Linens were soiled and stained, beds infested with insects, and wiring was overwhelmed. These were some of the problems that made some of the motels in Redding not only unpleasant, but also unsafe. And drawn to those properties were vagrants, vandals, and criminal activity.

One motel was declared a public nuisance as a result of its troubles.

But the City has been on the offensive to crackdown on those properties before the problems become too great to overcome. The goal is not to turn the budget motels into luxury hotels, but to make sure they are safe and crime free. That effort involved resurrecting the 1990s program CSET.

CSET calls upon resources from various City’s departments, including building inspection, code enforcement, health and law enforcement, and the city attorney’s office. Together, they identified problems and have worked with motel operators to correct them. So far, it appears they have turned the corner at some of the most problematic motels.

In November of 2011 to May of 2012, police responded to 403 calls for service at the Redding Inn. Now, police calls have dropped in half.

Some of these motels are not unfamiliar with city intervention. In the 1990s, two were shut down as a result of CSET’s intervention, an outcome the city hopes to avoid this time. But the next challenge will be creating a lasting oversight mechanism to ensure that these properties don’t revert to their old ways, forcing another round of increased intervention in the future.

Read the full story at the Redding Record Searchlight.