Phoenix Light Rail Platform Graffiti Vandals Sought by Police

In the negative-growth, Blade-Runner-like depressed future that may befall Phoenix, the Valley's light rail trains may one day look like the Rome subway car seen below.

But for now -- despite whatever budget woes are facing the city -- authorities aren't going to stand for so much as a smudge-mark on their spankin'-new system.

After a couple of ne'er-do-wells had the audacity to write in felt marker on the train platform at Central and Encanto a few days after Christmas, Phoenix police detectives got right on the case.

Today, police put out a news release and handed out photos of the perps. (The cops didn't want to e-mail the photos, for some reason -- you can drive down to police headquarters if you need to see them right now; otherwise you'll have to wait). 

It's the old broken windows theory at work. If the light-rail system doesn't keep up appearances, few people will use it. And the system doesn't need anything to discourage riders right now, with gas prices so low and ridership at only half capacity as the novelty begins to wear off.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.