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South Portland residents blame Route 1 motel guests for rise in crime

Some South Portland residents say crime is on the rise in some of the neighborhoods off Route 1, and they're blaming the guests of the motels in that area. (WGME)

SOUTH PORTLAND (WGME) - Some South Portland residents say crime is on the rise in some of the neighborhoods off Route 1, and they're blaming the guests of the motels in that area.

Home surveillance video shows a man attempting to break into Max Risemans's car.

"Change was all ripped out of my dashboard, and a pair of sunglasses was stolen," Riseman said.

Riseman lives in Sunset Park, a small neighborhood just off Route 1 in South Portland.

"Attempted burglary, a lot of cars getting broken in to, there's been a lot of thankfully petty crime, but a lot of crime that seems to have come down up the street," Riseman said.

Police later made an arrest using Riseman's footage.

They say the man who stole from him, and a number of others in the neighborhood, was staying at a nearby Main Street motel, where they recovered spare change and other property.

It was one of six in the area, and police say they're noticing an uptick in crime there.

In December of last year, an undercover operation by South Portland police netted eight arrests for men seeking sex for money at one of the motels.

And in February, police responded to a brutal beating at another motel, which court documents allege was motivated by drugs.

CBS 13 sorted through the police call logs to these establishments.

Over the last three years police responded to the six motels:

  • 32 times for theft
  • 24 for drugs
  • 12 for prostitution
  • 77 for suspicious activity
  • 50 for domestic assaults

While the number of police responses varied from one motel to the next, police say the overall area is seeing more criminal activity.

CBS 13 asked to speak with management at all six motels and hotels on Main Street.

None wanted to comment for this story.

In 2015, documents show South Portland councilors chose not to enact a disorderly hotel ordinance that would have reviewed motel licenses based on the number of police calls to their establishments.

Police tell CBS 13 they actually opposed the ordinance because their recommendation was to try to work with the motels.

Police say the motels are their best resources. They have been working with the motels to train staff to spot would-be criminals and alert the police.

But some residents like Max Riseman say it's not enough.

They're taking their own security measures, and asking elected officials to step up and look out for them.

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