DeSoto County officials hope warnings signs could deter crime

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - DeSoto County officials want to send a strong message about crime through some new signs.

A new proposal on the table is aimed at putting up signs that show the county supports their law enforcement officials.

"Just something to the effect of: We support our law enforcement; you're now entering DeSoto County," Mark Gardner said. "Just an idea that was floated around after a couple of our officers got hurt. Just a warning sign that we're tough on crime, we support the police."

Gardner is a member of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors and wants to send a message to anyone looking to come into the county and start trouble.

"We have about 30 passageways from Shelby County into DeSoto County," Gardner said. "If I was to guess, it would have been a lot less."

With the rise in violent crime in the county, he wants people passing through to know that law enforcement is watching them.

"The constituents I've heard from think it's a good idea," Gardner said.

From armed robberies to the shooting of two DeSoto County deputies, he feels the message is that criminals will need to think twice before committing a crime in the area.

He also wants everyone to know that he's not wanting to hurt any relationships with law enforcement in the Memphis area.

"We work well with the sister agencies to the north, east, west, and south and we want, in no way, to be disparaging to their efforts to fight crime," Gardner said.

He said he's been receiving support from local businesses in the new proposal.

"Definitely, if they think it will help, maybe we should get together on this," Cynthia's Boutique owner Cynthia Hollingsworth said.

Although some business owners like the idea, they said they want to see a plan before putting money into it.

"I think it may be a great thing, but I need to know more about it," Center Stage owner Judy Beard said.

But not everyone likes the idea.

"What are you going to put on a sign that will actually deter crime?" Sweet Lorraine's Guitar Shop owner Danny McGregor asked.

McGregor said any money spent on signs could be better spent to increase law enforcement in DeSoto County.

"Pay an officer a little bit more. If you can allocate funds to keep the same officers on a shift a little bit more, maybe bullet proof vests," McGregor said.

Gardner said the proposal is still in the planning stages.

"Doing them ourselves and doing them in the road department sign shop, it's not real expensive," Gardner said.

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