GASTONIA, N.C. — Residents of at least two upscale Gastonia neighborhoods had a rude awakening Friday morning.
Someone had spray-painted racist symbols and words outside the Colony Woods and Su-San Farms neighborhoods, off Hoffman Road and Kendrick Road, respectively.
A third subdivision in Clover was later reported as having the same graffiti.
"I couldn't believe it. I was shocked," said Glenda Laboy, who moved to the Colony Woods neighborhood from Kentucky about three years ago. "It's a shame. It's a good neighborhood here; a peaceful neighborhood."
Before 10 a.m. efforts were being made to remove the markings.
Laboy said passers-by should not link the graffiti, including "KKK" and a swastika, with those who live in the neighborhood.
"The people in our neighborhood are very nice people," she said. "We have respect for one another."
Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon spoke to several angry residents.
Raquel Stewart took photos of the swastika at the entrance to her community.
"It's horrible," Stewart said. "You would think by now that this type of hate would be gone, but it's not. It just gets worse."
The Southern Poverty Law Center told Channel 9 displays of hate, such as these, are on the rise nationwide.
Residents are angry because, they said, school buses drove right by the images Friday morning, leaving a lasting impression on the children who saw them.
"It breaks my heart," Stewart said.
All of the incidents have been reported to police.
One resident in Clover said there is a security camera near the entrance to the subdivision.
Police are checking to see if it captured images of the vandals.
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