More and more thefts are observed in the cemeteries of the region and more precisely. Some municipalities have reinforced the police presence while others have taken the decision to install video surveillance cameras.
Thefts from cemeteries are on the increase, especially during the All Saints’ Day period. In Vendin-lès-Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), for example, the mayor Sylvie Meyfroidt has been making this observation for a long time.
No later than Friday, “on an encore had three flights of hotpotsshe observes. The cemeteries are always a little more flowery during the All Saints’ period which, I think, attracts people who have little or no means to pay for hotpots, so they have a ‘little pleasure’ to please their deceased“.
According to her, cemeteries are no longer marked as the “shrine area“they were before. To the point that an inter-municipal police force is needed to monitor the premises. A reinforced presence”on foot patrol around and in cemeteries“has been set up in the municipality”in order to reassure the inhabitants but also to fight against a phenomenon which is developing“, explains Pierre-Emmanuel Gibson, president of the SIVOM du Béthunois.
Because not only flowers are stolen there, but also metal plates. There is also “poor people” who is coming “cans at cemeteries taps to get some drinking water because they probably can’t pay those bills“, he specifies.
What he calls “petty theft” are not “not necessarily important in terms of financial value but very important in terms of funeral, attachment“. The people”live it like a real desecration“. This analysis is shared by Sylvie Meyfroidt: “we feel the bitterness, the anger because they say to themselves that we are stealing from someone who cannot defend themselves“.
Video surveillance as a solution
A few kilometers away, the town of Gosnay (Pas-de-Calais) seems to have found the solution: the installation of surveillance cameras. They have made it possible to reduce the number of thefts, or even to eliminate them completely.
“It works very well, for three years we have seen the level of theft drop and I think that it also reassures people who become on the graves and who go near their deceased“, underlines the mayor Virginie Souilliart.
On the side of the town of Vendin-lès-Béthune, the option of the surveillance camera is starting to be put on the table. “We had put it in our campaign commitments and we can see that since June, there are still fewer flights“, concludes Sylvie Meyfroidt.