Police prep for furniture market

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Even though there hasn’t been much crime around the Tupelo Furniture Market in past years, police plan to make their presence known at this week’s winter market.
“We can’t overlook safety anywhere in the city at any event and the Furniture Market is no different,” said Tupelo Police Maj. Anthony Hill. “We will treat this one like every other one we’ve had. It’s going to get a lot of attention.”
The three-day market begins Friday, and despite attendance declines over the past few years, it is still expected to attract hundreds of buyers and sellers.
Traffic has been the biggest problem during past markets, but Maj. Jackie Clayton said he doesn’t know how big an issue it will be.
“We’re going to have traffic units in the Coley Road area from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. during the nights of the market,” said Clayton. “Tupelo Water and Light have set the light at Coley and McCullough to hang on a little longer so traffic can flow more easily. Everything we are doing is for the safety of the public and the market patrons. We want to make sure we have enough people in place to handle any problem that comes up.”
Officers also will focus their attention on another growing problem area – auto burglaries. Heavy patrols are planned not only for the market complex, but for hotel and motel parking lots as well.
As for crime inside the market, Hill said there hasn’t been any instances in recent memory where police had to deal with a problem inside.
The owner of the Tupelo Furniture Market, V.M. Cleveland, said off-duty police officers are hired as security during the market.
“The security basically helps to stop or slow shoplifting,” said Cleveland. “We’re not worrying about people walking out with big couches and things like that, but we want to make sure that the smaller items don’t walk out.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Click video to hear audio