Lethbridge residents want south side motel held accountable following escalation in crime

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –

Residents living near the Superlodge motel in Lethbridge say they’ve put up with problems around the business for the past three years.                                                                                                        

“It is a major safety issue, our neighbourhood is not a safe area. My kids don’t feel safe in their own home or playing in their backyard, or walking to our car, there’s been fear,” said Caylee Pierzchala, who lives down the street.

Neighbours in the area said there’s a constant stream of illicit activity including drug use and break and enters happening in the area.

The Lethbridge Police Service said it is frequently sending officers to calls around the motel.                                                                                                    

“In 2019, we had 92 times that police attended, in 2020 that number went up to 218 times and then to date in 2021 we are up to 232 which has exceeded the number we went to in all of 2020,” said Inspector Russ Lawrence with LPS’s Criminal Investigation Division.

“As for the reasons why we’re going to the Superlodge, it’s a wide range of occurrences, a lot of it stems from drug activity, spin-offs, property crime, trespassing and things like that,” added Lawrence.

Superlodge in Lethbridge, Nov. 10, 2021

In September, police were investigating a shooting between two occupants that forced a nearby elementary school into lockdown. Pierzchala said neighbours have reached out to the Superlodge about their concerns, but said they weren’t overly cooperative.

The group wants the Superlodge to be held accountable.

“Landlords are held accountable for who they rent to, yet with the Superlodge, this has happened over and over again and there’s no accountability, and that needs to change, and if it doesn’t change, I don’t see this problem going away,” explained Pierzchala.

STATEMENT FROM SUPERLODGE

In a statement to CTV News, management team at the Superlodge Canada, says it acknowledges the issues, adding:

“It is difficult to speculate on the root stem of the issue. However, based on what we have experienced personally there may be several contributing factors. In August 2020, ARCHES the supervised consumption site in downtown Lethbridge closed its doors. Since the closure of ARCHES, we have noticed a substantial rise in transient drug traffic and crime migrating away from the downtown core.

“In March 2020 the hotel served as an Isolation Center for transient individuals after the City of Lethbridge reached out to Superlodge under the City’s State of Local Emergency for the COVID pandemic. Superlodge also provided rapid rehousing programs for local agencies under the City of Lethbridge’s Housing Authority.”

The statement goes on to say,

“We hope to continue to work with the City of Lethbridge, the local police department, and the local residents to help to mitigate criminal activity in the neighborhood.”

LPS executed a search warrant at the motel on Nov. 4, seizing approximately $25,000 in drugs and charged one man.

The group of roughly 25 neighbours have created a group called Number 1 for Safety as a way to communicated with one another in the event of suspicious activity occurs.

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