Religion in Society

Easter a Month Away; Churches Remain "Soft Targets" for Criminals

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CINCINNATI, OH -- So far in 2010 Christian organizations in the United States have experienced 13 acts of violence resulting in three deaths, 20 arsons, and tens of thousands of dollars in property loss, according to the Christian Security Network.

"Criminals are becoming more aware that churches are 'soft targets' and targeting them with greater frequency, whether it is property crimes or personal attacks" stated Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network (CSN) (www.christiansecuritynetwork.org)  

CSN published a report this January for 2009 crimes against Christian churches, however with Easter approaching, Hawkins knows that crimes will increase.

"Most churches see a significant increase in attendance during the Easter holidays and most are not prepared to protect their church or ready for other emergencies that may occur. Criminals are also very aware that churches have increased attendance during the holidays, which in their mind translates to more money being taken in by the church and more people that become targets." Hawkins goes on to state.

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Even though Easter is right around the corner, there is still time to take measures that would greatly increase security and safety.

"Simple things like coordination with your local law enforcement and emergency services, making sure that all the church's staff and volunteers are trained to be more aware, and making the church less predictable over the holiday weeks will add to the overall security and emergency preparedness. These things can be done quickly and with little or no cost," Hawkins concluded.