HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Huntington Beach City Council candidate is speaking out after her campaign signs and home were vandalized in the weeks leading up to the election.
"Well, I'm not going to lie and say I'm not concerned a little for my safety," Gracey Van Der Mark said. "I'm more concerned for my family. But what this does, it makes me want to fight harder."
Van Der Mark believes she's being targeted by vandals because she's running for office.
She said there are 18 people running for four open seats on the council.
Van Der Mark said her signs have primarily been hit.
"I'm very outspoken about what I feel is inappropriate with our City Council and within other areas of our city and our community," Van Der Mark said. "They're trying to make us be quiet and go away."
She said many of her campaign signs have recently been tagged with offensive and vulgar words.
"A dozen have been damaged. About eight or nine have been missing. They've been stolen. I have not found those," she said. "But, I embedded trackers in some of them so I actually tracked a couple of them, and I found one in a dumpster in Costa Mesa."
Van Der Mark said her home and family's cars have also been hit.
"Well right here they broke my window. They shot out my window. I just replaced that," she said about damage to her car.
In a statement, Huntington Beach Police Department public information officer Jessica Cuchilla said:
The Huntington Beach Police Department is aware of a small number of campaign/political signs being removed or vandalized within the City of Huntington Beach & is taking proactive measures in an effort to combat & limit the issue. We can confirm that we have received two reports from Mrs. Van Der Mark regarding vandalism of campaign signage & personal property. The investigations into these incidents are ongoing. As is the case for all our investigations, we are committed to thoroughly looking into these two reports. As stated through our Department's social media on Monday, we encourage anyone who sees someone tampering with or removing a political/campaign sign to please contact us at (714) 960-8811.
"It is OK to have friendly and amicable and respectful conversations with people who don't think like you and agree with you," Van Der Mark said. "This kind of vandalism and terrorism that's been going on in our city is not Huntington Beach."
She said she just wants to run a clean race with her opponents and for voters to make their decision on Election Day.
HBPD said it is illegal to tamper with or remove any campaign signs and anyone caught doing so could face criminal charges.