CEDAR RAPIDS – When Kathy Harwood looks outside her home of the past 31 years, what she sees is far from ideal.
“I try not to look outside,” said Harwood, who lives at the corner of 18th Street and 6th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids, at the eastern edge of the Wellington Heights neighborhood.
In recent days, someone vandalized the signs outside her door, along with the garage of another property at that intersection. Stop signs tagged with ‘VL’ and a garage with the words “VICE LORD” spray-painted in black, for all to see.
The “Vice Lords” are the name of a well-known, Chicago-based gang that was formed about 50 years ago.
“It’s a little disturbing,” said Harwood. “It seems like it’s creeping up a little more and a little more. It makes me not want to leave the house empty. I’m a little more nervous of going out to the car in the dark.”
A KCRG-TV 9 viewer emailed images of the vandalism a few days ago, asking what the city would do about the problem. We contacted Cedar Rapids Police on Thursday but, given the holiday, have not received a response from investigators.
Amazing Grace Jambibi, 16, was walking in front of the vandalized house on Thursday afternoon with her 9-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister.
“They shouldn’t be doing this,” said Jambibi. “Little kids are walking around.”
She said that she doesn’t believe police, who do patrol the neighborhood frequently, can do much about the problem.
“Ignore it, try not to encourage it and just stay out of this mess.”