When visiting the cemetery, often visitors may be focusing on the experience ahead and may not always pay attention to their safety or the security of their belongings.
While most people would think that others would respect the cemetery environment, unfortunately some offenders see a cemetery as an ideal place to prey on distracted visitors.
Incidents of break-ins and theft of property from vehicles are unfortunately not an isolated issue but a concern throughout all the metropolitan cemeteries. The MCB has found that these are mostly opportunistic crimes. As a result, preventative measures and education of cemetery visitors and staff work best to combat theft.
What you can do
Look, Lock and Leave. Look, Lock and Leave. Opportunity creates a thief, so as you leave your vehicle, take a good look around to see if anyone is watching. Ensure you completely lock your car and ideally remove any valuables from view. Preferably, leave any valuables at home.
Report suspicious behaviour. Report any suspicious behaviour immediately to an MCB staff member, or Police by calling 131 444 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Be careful, even when you are close to your car. Please don’t leave keys in the ignition or car doors unlocked, even when you are close by.
What the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board does
The MCB has put a large variety of measures in place to help create a safer and more secure cemetery environment. These include:
CCTV cameras in key positions to help identify offenders. WA Police have access to these cameras.
‘Eyes on the Street’ training is provided to all MCB staff by the Crime Prevention and Community Liaison Unit of Western Australia Police. This training empowers our staff to recognise and report suspicious behavior, many of whom work on the grounds during the day. The MCB’s vehicles are branded with the ‘Eyes on the Street’ logo, providing a visible deterrent to would-be offenders.
Large permanent signs warning visitors not to leave valuables in vehicles and to ensure vehicles are securely locked are placed at all entrances, along fence lines and dotted throughout our cemeteries. We also have a transportable high visibility electronic sign system which is moved around the sites, reinforcing different security messages.
Surveillance will be increased, the MCB will work with police, local governments or security companies for an additional presence or patrols and will undertake covert monitoring operations with WA Police when individuals or groups choose to target a cemetery.
We do encourage public access as when members of the community choose to walk or exercise in the cemetery grounds, this in itself creates passive surveillance and may deter criminal behaviour.
Funeral directors and monumental masons are frequently in the cemetery grounds performing their services. These groups are reminded to be observant for criminal behaviour and are alerted if there is any increased activity.
Alarms, sensor lighting and gates are installed in cemetery buildings to reduce opportunities for crime overnight.
Whilst most in a civilised society would consider that any theft is an unacceptable act and that theft from a cemetery is even more reprehensible, it is challenging to completely control these behaviours and still provide a pleasant environment for the majority of law-abiding cemetery visitors.
The MCB continues to monitor security within its cemeteries and work closely with police and the community to ensure the safety and security of the public remains a paramount consideration.