5 of the Most Common Security Risks at Cemeteries
While some people might not view a cemetery as a prime target for crime, cemeteries across the United States are beefing up on security due to high-profile incidents like gravestone vandalism, theft, and parties. Cemetery security should be low-key to ensure the cemetery is still open and welcoming to mourners and visitors, but it should be visible enough to deter the following five common security risks, brought to you by Security Consulting Group, one of the best security companies in Chatsworth, CA.
1. Vandalism and Desecration
One of the biggest threats in a cemetery is vandalism and grave desecration. Sometimes vandalism is the work of teenagers or intoxicated people, but it can also be part of a hate crime and motivated by religion, race, or politics. Cemetery vandalism seems to be a growing problem, with several widespread incidents making headlines. In many cases, it isn’t just one or two headstones being damaged or destroyed. Criminals may target dozens of headstones in a single night. In a sparsely staffed cemetery without security, vandalism is almost a certainty.
Family members expect their loved one’s grave to be respected and left in peace. Discovering intentional damage can be devastating as well as expensive. In California, private cemeteries must maintain an Endowment Fund to pay for unexpected costs like vandalism.
Vandalism isn’t the only form of crime that occurs in cemeteries. Theft is also a major problem. Without security, thieves may steal flowers, floral urns, mementos, or name plates and markers. Most cases of theft don’t involve high-value items, but they typically have a sentiment that can’t be given a value, which can leave family members feeling violated and sully the cemetery’s reputation. In some cases, brass memorial plaques are targeted by thieves who intend to sell the metal. Theft isn’t just an emotional violation to the family members. The cemetery may also be responsible for replacing the plaques.
3. Alcohol and Drug Use
Cemeteries are often in rural or remote areas without frequent visitors, especially at night, which can make them a target for illicit activities like drug dealing, alcohol and drug use, and gang activity. Security guards can put a stop to illegal behavior, monitor the grounds, and contact police when necessary.
It’s not uncommon for teenagers and young adults to target remote cemeteries for late-night partying without supervision, which can increase the cemetery’s legal liability, and these parties often leave behind empty beer bottles, trash, and overturned headstones that are time-consuming and costly to clean up. The aftermath is also visible to mourners and visitors the next day.
5. Funeral Disruption
While not nearly as common as vandalism and theft, cemeteries may still be concerned about incidents that can disrupt a funeral in progress, including vagrants on the property, protesters, or even fights.
If you need patrol security in Chatsworth or elsewhere in Southern California, get in touch with Security Consulting Group. For a free quote on high-quality security services, give us a call today at 818-462-3080.