Religion in Society

'Disheartening' Crimes in Churches in 2009, Including Murders

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CINCINNATI --- The Christian Security Network receives phone calls and e-mails from Christians across the country on a weekly basis telling them they are concerned about their safety while at church – the 2009 crime statistics report shows that there is good cause.

"It is disheartening to see all these incidents and loss of life in churches in 2009 and even sadder because we know 2010 isn't going to be any different unless the status-quo changes," stated Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network.

The 2009 report published by the Christian Security Network outlines 1,237 crimes against Christian churches including 12 homicides, 38 other violent incidents including, 3 sexual assaults, 3 kidnappings, 98 arsons, and over 700 burglaries resulting in more than $24 million in property loss.

Hawkins goes on to state, "People want to be protected, especially at church, and as we have seen from incidents in 2009, criminals don't care that they are targeting a church – they are seen as soft targets."

The crime report, the first of its kind, specifically tracked incidents just against Christian organizations, mostly churches, for all of 2009.

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"These are not just numbers, these are people who have been killed or seriously injured serving their church. The church is supposed to be a place of peace and protection. Many of these incidents just didn't have to happen. With a few precautions, changes in operations, and training of staff and volunteers, they may have been averted. The church has to start taking responsibility for the safety of their staff, volunteers, and congregation and good stewards of the gifts God has provided." Hawkins concluded.

The Christian Security Network is a national organization dedicated to the advancement of security and emergency planning for Christian churches, schools, ministries and missionaries.