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Hyde Park residents fight to erase growing graffiti problem

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hyde Park property owners say they're seeing an alarming increase in graffiti, particularly along Troost Avenue.

Many neighbors call it a frustrating problem. Just this week several businesses and apartment buildings from 33rd to 47th streets have been hit by taggers.

"We are getting right on it because if you don’t watch that stuff it can kind of keep growing and breeding," said Doug Langner of the Bishop Sullivan Center, one of the vandalism victims. "We want to be a good influence in the neighborhood. We’re going to take care of it and work together with everyone else along Troost to be vigilant, because it’s our neighborhood. We live and work here. We want to make it a better place as we are doing each day."

Paint on historic stone walls and tile can cause permanent damage if action is not taken immediately.

Like many so-called nuisance offenses, if ignored or left unchecked, some fear the property damage will breed more serious crime, including break-ins and thefts.

That's why Hyde Park neighbors have been quick to try to remove graffiti, only to see it pop up again, nearby.

"I think it’s a formal way of their communication through art," said Charles Barnett, a maintenance worker at an apartment building hit by the taggers. "It’s bad because I have to paint over it. It starts here, up the street, all around. Don’t nobody want to be overpainting stuff, messing up good buildings like this. This is a very good place."

Police believe the taggers probably live in the south Hyde Park area.

More property owners are investing in surveillance cameras and the neighborhood association is considering installing a security camera grid to record who's coming and going on their streets.

Some say they've also noticed a tagger putting white stickers on street signs, in addition to the graffiti, possibly to mark territory.

If you can help police stop this vandalism, call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-8477.