A Mississippi mayor is prepared to spend thousands of dollars of his own money in order to relocate criminals away from his city as part of innovative plans to reduce crime.
Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy told a press conference the moving assistance fund will be “as deep as the mayor’s pocket,” starting out at around $10,000.
The hope is that the money will persuade those who commit crimes to move away and start new lives.
“We are talking directly to three groups of people. Drug dealers, gang members, and any wannabe criminals in the city of Clarksdale,” he said.
“They may be in the wrong environment,” Espy told reporters at Clarksdale City Hall. “So, what I’m saying as the mayor today, I will put money on the line to assist those type of people to move out of the city.
“It’s not to say you just want one criminal to move from one city to the next,” Espy added. “They might just not have the good opportunities they need in this city.
“But make no mistake about it, we are asking those three groups of people; if you are just simply a criminal, if you are a gang member or a drug dealer, move out of this city now.”
The mayor is also asking local businesses or philanthropists to contribute to the moving assistance fund and help improve the safety of the city.
The fund forms part of a five-point plan to help curb crime following a review by the Clarksdale Police Department, along with no tolerance policy, the preservation of life, rehabilitation programs and intervention, Espy announced in a statement.
Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams said that the number of homicides in the city has dropped from 12 in 2018 to just one so far this year.
Reverend John Givins, who is working with police and the mayor to help reduce crime, told Fox 13: “We encouraged [potential criminals] to stay in our city and become great citizens. We will also be putting an etiquette class in place for these people. And we have skill sets to prepare them for jobs coming to the city of Clarksdale.”
Espy said the city needs to be a safer place as summer is approaching and there will be more children playing in the streets.
“We want everyone in the city of Clarksdale to live safe, to be safe. We do not want to see a child dead in the streets,” Espy said. “We do not want to see an innocent bystander getting shot.”