community. The Forest Hill, Rural Cemetery, and another cemetery on Route 645 in Harvey have all fallen victim to these acts of vandalism over a three-week period, from September 22nd to October 5th.
Extent of the Vandalism
Between September 22nd and 24th, unidentified individual(s) vandalized 20 headstones at Forest Hill Cemetery. Notably, these damaged headstones were all located within the Royal Canadian Legion Section, an area reserved for individuals who served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Despite efforts to increase security following this incident, further acts of vandalism occurred at Rural Cemetery on September 29th and October 1st.
The extent of the damage at Rural Cemetery, which included 16 headstones being knocked over or spray-painted, was discovered on October 5th. The superintendent caretaker, Gilbert Ferris, of the Rural Cemetery informed CTV News that, “We haven’t had anything like this since the early 90s and it was 80 stones knocked over at that time.”
Law Enforcement Response
On October 6th, the Fredericton Police Department sent out a press release stating, “We’ve increased patrols in and around cemeteries in the city and are hoping the public will provide us with information related to these truly disrespectful acts.” According to Gilbert Ferris the FPD sent a forensic team to aid the investigation in the hopes of identifying those responsible for the vandalism. However, since this press release, there have been no further reported incidents at either the Cemetery nor any suspects charged. Moreover, the FPD stated, “It is unknown at this time if the crimes are connected.”
On October 4th, the FPD posted a request on their website for any information that may help with the investigation. It’s essential for the community to come forward if they possess relevant information.
Additional Incident in Harvey
Since the FPD made these statements a further incident occurred in the village of Harvey at the cemetery located off Route 645. This cemetery was also vandalized, with some of the damaged headstones belonging to veterans. However, unlike Forest Hill Cemetery vandalism, not all of the affected headstones in Harvey belonged to veterans. Adding to the complexity, the age of some headstones has made it difficult to identify direct family members of the deceased, meaning that some families may be unaware of the vandalism affecting their loved ones.
It’s About Respect
These incidents have sparked concerns within the community, highlighting the need for vigilance and action to prevent further acts of vandalism in local cemeteries. Every human will die and usually, they take their final rest at a cemetery. With this in mind, we need to respect these spaces for what they are – places of mourning and remembrance.
If you have any information regarding these incidents, please contact the Fredericton Police Department.