For the relatives of those who've died, the final resting place of their loved ones is sacred ground, meant for quiet reflection, prayer and memories. But for a group of young people in Martinsburg, W.Va., the Old Norborne Cemetery is a place where they can drink, party and tip over tombstones, their mindless deeds concealed by darkness. We urge police to round up this crew and make an example of them.
To those who might argue that police have more important things to do, we say this: Recent research has shown that in areas where law-enforcement officials ignore the small things, perpetrators are emboldened to do worse. However, when police begin to enforce laws against minor infractions like public drinking, the number of major crimes falls, too.
If Martinsburg police want a preview of what will happen if they ignore this situation, they need look no further than the old Jacobs Church cemetery near Leitersburg, Md.