West Memphis getting junk cars off the streets

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A plan to get junk cars off the streets in West Memphis is working, police say.

The West Memphis Police Department started flagging inoperable vehicles around town earlier this year. Most of them were no-brainers.

"These were nests and breading grounds for rats and snakes. I mean these were rusted out, totally junk," police Capt. Joe Baker said. "When you have a neighborhood that looks better people tend to want to keep it better, and it really does (work). They call police better. They monitor their crime situation better."

Owners were served with 30-day notices to bring the cars into compliance or get rid of them. The notices include a list of wrecker services that will tow the car for free in order to sell it for scrap.

Baker said 90 percent of the 600 junk cars initially flagged are either in compliance or off the streets. Most people took advantage of the free towing. Only a few people were fined for refusing to do anything.

Roger Suggs says there are a few junk cars in his area that still need to go.

"I don't know how much it will help the crime but as far as the up keep on the neighborhood, it will help that," he says.

Going forward, police will keep an eye out for junk cars as part of their daily patrols.

"It's a holistic approach. The community has gotten behind it. The police department watches for it. We take complaints as they're called in," Baker said.

The initiative is one of several West Memphis police started this year after taking command over all the city's code enforcement ordinances.