Garage doors were open and people went about their daily routines Saturday afternoon in the Ahwatukee Foothills, one week after residents woke up to find their neighborhood tagged with swastikas and hate language.
Remnants of the vandalism remained Saturday on neighbors’ walls, mailboxes and sidewalks near 46th Place and Ray Road. At least one small swastika with graffiti remained on the back wall of one house.
But many in the neighborhood said they don’t see the vandalism as a sign of rising crime or hatred.
“This is random,” said John Coyne, who has lived in the area for 12 years. “It upsets people, but this is a quiet neighborhood.”
Coyne said he found graffiti on the sidewalk that has been covered in paint since last week. He said a racial slur and a swastika also were on his neighbor’s Dodge Ram pickup, but those messages also were cleaned up.
Residents said two teenage boys were arrested in connection with the vandalism, but Phoenix police could not immediately confirm that information Saturday.
Some neighbors remain shaken by the vandalism.
Resident Chris Gulinson said his family has considered moving, in part because of increased crime and because more houses have converted to rental properties.
He said at least two vehicles have been stolen from the neighborhood since the fall.
“The neighborhood used to be more stable because we knew everybody,” Gulinson said. “Now, you see someone for six months and then they’re gone.”
Gulinson’s next-door neighbor has security cameras set up outside her house, but that system did not capture video images of any of the vandals who targeted the neighborhood.
Gulinson’s wife, Jenny, said they keep their cars locked in the garage, but the added security around their house doesn’t make her feel any safer.
“Our neighbors have the cameras,” Gulinson said. “But what else can you do.”
The Phoenix Police Bias Crime Detail investigated 84 possible hate crimes citywide in 2006, 24 more than in 2005. Criminal damage cases account for more than 25 percent of these cases.
Statistics for 2007 were not immediately available.
Ahwatukee Foothills residents who want to report a possible hate crime can call the Phoenix Police Bias Crime Detail at (602) 495-5976.