Vandal strike

2/9/2013

Best crime-fighting plans use community as a whole.

Best crime-fighting plans use community as a whole.

Crews working on the new Menards store encountered an unwelcome surprise in significant vandalism of the property.

Vandals entered the building still under construction this past weekend, and wreaked havoc by spilling paint, setting fires and doing other damage.

While the company is assessing the damage, the total reportedly could reach $300,000. Local law enforcement authorities called the caper the worst incident of vandalism in recent memory, and perhaps ever in Garden City.

Menards, to its credit, vowed to stay on track with its plan to open by spring. The home improvement store is to be an anchor in a sizeable development that promises to bring more retail outlets to the city.

The vandalism at Menards was discovered Sunday, and by Tuesday Garden City police had four teenagers in custody, who now face serious charges.

As the accused make their way through the criminal justice system, the rest of the community must take stock of the unfortunate and embarrassing incident.

No one wants any newcomer — whether a new family in town, or a business — to experience such a rude greeting. Vandals, naturally, don't give such fallout any thought as they make the decision to destroy someone else's property.

And local officials could never guarantee that such trouble won't materialize again. What they and others in the community can do, however, is act swiftly and with conviction in sending a message that such behavior won't be tolerated.

Crime-fighters can't go it alone.

When it comes to vandalism, prosecuting and punishing offenders is one obvious step. This community also has been proactive in pursuing ways to enlist help from local citizens.

A number of people apparently responded when the damage at Menards became known. After the arrests, police said tips from the public were instrumental in their investigation.

It's good to know someone cared enough to help.

Indeed, people always should resist the urge to look the other way, and instead get involved by watching for and reporting suspicious activity. Combined with the punch of law enforcement, citizen involvement can help reverse the kind of ugly situations that would otherwise scar a good community.

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