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Claremont considers cameras in cemetery

Union Leader Correspondent

September 24. 2013 5:21PM

CLAREMONT — As police continue to look for who has been vandalizing the West Pleasant Street Cemetery, they are also considering installing surveillance cameras to catch the perpetrators if they strike again.

“We’re still looking for assistance from the community. We have a few leads we are following up on, but we haven’t made any arrests yet,” said Police Chief Alexander Scott on Tuesday. “If they’ve seen anything suspicious or heard anybody possibly talking about it, any of those things would possibly help. Somebody out there knows something.”

Although the toppled gravestones have been set right, the vandalism is still evident.

“If there was actually damage done to the stone that’s much harder to repair,” he said.

Scott said his department has been fortunate to have some communities reach out with solutions to stop cemetery vandalism. One community found success using a motion-activated camera, he said.

“We’re in the process of reviewing what we can do to increase surveillance with possible video surveillance or picture surveillance in the cemetery,” Scott said. “It comes down to identifying possible solutions and the cost of those solutions.”

Last week, police reported vandals had once again struck the West Pleasant Street cemetery.

This is the second time in recent months that the cemetery has been hit.

In July, about 75 gravestones were vandalized in the same cemetery, including many historic stones that were damaged beyond repair.

Over the Sept. 14 and 15 weekend about 37 headstones were vandalized.

Gravestones at the cemetery date back 170 years, with the most recent headstones dating to the 1950s and 1960s, Chase said. Most gravestones in the cemetery are dated between 1900 and 1930.

Police suspect whoever committed the vandalism in July likely committed the most recent act.

A $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible is being offered by a group of outraged citizens, police said.

Anyone with information about either incident is asked call police at 603-542-9538.

Crime, law and justice Claremont

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