason Vickers says he posted a petition on Change.org Tuesday night. The petition is addressed to the City of Winston-Salem and simply states: Declare the Royal Inn a public nuisance and immediately begin the abatement process.
“The Royal Inn property has been a nexus of crime for a long time. Our goal is to get the city actively involved in making some positive changes over in that area,” said West Salem Neighborhood Association President Rick Henterly. “Change has to happen.”
However, Royal Inn owner R.K. Patel told FOX8 he is the victim in this situation.
“It is not actually happening on our property,” said Patel over the phone.
Patel says people use his motel’s address as a reference when they call 911, and he can’t control the crime happening outside his property. Patel also said his motel has been for sale for months.
But Vickers says simple operational changes at the motel could go a long way to reduce crime in the neighborhood. Some examples include charging more than $34.99 a night, or taking customers’ license numbers.
Now, Vickers says it’s time for the city to get involved.
“I have a wife and two small children, a two and a four year old. Two little girls. This is our community. This is where we live. This is our home,” said Vickers.