The alleged vandalism occurred some time between Tuesday evening, Jan. 15, and Wednesday morning, Jan. 16.
Approximately 26 marble grave vases and headstones were toppled, according to Tracy police.
The damage was between $150 and $300 per gravesite, according to police.
In response to the damage, the five-member cemetery board of trustees on Wednesday, April 3, voted unanimously during its monthly meeting to install the cameras in the cemetery, located at 501 E. Schulte Road.
A security system will be helpful because the cemetery property has a low-rising fence as a border and the gate remains unlocked at night.
Gene Birk, a cemetery trustee, said the cameras will be installed at undisclosed parts of the cemetery.
“We’re not locking up (the cemetery), but we’re getting cameras and security,” he said.
Alma Celaya, cemetery district manager, said officials are considering four cameras on 24-hour recorders with the option to add more cameras in the future. She said installation will likely occur in two to three weeks.
As for locking the front gates, trustee Richard Paulson said it’s a “point of discussion” among board trustees.
“Tracy fortunately, as a community, we don’t have a high degree of problems,” Paulson said. “At this point, we hope and intend for the cemetery to stay open.”
Rui Sousa, who was visiting his father’s grave on Monday, April 8, said the cameras are good as long as the cemetery remains unlocked.
“Those with family members here, whole heartedly appreciate this cemetery not closing,” Sousa said. “I visit at late hours and I appreciate it staying open.”
Celaya said cemetery officials worked closely with families affected by the incident and nearly all of the sites have been repaired.
She said it appeared the alleged vandalism occurred at gravesites located near the cemetery office. It’s believed that a rock was also thrown through an office window.
“We replaced the lights around the (office) building and now with the cameras, it should help — at least deter somebody,” Celaya said. “They’ll know they are being watched.”
In addition to the surveillance cameras, trustee Richard Paulson said other changes are being planned.
Workers have surveyed the property to determine its exact boundaries for a new fence, and an electronic gate with a timer is also being considered, according to Paulson.
A $100 reward is being offered by the Tracy Crime Stoppers for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for the January vandalism. Anonymous tips can be made at 209-831-4847.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or email@example.com.