Harris County Sues Houston Motel Known For Prostitution

A Houston motel nationally known for prostitution activity is the subject of a new lawsuit. Harris County alleges the motel is a criminal nuisance to the neighborhood.

The Plainfield Inn is located off of Interstate 59 and Bissonnet.

It's in the middle of an area known as "The Track," where dozens of prostitutes walk up and down the street soliciting
business.

Laura Cahill is a senior assistant attorney in the Harris County Attorney's Office. She's responsible for targeting crime hot spots.

Now she's going after the Plainfield Inn.

"If you think of the police going after the criminals and the DA's office going after the criminals, this actually targets the location and the property owners, so it's a different way of looking at the thing and it can be very effective."

The suit against the motel isn't for prostitution, those arrests are being made out on the street.

In fact, the street is so bad, the FBI has an Innocence Lost task force stationed there because there are so many minors prostituted in the area.

The problem at the motel is aggravated assaults and robberies between prostitutes and their pimps.

Cahill is seeking an injunction against the motel that would require the owners to install surveillance cameras on the property, eliminate hourly rates, require guests to register and show an ID and hire uniformed officers to patrol the property.

"I mean we'd like to give them an opportunity to come into compliance and do the right thing. If their business model doesn't allow them to do that and their business model is based on criminal activity, well then they might to consider trying another business."

The Houston Police Department responded to more than 400 calls for service at the Plainfield Inn over the past year.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...