Single gravestone toppled, spray painted on April 14
Mac ChristieFlamborough ReviewSaturday, April 17, 2021
After a series of vandalism incidents in March, which prompted the city and police to increase security in the area, a gravestone was once again toppled and spray painted on April 14 — and then more that 20 gravestones were spray painted overnight between April 15 and April 16.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said the most recent vandalism is the fifth or sixth at the cemetery.
“We had security there,” she said of the most recent vandalism incident. “So we’re just waiting to get a report from security.”
Partridge said there is some confidential information about the ongoing investigation she can’t share, adding there is some concern that having the vandalism posted on social media and reported in the media is giving the vandal “a bit of a rise.”
“Maybe what they’re looking for is the notoriety,” she said, adding the ongoing vandalism is “extremely frustrating.”
“It also seems very odd that it’s just this one cemetery,” she said. “It’s not going on anywhere else in the city.”
Prior to the most recent mass vandalism, Hamilton Police spokesperson Inderjit Bharaj confirmed that there was another incident at Union Cemetery and “police are investigating it along with the others.”
He said like in the previous incidents, the suspect or suspects spray painted and tipped over tombstones.
Bharaj said in the previous cases, it is believed the vandalism occurred over three days from March 14-17.
“These incidences are part of an ongoing investigation and are being actively investigated,” he said in an email. “In response to these incidences police began to patrol the areas more frequently, in hopes to deter any further mischiefs.
“The City of Hamilton has also been involved and hired private security to be in the area that the incidences are occurring, as well as sporadically driving through the area throughout the day.”
According to the Flamborough Archives and Heritage Society, the cemetery contains over 800 monuments erected as memorials to early pioneers, including over a dozen stones that date from the 1830s.
In the March vandalism incident, the city’s cemeteries superintendent John Perotta said the cost to clean up the damage was closer to $5,000, but “some items were irreparable.”
However, in the April 14 case Martin Dambeau from the City of Hamilton’s corporate security team said in an email that the city does not yet have an official cost update, as repairs are still underway. He added police are the investigating authority and the city is working with them to provide support as required.
“The safety and security of all city properties including the Waterdown Union Cemetery is an important aspect of the city’s operations,” he said. “The city will continue to work with Hamilton Police Services to apply various security methodologies including presence and where applicable, technology to support investigative measures.”
Dambeau said other city-operated cemeteries have not been targeted.
Bharaj said “police are aware and have acknowledged the public’s concerns regarding these mischiefs and hope to bring this to a conclusion.” He said police are seeking the public’s assistance and anyone with information should contact police.
To make a report, visit www.hamiltonpolice.on.ca/report-crime/online-reporting.