As police continue to investigate who is responsible for racist graffiti found earlier this month near Brunswick, residents have their own ideas about why the culprit vandalized the road.
"I think it's the work of a coward," Brunswick resident Connie Koenig said. "I would like to see their name published."
The graffiti, which read "Go Back 2 Africa," was spray-painted on Md. 180 northeast of Olive School Road, near a small community of mostly African-American residents. It was reported to police on Feb. 1 and has since been removed.
Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Wayne Wachsmuth told community members the graffiti had likely been there for as long as two weeks before it was reported. He said police had stepped up patrols of the area and urged residents to report any new problems.
Wachsmuth suggested that neighbors consider forming a community watch group to keep an eye out and to help deter crime.
"Neighborhood watches are awesome," Wachsmuth said.
Lillie Morris, of Burkittsville, attended the meeting out of concern, despite not having seen the graffiti. She called the area tightly knit.
"I really didn't think you'd see these things in this day and age," Morris said. "You really don't."
Koenig, a local historian, said she was concerned that the graffiti appeared after someone posted signs banning hunting in Othello Regional Park, which is also off Md. 180. The park was named after an African-American slave who labored on a plantation in the area, Koenig said.
"I think they're angry because they can no longer do their thing" in the park, Koenig said, adding that she thought the vandal might also be angry because the park is named for an African-American.
She suggested that police also pay attention to people who ride all-terrain vehicles in the park.
Edna Ramey, who lives off Md. 180 on Shady Lane, said this is not the first time she has seen graffiti in the area.
In June, someone painted a racial epithet on a sign at the intersection at the end of her street, she said.
Though someone cleaned the sign, a faint outline of the graffiti is still visible.
Ramey came to Saturday's meeting with several relatives, including her sister Diane Lipscomb, who drove from Washington to attend.
Lipscomb grew up off Shady Lane and said family members attended the meeting out of concern for the family "homestead" and for her sister's safety.