Stolen Street Signs Costing Alabama City a Pretty Penny

One of the many expenses that any town or city faces is providing signage and lighting to help citizens navigate the streets and highways. For one Alabama town, Hanceville, more and more of their budget needs to be spent on street signs. People keep stealing them.

According to The Cullman Times, vandals have been stealing street signs in Hanceville in increasing numbers, which is leaving the town with the dilemma of trying to replace them. The problem is that street signs are pretty expensive, and the need for replacement burdens an already tight budget.

Blountsville Road in Hanceville is a problem area and favorite target of vandals, who graffiti street signs — or just remove them altogether. The city has started to install signs differently in hopes that they are harder to remove, which should deter a potential vandal from taking them.

There is another step that the city could take to help reduce the amount spent on signs and lighting, which is to make the switch from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. Other cities in the United States have already started to do this.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are solid light bulbs and are very energy-efficient — much more so than traditional incandescent light bulbs, which are usually used to light streets and highways. According to the Virginia-Pilot, Highway Electric of Virginia will install 180 LED street lights along the median of Princess Anne Road next month.

The only caveat here is that LED bulbs do cost more than incandescent bulbs. However, they are much less expensive to light, meaning that they’ll actually cost less in the long run. Virginia Beach spends about $5.4 million each year to light the streets in the city, but the new LED bulbs are going to help reduce that.

The lights are expected to save Virginia Beach over a half a million dollars in the 10 years after they are installed — a cost savings that would replace many a stolen street sign in Hanceville.