After a 7-year-old was nearly abducted from a Charlotte hotel, the region’s top lobbyist for the tourism industry criticized Police Chief Darrel Stephens. “Before worse things happen, I sincerely believe that the time has come for us to either have a new Chief of Police or a new Mayor who can get rid of the Chief for not doing his job,” Mohammad Jenatian told Mayor Pat McCrory and City Council members, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Crimes at local hotels jumped almost 16 percent in 2004, with more than 2,400 cases in total. Many of the crimes are car break-ins; attempted abductions such as this week’s incident at an Omni Hotel are rare. Jenatian said the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s “stupid” policy of not sending officers to the scene of car break-ins or thefts sends a bad message to crooks. Stephens noted that victims can report car break-ins via the Web or phone and that the policy is the best way of using limited resources because officers do not get much evidence at the scenes of such crimes. Stephens said police do respond in person to violent crimes. McCrory has been lobbying state legislators to let hotel owners testify on behalf of crime victims. Criminals target hotels, he said, because they know out-of-town visitors won’t come back to testify.