On the heels of last year's video surveillance requirement for convenience stores and tobacco stores, plus new requirements in June for hotels and motels, the city of Independence is adding what it hopes will be another crime-fighting tool.

Earlier this month, the City Council passed an ordinance adding hotels and motels to the types of businesses required to install and maintain video surveillance systems. Hotels and motels have until July 1, 2018, to install video surveillance that covers the parking lot entrances and maintains a seven-day library. Bed and breakfast establishments will not be affected.

Council Member Curt Dougherty said the ordinance is the next logical step after the previous hotel/motel changes and the video surveillance requirement for convenience stores, which was approved in November 2016.

“This is a success story we've had in fighting crime, and we've added to this,” he said.

The latest step is designed to curb thefts happening in the parking lots of lodging places. Police had identified hotels and motels with high service call volumes and noticed those places a large number of parking lot thefts often did not have a video surveillance system to monitor them. In addition, according to city documents, police also noted establishments that installed outside security systems had a large reduction in criminal activity.

The video surveillance systems can not only be a deterrent to, and help solve, on-site criminal activity, but they also can provide clues for crimes committed elsewhere.

“The video evidence these cameras provide can make or break a case, giving our officers the information they need to solve these crimes,” Independence Chief of Police Brad Halsey said in a release.

In June, the City Council had passed series of code revisions for hotels and motels, which required tenants to produce valid personal identification when registering, as well as a major credit/debit card, made it unlawful to provide false ID information and required all establishments to keep and retain a guest registry for up to three years and limit an establishment to two rentals for a room in a 24-hour period.

 

BEAUTIFICATION AWARDS

The Independence Beautification Commission announced its annual awards at this week's council meeting. The five winners – four residential and one commercial – were selected for their commitment to creating a positive, welcoming environment through landscaping, maintenance and upkeep of their respective properties.

Winners were Alberto Apariicia, Roma Easter, Mark McDonald, Pat and Cindy Wigley and Darlene Carpenter of B-Vogue Salon. They received a choice of a redbud or white fringe tree.