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Concerns raised over loitering at the Lee County Public Library

2 min read

Patrons of the Lee County Public Library are sharing concerns about loitering.

Loitering is a rising concern at the library, and it has gotten worse since the Salvation Army closed its doors during the day over safety and crime concerns. 

Capt. LeAnna Marion, with the Salvation Army, shared that the closing has pushed transients to other areas of the city.

“Unfortunately, if they are not finding purpose on our facility site at our address, they are looking for that purpose somewhere else in the community,” Marion said. “And unfortunately, there are a large number of those who are in the community who are homeless who are not finding purpose. Those are the individuals who when they were on our property were causing a lot of the safety and security concerns that we were having.”

Recently, more transients and homeless people are sleeping out on the grass in front of the library and leaving their shopping carts on the property.

Parents and their small children see all of this when they get out of their cars and go inside the library. 

Parents who were bringing their kids to the library’s Tuesday story time program talked about the issue. 

“Last summer I had a friend come from Georgia to visit Tupelo,” said Victoria Cousins, a parent. “They were like, ‘I didn’t realize Mississippi had so many homeless people, especially in Tupelo.’ And last year I didn’t notice it but this summer I’m definitely noticing more homeless people out. No major concerns but it is concerning seeing them out more than usual.” 

“We talked about how it makes us a little nervous but we haven’t had any issues,” said Meagan Williams, a parent.

Another parent shared that she feels nervous going in and out of the library.

The mother mentioned her concerns in a survey the library sent out. 

The library director and staff would not talk to TupeloNews.com about the loitering problem.

TupeloNews.com was told loitering is impacting other businesses.  

The Salvation Army shared that the Walmart Neighborhood Market downtown is considering closing at 8 p.m.

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