Sometimes it seems like an epidemic.
Of broken windows and smashed doors, stolen and defaced property.
And mostly, disrespect.
Late Tuesday night, the senselessness of it all struck Luigi's, the historic and much-loved restaurant and delicatessen in east Bakersfield's Old Town Kern.
"A man broke through the double door, walked into the big dining room, grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying that white stuff all over," said Lanette Valpredo, a member of the family that operates the local landmark.
"He didn't even try to steal anything," she said.
Instead, the man sprayed clouds of flame retardant all over the dining area and coffee service room. Once it settled, every surface was covered with a fine, white powder.
"It's heart-wrenching," Valpredo said, referring not only to the Tuesday night incident, but the wider problem that is affecting businesses all over Bakersfield, especially in downtown Bakersfield and historic but struggling east Bakersfield.
Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to Old Town Kern to experience the Basque restaurants, the Pyrenees Bakery and see the old rail depot and the horse rings that still exist at Luigi's, which were once used by customers to tie up their horses.
"People come by the busload to visit this area," Valpredo said. "This is what they see. Old Town Kern is a disaster zone."
On Wednesday, Manuel Roque, 27, of Bakersfield, was arrested by Bakersfield police on charges of burglary and vandalism in connection with the break-in, a development that provided Valpredo with some encouragement.
But this city is experiencing a crisis, she said, and waiting for additional police officers to be hired and trained is a long-term solution that won't solve the current crisis.
"We should have our own dedicated police officer," she said. "We've been here 110 years. We can't just move."
And the city's beautification projects "seem to stop at Union Avenue."
Still, Valpredo was heartened this week by what she described as her "amazing crew of dedicated workers" who came in early Wednesday morning to help clean up the mess.
"They dialed it in," she said.
And by lunchtime the restaurant was ready and open for business.