Community Voices

Crime Watch: We must be watchful for thieves, even at funerals

This past week I once again attended a funeral of a friend, and while I was there I noticed so many women who walked in without their purses.

As curious as I am I asked the ones I knew where was their purse — answer — in the car. Well I reminded them that thieves like to hang out at funeral homes. Then while at the cemetery I noticed that many of the women left their purses in the car. I approached a couple of them and advised them that they should take their purse with them. Their reply: “Oh, no one is going to take it. This is a cemetery.”

While everyone is occupied, thieves steal. In most cases people don’t lock their cars, so it’s an easy grab. I’ve received emails regarding this issue where women have gone to visit a love one’s grave site, and their purse have been stolen. Just like people that go to church or services and leave their purse in the car.

Folks, these thieves have no moral standards and look for easy targets, they roam funeral homes, cemeteries and churches knowing you are trusting of these locations.

Letters from readers on this issue:

Dear Carmen, yesterday (Christmas Day) I visited my Mom’s grave site only to suffer the loss of my computer, purse and a jacket. I read your column on this issue last year but of course it didn’t stick because I left all those things in my car. I was close to the grave site and figured it would be OK. I will tell you that it will not happen again, lesson learned the hard way. Thank you for all your information in keeping us safe even though there are dummies like me that don’t listen. Happy New Year, Isabel Garcia, Miami.

Ms. Caldwell, please advise your readers again about funeral homes. I attended a very large funeral and my wife left her purse and my mother-in-law’s purse in the car. The funeral was quite lengthy and crowded. I asked my wife where was her purse and she told me in the car. I immediately rushed out the church to get it and it was already gone and her side of the car was opened, so they didn’t even have to break anything. I was furious when I went back into the church. I told her and she asked if my mother’s purse was gone too and it was. We called the police during the service and we learned there were eight cars broken into… Please, although these are religious events don’t leave anything in the car. Thank you for listening and please share with your readers again. Tom Isberg, Miami.

Readers, I got a total of 12 letters over the holidays regarding this subject which is why I am writing about it again.

In closing I want to offer our condolences to the officers of New York City, the people of France for their horrendous losses. May God protect all of our Law Enforcement community; without them we are nothing but targets of the worst element of criminals that are among us but you can help by “if you see something, say something.” It’s never too late to report.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.