Racist graffiti frightens residents, deters home buyers

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by Kristine Harrington

azfamily.com

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 1 at 6:20 PM

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Racist graffiti on a neighborhood wall has had a ripple effect through the surrounding community, leaving residents feeling unwelcome and prospective buyers uninterested.

Residents of the Sarival Village in Goodyear were stunned after tires were slashed and property was vandalized with hateful words. Targets included police officers and African-Americans.

"I’m from Africa myself, and seeing that kind of graffiti on the wall is really scary," said Victor Nweabi. "Actually, I think it’s a hate crime. Somebody doesn’t want us in the neighborhood."

The crimes are not only disgusting residents; they are deterring prospective home buyers.

Retired Army Sgt. Kermit Wilkinson said he wanted to retire in Goodyear because of the warm weather and welcoming people. When he and his fiancee pulled up to a home they were thinking of buying and noticed the graffiti on a nearby wall, they immediately turned around.

"It almost brought tears to my eyes, you know, just to see that,” he said. “There’s no place in America to me for that. There’s no place for it. None whatsoever.”

The sergeant still plans to move to Arizona, he said, but not to Sarival Village.

Alisa Needler has lived in the neighborhood for eight years and said the behavior is not representative of the community.

"The whole neighborhood has actually been rallying together, not going to stand for it, and make sure that, hopefully, everybody knows that it is a safe neighborhood.”

The only person who needs to leave, Needler said, is the culprit.

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