The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is renting three billboards in tough sections of Asbury Park and Neptune to send a pointed message to criminals that gun crime equals jail time.

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The billboards feature a mug shot of a convicted criminal serving a long sentence in a federal prison, far away from New Jersey.

"The message is very simple -- gun crime will equal jail time, and the jail time could be in the federal system, and you could be jailed hundreds of miles away from your friends and family members and criminal associates," said acting Monmouth County prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.

He stressed the billboards will hopefully act as a deterrent for people that might undertake violent criminal activity involving firearms, but also, it's to let people know that the federal government and the county prosecutors are working collaboratively to fight gun-related crime.

But will criminals really pay attention to billboards?

"I've seen this work firsthand when I was a federal prosecutor down in Baltimore," Gramiccioni said. "I think people seeing these signs, I'm hoping it'll make them think twice about getting involved in gun crimes."

Gramiccioni was quick to add "in my job here I don't presume to hold any magic solution, but what I do know is I'm going to keep trying different things, and a combination of some of them or maybe one or two of them together might downturn gun crime. I take it, I'll try it."

The plan is to feature a new billboard every four to six weeks. The project is being paid for with criminal forfeiture funds.