SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – In Southaven, police knock on doors and ask questions about out-of-state license plates parked in front of homes.
“Is this your vehicle? Does he live here, sir?” one unidentified police officer said to homeowner.
Police are on the look out for possible car tag dodgers. These are people from other states who move to DeSoto County and fail to buy Mississippi license plates.
“I see you’ve got tags on this one,” the officer said to the homeowner.
“Yeah, they’re registered to my house in my name to alleviate problems,” the homeowner said.
“Our chief has got us in the neighborhood. We got a lot of out-of-state tags,” the officer said to the homeowner.
New transplants using out-of-state tags, like some from Shelby County, are costing DeSoto county a lot of money.
Southaven police says the state of Mississippi is losing millions of dollars every year in lost car tag revenue.
Southaven residents such as Aretha Boone and Don Grimes say everyone should pay their fair share.
“They’re supposed to have what they need if they’re living in the state of Mississippi. We live here and we have to do it. So, why shouldn’t they? ” Boone said.
“You shouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of what we have to offer. It’s only fair,” Grimes said.
But some aren’t playing fair. It’s why Southaven police are using additional manpower such as school resource officers during the summer to crackdown on violators.
When money is collected for tags, it means fewer tax dollars are needed to pay for things such as schools and road improvements.
Tom Long is the police chief in Southaven.
“Complaints pour in. It’s the number one complaint. People are constantly calling about I know someone who has lived here a year and a half. They’re still running out-of-state plates,” Long said.
Mississippi residents must register a new vehicle within seven working days of the date of purchase. A person moving there has 30 days to register their vehicles with the state provided they have current tags and registration from the state they’re moving from.
“The fines, if you get the tags and you’re in compliance, can be two to three hundred dollars. If you don’t get the tags and it’s been over 90 days , the fine can be one thousand to twelve-hundred dollars,” Long said.
State law says anyone in violation of the law should be prosecuted. Southaven police say some of the biggest violators use tags from neighboring Shelby County.