Highland cemetery to get security cameras after repeated vandali - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Highland cemetery to get security cameras after repeated vandalism

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - In effort to crack down on the vandals who have targeted some 70 memorials over the past few weeks,  the Lawton Highland Cemetery board is looking to add security cameras to catch them.

Families are upset after personal items have been ripped up and destroyed at their loved ones grave.

The members decided to have two companies come out to give them an estimate on how much the cameras and installation would cost. Right now, they only have a rough estimate of 10-thousand dollars, and are already looking into various funding options to pay for them.  

"To this day, I don't understand it," said Leanna Pyle, who's son's grave was vandalized." It really tore me up inside."

Leanna Pyle says she is almost scared to visit her son's grave because she doesn't know what to expect when she sees it or if it was vandalized again. Pyle buried her son 4 years ago and she is still in shock that people repeatedly steal meaningful items such as this white cross and destroy flowers and the butterflies where he is laid to rest.

"It crushes my heart because we don't have time to come out here and keep doing this," said Pyle. "We put our stuff out here because we want to and because it's our loved one. We shouldn't have to keep coming out here to see if our stuff is okay and buy new stuff over and over." 

Valerie Moore says she's fed up with the vandalism on her son's grave as well. She's taken action and contacted the highland board to make sure this subject was on their agenda for the meeting today. Moore says all that's on his grave right now are flowers and a few decorations. She says giving him a Mickey Mouse headstone, would mean the world to her.

"I want to be able to bring him his headstone out here and know that it's not going to be turned into a million pieces and turned into a rock pile out here," said Moore.

Moore has presented the Highland board with many ideas as far as improving the security system...

"Sensors or more cameras or anything like that to be able to get it put up out here so that this cemetery is guarding the way it needs to be for any future families that come out here and the families that are already out here," said Moore.

Jack Hanna, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Lawton, says the cemetery board usually only meets every quarter, but once he found out the problem at Highland, he pushed for this special meeting and finding how they can fix it, to the top of his to-do list.

"Just to give everybody a sense of peace knowing that their loved ones are in their final resting spot and no ones going to damage their graves," said Hanna. "We're going to do the best we can to protect them and keep a high level of security out here for it."

Moore says she will keep fighting until the vandalism stops and hopes the people doing it realize how they're affecting these families.

"I just think that its very wrong and sick what people are doing out here and I really think us as a community need to come together and get this to stop," said Moore.

The board members will have another meeting within the next few weeks after they get estimates . They say these cameras will be high resolution and be able to zoom in based on motion sensors to get people's license plates and faces.

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