Stolen road signs a hazard in county

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Road signs are being stolen across Adams County, said Russell Dorris, county road manager.

Dorris reported the problem to Adams County supervisors at their regular meeting on Monday.

&uot;It’s been a problem for some time,&uot; he said, &uot;but it has become a real problem in the last six months or so.&uot;

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Streets signs, both aluminum and fiberglass, have been pulled from their positions throughout Natchez and Adams County, Dorris said. This leaves many critical services blind, he said.

&uot;So many things hinge on these directional signs,&uot; Dorris said. &uot;Fire, ambulances, police, sheriff’s department – all these services need these identifying signs to find people in need.&uot;

Dorris also pointed out that Adams County is a popular tourist destination in which visitors depend on signs for navigation of the area.

It takes about one week to ten days from the time the signs are pulled up to replace them, Dorris said.

In addition to the danger these missing signs pose to law enforcement and emergency personnel, they also cost very real public funds to replace.

Each sign costs about $20 to manufacture and another $30 to install with post and labor, bringing each missing sign to a cost of $50.

&uot;If you multiply that by the 22 signs that were pulled up just this weekend, that’s $1,100,&uot; Dorris said. &uot;If you have that multiplied by four or five times this happens a month, that comes to $5,500 just on road signs being replaced,&uot; Dorris said.

There are no particular areas of the county that have more of this type of vandalism than any other, he said.

&uot;I would like to know the reason for people removing these signs,&uot; Dorris said, adding that most recycling centers in the area would not accept the aluminum street signs as recycling material.

&uot;I suppose it’s just malicious mischief,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve found dump sites where they’ve just piled them up on the roadside.&uot;

The only way to curb the rash of sign thefts, Dorris said, is for the public to be aware of the problem and report any suspicious activity to the Natchez Police or the Adams County Sheriff’s Department.

&uot;No one is going to pull up a road sign in front of a patrol car,&uot; he said. &uot;But maybe people in the community can spot some of this going on and report it.&uot;