Resident: "Public Nuisance" sign useless, JPD disagrees

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Residents told Region 8 News that the "public nuisance" signs put up in their neighborhood aren't changing anything.
"They're useless. They're for decorations in my opinion," Daniel Williamson said.
The 1800 block of Cedar Heights was abated eight months ago, and signs calling the area a "public nuisance" were put up on the street. Since then, Jonesboro Police say crime rates have dropped significantly in the area, but some residents don't agree.
"They spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to put these signs up...and they're not going to make a difference. It takes the people to make the difference. Not those signs," Williamson said.
Daniel Williamson lives at the end of the 1800 Block of Cedar Heights. He said the signs put up by JPD for their nuisance abatement program aren't helping the image of the area.
"A nuisance is really a filthy animal," Williamson said. "If you keep clarifying people as animals, they're gonna start acting like that. Clarify them as people and they will act like people."
But according to the Jonesboro Police Department, since November when they put the signs up, crime rates have dropped dramatically on the street.
"We've seen a call reduction of 46%. Not only in the 1800 block of Cedar Heights but the continuous Cedar Heights Drive," Investigator Trey Dupuy said.
Dupuy told Region 8 News that they've also seen an additional 45% drop in incident reports from that area.
Dupuy said a common misconception regarding nuisance abatements is that JPD is actually taking property. Dupuy clarified that the court system is in custody of the property and they set the regulations.
Regulations for the nuisance abatement on the 1800 block of Cedar Heights bans convicted felons from living in the area. It also subjects anyone on the property to be searched by Jonesboro Police.
Dupuy said the program is helping.
"A lot of the voluntary abatements that are done, the land owners and property owners there are real appreciative of  the abatement process because that makes their property value go up because the crime is down in that area," he said.
Dupuy added that they've seen success during previous abatements as well.
"The Hope Street area, I'd say there's little to no crime in that area right now."
Hope Street was the first area to be abated in Jonesboro. Cedar Heights, the second. Now, Jonesboro Police are working to abate homes on another street. 
Jonesboro Police told Region 8 News that they're currently in the process of abating 305 and 307 North Bridge Street. They'll find out if the abatement passes in the next few weeks.
"Those two areas we've recently done some alcohol and drug purchases from them and there was recently a murder in that area," Dupuy said.
Williamson, however, doesn't attribute JPD's successes to the signs and the abatement. He hopes they'll use something else to lower crime rates in the area.
"If they wanna make a difference in this town, they need to start by getting the community to commune together, not put up signs," Williamson said.
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