Kelso school buses vandalized; sign of a bad economy?

Kelso school buses vandalized; sign of a bad economy?

KELSO, Wash. – School buses at Barnes Elementary School have been hit again – apparently by metal thieves.

Earlier this year vandals slashed the buses' tires, but on Saturday someone took the air valves out of a Head Start bus and took off with the lug nuts.

Crews worked Monday to replace the lug nuts and plug the air valves back in.

It was not as costly as the tires getting slashed but this kind of crime has become all too normal. Police say in a down economy they expect crime to go up.

In Kelso and Longview burglaries, robberies and drug arrests are up anywhere from 35 percent to almost 50 percent more than last year.

Kelso and Longview are certainly not alone in seeing more crime. For comparison, statewide numbers won't be out until the end of the year. But what's happening here mirrors what's happening with a crime surge around the rest of the country.

There is some good news, however. One rate that is down is assaults with a weapon.