Clarksdale mayor says he'll pay criminals to leave

CLARKSDALE, Miss. (AP) - The mayor of a Mississippi Delta city says he's willing to spend up to $10,000 of his own money to pay criminals to move out of town.

Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy said Monday that if lawbreakers don't think they can turn their life around there, he'll pay for them to move elsewhere.

Espy says that's just part of his plan to cut crime. Clarksdale's 18,000 residents expressed alarm last year after 12 homicides were recorded.

There's been only one homicide so far in 2019. Espy credits improvements to Police Chief Sandra Williams hiring new officers and a new investigator.

Espy says getting criminals to leave town isn't his only gambit. He says he's also focusing on rehabilitation and intervention for those who want to go straight and remain in Clarksdale.