Downtown signs intended to reduce crime cause complaints - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Downtown signs intended to reduce crime cause complaints

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Evansville police are reevaluating a plan to put up street signs in the downtown area reminding drivers to hide their belongings inside their vehicles. 

Police say the intent is to reduce crime, but there have been complaints.

Some 14 News spoke with have absolutely no problem with the police putting up those signs, but others think the signs demonstrate a lack of respect for the everyday downtown visitor.

Either way, the police are holding off on putting up the signs for now. If you saw the sign downtown, would you be offended?

"It kind of makes you kind of feel stupid, that you don't have the common sense to think about it," Evansville resident Kim Weimer said.

Or would you be thankful for the reminder?

"Unfortunately, we still live in a society where sometimes people are preying on our, on our forgetfulness. So, it's a good idea," resident Barry Wilson said. 

The yellow sign sporting the slogan 'Park Smart' encourages people to hide things like wallets, purses, and electronics inside their vehicles.

"If we just remind somebody to lock up their vehicle or place valuables in an area that cannot be readily seen, it may just prevent a few crimes," said EPD's Andy Chandler.

Some didn't see it that way. After the public heard about the sign proposal, police say they received several complaints that the signs were insulting, dictating, and a waste of money.

"We have a very, very strong, vibrant, bright community. But the simple truth is, there are people that forget things and they get distracted. That was what the signs were for. It was just a reminder," Chandler said.

Ultimately, some believe the signs won't do any harm, and that the police are just trying to do their job.

"A reminder is not a bad thing. I don't think, it's not like it's a law. Right? They're not like putting up a sign, like, 'You must do this.' It's just saying, 'Hey, make sure you've taken care of your stuff," Wilson said.

"I think they're out to protect us. So, you know, I can't really say anything bad about that," Weimer said.

Officer Chandler says they would pay for the signs through funds seized in drug arrests, so, it would not come out of any kind of tax fund. He also says they are going to be reviewing the sign idea with various neighborhood groups and the Downtown Business Association. 

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