Monmouth County convict billboards aim to deter gun crimes by depicting criminals

Prosecutors in one New Jersey county are taking an unusual approach to deterring crime, and the criminals might not like it. A billboard on Fourth

Prosecutors in one New Jersey county are taking an unusual approach to deterring crime, and the criminals might not like it.

Prosecutors in one New Jersey county are taking an unusual approach to deterring crime, and the criminals might not like it. (2/26/14)

ASBURY PARK - Prosecutors in one New Jersey county are taking an unusual approach to deterring crime, and the criminals might not like it.

A billboard on Fourth Avenue in Asbury Park depicts Robert Fiolka, a convict serving time for armed robbery of jewelry and antique stores in Monmouth County.  

The larger than life mug shot is on top of Regine Flimlin's business, the Basin Bar. Flimlin says he thinks it might create an awareness that the community is not tolerant to crime.

The three billboards are part of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office anti-gun campaign called "Operation Stop the Violence." The idea is to deter people from gun crimes by focusing on the long sentences and distant prisons.

"We want to show the people committing these crimes that they're going to do real hard time," says Acting Prosecutor Chris Gramiccooni. "It's not going to be Trenton State Prison a few miles from here."

The prosecutor says they'll switch pictures out every 30 to 45 days.

Some residents can't relate to the convicts. Karim Berry tells us he thinks the signs are a waste. "You're not going to stop gun crime with a sign and you're not going to help it," he says. "That's ridiculous."

Others say the billboards may hit home if the convicts pictured are actually from the area and not from out of state. 

Signs will also appear on NJ Transit buses that run through Asbury Park and Neptune.

 

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