Can Ferriday reduce crime by raising fines?
FERRIDAY — Ferriday officials are hoping residents will soon realize they shouldn’t do the crime if they can’t pay the fine.
Mayor Gene Allen and Police Chief Richard Madison said they have been working together in an effort to deter criminal activity by increasing fines for certain traffic violations and misdemeanor crimes.
“What we’re thinking is that we can reduce violations by raising the penalty, so that if you know you’re going to have to pay a $750 ticket for loud music, you’re going to lower that music,” Madison said. “This is in no way a revenue option because we don’t write tickets for revenue.
“We set penalties for violating the law and when you break the law, there’s a penalty for it.”
Allen said one of the first things he and Madison did when they began looking into the possible fine hike, was to call around to various municipalities in the area that have similar populations to Ferriday.
“What we found is that we had some of the lowest rates out of all of them,” Allen said. “Our rates are very low, so this is something we kicked around, and we’ll be providing to the aldermen to see where they want to go with it.”
Madison said some of the municipalities they called were Vidalia, Jonesville and Rayville.
“We also want to be consistent with the other municipalities of our size within a 100-mile radius,” Madison said. “We have the lowest fines of all the ones that we contacted.”
As examples, Madison mentioned three different costs for citations in Ferriday:
-A speeding citation for 10 mph over the limit costs $109.
-A disturbing the peace by fighting citation costs $281.
-A disturbing the peace by loud music citation costs $581.
In Vidalia and Jonesville, costs for the same citations:
-A speeding citation for 10 mph over the limit in Vidalia costs $140. In Jonesville, the same citation costs $115.
-A disturbing the peace by fighting citation in Vidalia costs $190. In Jonesville, the same citation costs $300.
-A disturbing the peace by loud music citation in Vidalia costs $130. In Jonesville, the same citation costs $250.
Allen said no decision would be made on the increases until more information was compiled and distributed to the aldermen.
“This is something we’ve been looking at and been working to put together information for the past few days,” Allen said. “We’ll look at it at our next meeting and see what happens.”