11th And Garnett Becoming Increasingly Dangerous, Tulsa Police Say

Thursday, March 7th 2019, 2:58 pm
By: Brian Dorman

Tulsa police say 11th and Garnett is becoming one of the most dangerous areas in the city. In fact, there were more than 2,000 police calls there Last year alone.

Officers say lower-income motels are a contributing factor to the increase in crime. One of those motels is the Garnett Inn, right next to the Quick Trip at 11th and Garnett.

Last year, police were called there more than 500 times.

"The people running these hotels are running them in substandard conditions. So that's problem one. They're less likely to do background checks, ID checks, so they will just rent to anybody and that creates the crime problem," said Brant Pitchford with the City of Tulsa.

The Garnett Inn is made up of three buildings. The city says the owner is doing the bare minimum to keep the property in compliance. Last year, the city boarded up one of the buildings, deeming it too unsafe to stay in.

Tulsa Police Officer Larry Crawford says 24 hours later officers found squatters inside. People try to outsmart police by rigging the boards to make it look like they're not inside.

"They pull it through the door here so they can pull it back up so it looks like it's secure," Crawford said.

News On 6 cameras were rolling as police pulled three people from the room, putting them in handcuffs.

"One of the people were lying right there and the fricking roof is about to fall on their head," said Crawford

The packed room was falling apart, while they used a dangerous space heater to keep warm.

"Here's some drug paraphernalia right here … that's generally what meth comes in right there," said Crawford.

All three were cited for illegal trespassing before being allowed to pack their things and leave.

Across the street is the historic Brookshire Motel along Route 66. It was built in 1940. Today, the only people staying there are the homeless; illegally. The tab is passed on to you, the taxpayer.

"We've spent around $11,000 keeping it secure and that doesn't count for man-hours for coming by and checking on it," said Brant Pitchford.

With numerous fire code violations, the city shut down the Brookshire Motel in 2016.

Police say people will pull back some of the boarding and go inside and keep their personal belongings in there to stay out of the cold.

Officials were working with the owners and the Route 66 Commission to see if any of the Brookshire could be saved before it caught fire last month. Now, it's possible it will have to be torn down.

The Economy Inn next door was also shut down. The city says the owner was illegally stealing electricity and water and refused to get it back up to code.

The city has spent more than $2,000 keeping it boarded up. However, an even bigger problem for police are the properties that are still open.

"The people who are managing these properties know they're having a problem. They need to take action on their own and quit letting it get to the point that you know that draws our services away from others," said Tulsa Police Officer Adam Woodard.

Just last year Near 11th and Garnett, police were also called to the Motel 6 390 times, the Economy Inn of Tulsa 314 times, the Executive Inn 241 times, and the Oak Tree Inn 364 times.

“You hear a lot of screaming and stuff like that, you know, it's real bad yes,” said Gary Monks

Gary's Mom Brenda is 66-years-old and has called the Oak Tree Inn home for nearly 2-years.

"I got stabbed. Right here on my arm," he said. "Some guy on crack was trying to break into the room."

“Here at OakTree, what kind of problems do you see most,” asked News On 6 Reported Brian Dorman.

"We've had robberies, a lot of drug activity, stolen vehicles," said Woodard.

"Gary, how often do you see police here," asked Dorman.

"Every day. They roll through every day," he said.

The manager of Oak Tree has been on the job for nearly 5 years. News On 6 was hoping he would talk to about what's going on.

Brian Dorman: “I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on your facility and if you've noticed an increase in crime.”

Manager: “I don't see anything like That. (speaks to partner in another language) I don't want to say anything."

News On 6 tried again, to press him for answers during a ride-a-long with police. But as soon as we walked through the door, he asked us to stop recording.

Dorman: Motels like this aren't meant to be lived in?

Woodard: No, I don't think any of them are really designed for long term living.

"Usually the conditions that concern us when they do long term stays like that they put hot plates, they put other things we've seen kitchen stoves and ovens brought in that aren't to code and obviously there are health and safety issues there," said Pitchford.

Those concerns are what lead up to these properties getting shut down. But the next step is homelessness.

Friday night at 9 and 10, Brian Dorman is going to take you behind the Oak Tree Inn and introduce you to those who've set up a homeless camp.