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Hotels, Motels Must Keep Registration Book in Falls

With an eye on added safety and support for its police department, the Falls Township Supervisors adopted an ordinance that would require hotel and motel occupants to show valid photo identification prior to renting a room.

The Supervisors unanimously adopted the ordinance, which requires that the Township’s eight hotels and motels would be required to maintain a registration book and keep records available and able to be turned over to police under court order or subpoena for three years.

“This ordinance is designed to assist our police in giving them more access to records for people who are staying at hotels in Falls Township,” Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie said, adding that the new law is “Giving our cops another weapon they can use in fighting crime in Falls Township.”

Under the ordinance, police can scan the registration book in search of occupants with outstanding warrants, or known drug affiliations, for example.

Bensalem Township has had a similar ordinance in place for three years. It has proven successful in limiting transients of motels and hotels. Township attorney Lauren Gallagher said municipalities have seen a decrease in the number of raucous parties in hotel rooms and are seeing fewer instances of numerous people staying in one room.

The ordinance would require everyone staying in the hotel to provide valid photo ID.

Harvie said he met recently with many of the local hotel owners, who supported the measure.

The ordinance would help police officers in tracking down suspects much easier, Harvie said, referencing an instance several years ago, involving the murder of a woman in a hotel room. The hotel had no record of the person who had been staying with her.

“It made the job of the police department that much harder,” he said. “This would be something that would help our officers.”

The penalty for failure to comply with the ordinance is $1,000 upon conviction in a summary proceeding. Each day of violation will be considered a separate offense.

 

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