Overland Park police credit neighbors for helping them end rash of graffiti

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Police say a rash of graffiti in the Grantioch neighborhood has ended with the arrests of two teenagers.

Neighbors near 81st and Grandview streets worked with police to stop the property damage.

For the last several months, fences and utility substations were being defaced with unsightly graffiti that no one would consider to be art.

The vandals spray painted words like "goon" and "ghost" throughout the neighborhood near Shawnee Mission West High School.

Neighbors soon got sick of seeing it, so they started working with police to keep a closer watch over what was happening.

And that led officers to arrest two high school students they believe are responsible.

"That’s the sweet part about this deal," said John Lacy, of the Overland Park police department. "The neighbors are banding together, along with the police department. We’re going out there and we are going to assist cleaning up. So this is a neighborhood, they watch what’s going on. They call the police, and that’s what we want."

Police are volunteering to work with neighbors again this weekend when there's an organized clean-up to remove the graffiti. All it takes is one neighbor with a power washer. Lacy says since police made the two arrests, there hasn't been any more reports of vandalism.

Police call this case a good example of the "broken window" theory in action. If neighbors tolerate so-called minor crimes, it can lead to bigger problems. Police are thankful neighbors reacted quickly to bring the problem to their attention and work together to nip it in the bud.

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