PHOENIX — During an already heated election season, neighbors are catching neighbors damaging or stealing political yard signs.
In Arcadia, a woman was caught in the act stealing two Trump signs from someone’s yard on Oct. 2.
The owner of the signs says her neighbor confronted the woman after seeing her steal the the signs from her yard.
The alleged thief eventually returned the signs after the confrontation.
Clinical psychologist Laura Stewart said that in this election season, emotions are unusually high.
“The emotional piece comes from the fear of survival. What’s going to be best, what’s going to happen, is my family going to be okay. This is a strong emotional trigger for people,” said Stewart.
According to the Maricopa County Justice Courts, this year two people have been cited with a misdemeanor for tampering with political signs.
Both men charged, face a fine of more than $700 and up to four months in jail if convicted.
In September, an Anthem couple said they woke up to their political sign burned. It said, “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”
Dr. Stewart said that the people who destroy signs have high emotions, and low impulse control.
“It’s not going to take much for the brain to let go of impulse control and do something that person may not have done otherwise,” said Stewart.
So far, Tempe police say there hasn’t been an uptick in people damaging or stealing political signs compared to prior election years. They said that so far, there have been nine incidents in 2020. In 2018 and 2016, there were also nine.