When Toms River residents learned that there were over 750 calls to police regarding the Red Carpet Inn motel over the course of two years, it illustrated a rare blemish on the town’s otherwise safe reputation. Now that the township has shut down the motel and acquired the property, the impact is being felt in the reverse – with a dramatic decrease in crime coinciding with the Water Street motel’s closure.
According to police figures, between Oct. 30 and Dec. 31, 2018 in the downtown area:
- Burglaries were reduced by 50%
- Narcotics incidents dropped 55%
- Theft was reduced 12.5%
- Arrests dropped 16.6%
- Assaults fell 40%
The township completed the taking of the property Oct. 30 and immediate shut it down and boarded up exposed areas.
“The largest decline occurred in disorderly persons’ incidents, which dropped from 13-to-1 or 92 percent,” said Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher, a former county prosecutor.
Disorderly persons offenses is the term New Jersey uses for what most states refer to as a misdemeanor.
“This reveals a clear correlation between increased crime and safety concerns driven by the motel’s operation,” said Kelaher. “Since the closure of the Red Carpet Inn, statistics show that crime in the entire neighborhood came down.”
Police Chief Mitch Little said the police department worked closely with township officials and the recently-created Quality of Life Task Force to identify and address pressing issues facing the community. It was that work that initially led to the motel being declared a legal nuisance, which paved the way for the township to purchase the property.
Councilman Terrance Turnbach, whose ward includes the downtown area, said the drop in crime will be a major factor in attracting redevelopment and new businesses to the area.
“In order for our downtown businesses to grow and prosper, the public must feel safe to come down and enjoy all that our downtown has to offer,” he said. “The purchase of the Red Carpet Inn by the Township, and the resulting significant decline in criminal activity, demonstrates the Township’s commitment to the revitalization of our downtown.”