Stealing Signs of The Times

Neighbors see political tensions

It’s presidential election season, and with it can come some neighborhood political tensions. 

University Park assistant chief of police Jim Savage said incidents of theft of political signs tend to increase slightly in election years.

Savage said the department responded to one theft of a political sign in 2015, six in 2016, none in 2017, seven in 2018, none in 2019, and six in 2020 as of Sept. 25.

“Theft of political signs is rare in University Park, but does occur,” Savage said. “It tends to go up in election years (2016-2018-2020) and (be) virtually non-existent in off years.”

The Highland Park Department of Public Safety reported one incidence of theft of a political sign in 2016, three in 2018, and two in September of this year.

“One Trump sign got taken, then another one, then another one, then after a while you’re like, ‘Really?’”

Jim Turner

A Highland Park  man who lives in the 3400 block of Beverly Drive made headlines for a large sign in his yard that reads, “Please stop taking our Trump signs —Freedom of Speech Matters.”

“One Trump sign got taken, then another one, then another one, then after a while you’re like, ‘Really?’” Jim Turner, the homeowner, told local TV station WFAA. “At one point I just decided, I’m a little bit crazy, so let’s go to Fast Signs; let’s go get us a sign and see what happens.”

Another Beverly resident wrote us about three thefts at his home. “Apparently there are some morally indignant, holier-than-thou, self-righteous, arrogant, elitist, individuals who believe that no one has the right to support Trump,” Karl Ziebarth said. “Join me in denouncing these petty thieves who think they are so pure and holy!”

Bandits have also gone for signs advocating for social justice issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Highland Park Department of Public Safety reported a thief taking a “Black Lives Matter” sign from a yard in the 3500 block of Crescent Avenue on June 12. 

Another sign was taken from a yard in the 3500 block of Euclid Avenue, also on June 12.

To contact the Highland Park Department of Public Safety, call 214-521-5000. To get the University Park Police Department’s non-emergency number, call 214-363-3000.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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