ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Arlington Police Department Gang Unit is asking for help finding the person or persons who went on a graffiti spree late Monday night or Tuesday morning —  damaging property in a quiet, southwest Arlington neighborhood.

“We were like, what is going on?” one woman, who lives nearby and did not want to be identified, remembered asking. “Because that is not something we ordinarily see.”

What you normally see driving through the southwest Arlington neighborhood around Wood Elementary School, off of Park Springs, are nice homes, lush trees and well-kept yards. But this week they’ve seen scrawled, menacing graffiti marring fences, cars and homes.

“It scared us because we live in the very next house,” the resident said. “But we’ve not had any problems in our neighborhood so it was very surprising.”

Eleanor Nesseroy who lives across the street from a tagged house. “I didn’t know what to think actually,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what it meant.”

Police don’t think the graffiti is the work of kids — it is possibly gang related. It’s unclear what the motive of the message is, but if it was to rattle the quiet neighborhood, the message is working. The neighborhood is now on full alert.

Nesseroy saw a CBS 11 News crew shooting video of the tagged house near her while she was checking her mail. And as reporter Joel Thomas went up to knock on a victim’s door, she watched me like a hawk from her doorway across the street.

But, “that’s what everyone is doing now,” she said. “There’s an old genteman who lives down there who comes up every now and then to say ‘hey, I’m watching your house.'”

The vigilance has now spread to Facebook after a council-member posted a picture and called the graffiti “unacceptable.” Dozens of posts followed to make people aware of neighborhood watches, security cameras and suspicious activity.

Arlington police are using Facebook too– posting pictures of the graffiti and asking residents to send in helpful information.

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