The city of South Portland is cracking down on rising crime and drug use inside four hotels that are housing homeless guests.
There are new rules based on police recommendations to crack down on crime, prevent deaths and make the temporary shelters safer.
The city is requiring 24/7 private security at the four hotels currently housing the homeless.
Each hotel must keep track of a monthly guest list.
They are also requiring two welfare checks on guests each day to try to make the hotels safer.
“Just think, we are the richest country in the world, and we have to make rounds at homeless shelters to find the dead people,” City Councilor Sue Henderson said.
The Days Inn, the Comfort Inn, the Howard Johnson and the Casco Bay Hotel are the hotels serving as temporary shelters in South Portland.
At the Comfort Inn alone, there were 31 911 calls on average before it housed homeless guests. So far this year, there have already been 275, more than one a day.
Police Chief Daniel Ahern urged councilors to implement these rules, so the situation doesn’t get worse.
He said officers have begun witnessing a disturbing trend of finding people dead inside some of these hotel rooms, sometimes for multiple days.
“We were finding that people were deceased in their rooms for more than two days because they had not been checked on. This will alleviate that and stop that from happening and possibly be able to help us save lives,” Ahern said.
Officials also noted they do not want to put these people on the streets.