Clarksdale, MS – Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy said he is willing to hand over thousands of dollars of his own money to help move gang members, drug dealers, and aspiring criminals out of the city.
Espy said he prefers that those living lives of crime opt instead to work with the city to turn their lives around, but he is willing to pay up to $10,000 to help move them to another area if they don’t want to be rehabilitated, WHBQ reported.
The “moving assistance” is part of a five-point crime reduction plan the mayor outlined on Monday.
Espy said he is also focusing on preservation of lives, intervention, rehabilitation programs, and the city’s no tolerance policy, with a goal of “creating a community where people and families feel safe, protected, and the quality of life is high,” according to a press release.
“We are talking directly to three groups of people: Drug dealers, gang members, and any wannabe criminals in the city of Clarksdale,” the mayor explained, according to WHBQ.
“It is better for you to leave our city than bring havoc upon a community interested in positive growth,” he said in the press release.
Espy encouraged local businesses and citizens to help kick in additional funds for the moving assistance program, Newsweek reported.
The mayor also noted that the city welcomed “anyone who wishes to be a productive citizen,” and offered a “second chance” to community members looking to make a change.
“Those interested in resolution and rehabilitation from committing criminal activities will be offered an opportunity to repair relationships and given a second chance through pro-social behaviors through education and cognitive-behavioral treatment,” he said.
The city will also “be a partner” to those working to be productive citizens – especially in the areas of “employability and transitional programs,” he added.
Clarksdale Police Chief Sandra Williams spoke of additional changes her department has made to help curb crime in the city of approximately 18,000 residents.
“We have gone out and added additional people to our department,” Chief Williams explained, according to WHBQ. “We hired someone from [Mississippi Bureau of Investigations] who is a retired investigator, that person is responsible to look at all the felony cases.”
The city’s homicide rate has dropped from 12 in 2018 to only one in 2019 under the city's crime reduction plan, Espy noted.