Santa Fe County residents are reporting a rash of vandalism and theft of political signs as the nation heads into the homestretch of a highly polarized presidential election.
“This is just a nasty time,” a woman who lives in the South Capitol neighborhood said Wednesday. She requested her name not be published over fear of retaliation.
The woman said she had three Biden-Harris campaign signs stapled on her fence, and all three were vandalized overnight with red spray paint.
“As I walked on, I realized there’s no Biden signs anywhere — they’ve all been taken,” she said. “It was kind of remarkable how many there were — they were the kind that you stick in the ground, you know? — and they’re gone. They’re just all gone.”
The theft and vandalism isn’t limited to the Democratic ticket.
In the past few months, signs of Republican candidates also have been targeted, said Mike Curtis, a spokesman for the state GOP.
“Criminals have targeted the party by destroying, defacing and stealing them throughout the state,” he wrote in an email, adding that most have been President Donald Trump signs and that there’s been an increase in such incidents.
“These crimes are acts of hate, cannot be tolerated, and there’s no place in our society for these despicable attacks,” Curtis wrote. “We condemn these heinous acts whether they’re aimed at Republican or Democratic candidates.”
The Democratic Party of New Mexico has received reports of Biden-Harris signs either being stolen or vandalized, spokeswoman Miranda van Dijk said.
“I think that people are very passionate this election cycle, and tensions are high,” she said. “As a party, of course, we’re encouraging everyone to put that passion and that enthusiasm into productive outlets — things like phone banking, texting, just getting involved — absolutely not destruction of anyone’s property.”
Sascha Anderson, who lives in the Casa Solana neighborhood, said “politically motivated” vandalism has been occurring there as well.
“Last night was the most recent attack in which our Black Lives Matter signs [murals by a local artist] were all painted with red spray paint with words such as ‘racist,’ ‘bigot,’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter 5.0,’ “ she wrote in an email.
“My other neighbors with the murals have also, in past weeks, had their signs egged, their car windows smashed out, and one neighbor had someone attempt to throw a rock through her window,” Anderson added. “Needless to say, we all feel pretty violated and upset.”