By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
The Randallstown NAACP has issued a statement labeling the Motel 6 in Catonsville, Md., as well as several other hotels, as “magnets for crime.” The statement came in response to a triple shooting that took place at the Motel 6, located at 5801 Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville, Md. on May 29.
Baltimore County police officers responded to the reported shooting and discovered three men with gunshot wounds. Two were transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Javier Argueta, 30, suffered from multiple gunshots and was declared dead at the scene.
Police officers arrested 18-year-old Jose Diaz-Contrenas for the murder on May 30. He’s been charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
The Randallstown NAACP said the Motel 6 has become a magnet for drug trafficking, drug use, prostitution and human trafficking and demanded action. It also called out Red Roof Inn, Quality Inn, Howard Johnson and Roadway Inn.
“We started looking into these hotels about four years ago because there were human trafficking complaints. As we continued looking into it, we started to see just how many calls of service that police to continue to go to , ” said Ryan Coleman, president of the Randallstown NAACP.
“We looked at some of the other crimes, whether it be assaults or robberies, and it became very clear that these hotels were really areas of nefarious activities and crime magnets.”
The organization asked that Motel 6 in Catonsville and management company G6 Hospitality enter into a memorandum of understanding with Baltimore County government in an effort to tackle the criminal activity together.
Since the beginning of 2023, Baltimore County police have responded to 470 calls for service at Motel 6, Red Roof Inn, Quality Inn, Howard Johnson and Roadway Inn, according to the Baltimore County Police Department.
A number of the calls did not involve criminal acts, but 32 of the calls were for disturbances, 11 were for trespassing, seven were for accidental overdoses and seven were for assault in the second degree.
“The Baltimore National Pike corridor remains an area of focus for the department. During meetings last year, the department discussed community concerns with business owners,” said Detective Trae A. Corbin.
“Collaborative efforts to address security measures, policies, and procedures to prevent criminal activity on their premises were addressed. In addition, the department provided owners and managers a copy of Baltimore County’s Abatement of Public Nuisances Act.”
Baltimore County police’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recent triple shooting is still ongoing. But, the department intends to bolster safety at the Motel 6.
“The department is currently reviewing calls for service at the location of Monday’s shooting and working to determine the appropriate steps to improve safety and security there,” said Corbin.
All Motel 6 locations are independently owned and operated, but G6 Hospitality provides various safety trainings to franchise owners and their employees.
“Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the victims, and we are doing everything we can to assist law enforcement with their investigation,” said a Motel 6 spokesperson. “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our guests, hotel employees and the communities in which we operate, which is why we have invested hundreds of millions across all aspects of the business, including a variety of safety programs, over the past decade.”
G6 Hospitality requires all personnel and franchise owners to take “The Room Next Door,” an anti-human trafficking training developed in collaboration with the Sacramento City Attorney’s Office, yearly. It also offers additional resources to franchise owners to train their employees in detecting and deterring sex trafficking.
According to Motel 6, the company’s investments in safety have produced a 80 percent decline in critical incidents.
The proposed memorandum of understanding from the Randallstown NAACP would request that Motel 6 donate money to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office. The funds would then be reinvested into community groups that work to decrease crime.
It would also call for Motel 6 to employ armed security guards, ban nighttime visitors and run guest background checks.
“We want to give these hotels an opportunity to change their ways,” said Coleman. “But, if they don’t, we want Baltimore County to get involved and look at the nuisance and padlock laws to force the businesses to comply.”
Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.