Road sign theft stupid, dangerous practice

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 17, 2007

Following our story last Sunday on road sign thefts, we joincounty officials in their bewilderment and frustration over thesituation and can understand their concerns about potential dangersrelated to the missing markers.

Quite frankly, it is puzzling why anyone would feel the need tosteal a road sign.

Yet officials estimate an average of 20 signs a month are takenfrom their rightful places near county road intersections. Betweenmaterials, fuel and manpower, it costs about $30 to replace eachsign.

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Replacement costs aside, road sign theft is just a stupid anddangerous practice.

Now made of fiberglass in a cost-cutting measure, the signs arenot worth but a few dollars and – for those looking for wall art -it would seem there are more interesting ways of decorating a room.Some may find a bit of slanted humor in having a “Lovers Lane”street sign in their bedroom or claim a bit of glory in having aroad sign with the family name displayed somewhere in the home.

However, there is nothing funny or glorious about thepossibility of a sheriff’s deputy, paramedic or other emergencyresponder not being able to locate a road because a street sign ismissing.

Yes, emergency responders are trained to be familiar with allroads and streets in their coverage areas.

There is, on occasion, turnover in the responder ranks and ittakes time for the new people learn the ins and outs of countyroadways. And even for the experienced responders, the lesstraveled road could be the less remembered road.

Emergency responders need all the help they can get. Leavingroad and street signs alone is one small way of providing thatassistance.

In an emergency, seconds and minutes matter. And they could bethe difference between life and death – even for a loved one of asign thief.