Some Detroit churches have stepped up security following crimes including break-ins and muggings, and training is being offered later this year in the area for some church security officers.
Ministers said they are committed to making congregants and other visitors feel safe, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
Following the Feb. 5 theft of $15,000 worth of audio equipment from True Gospel Tabernacle in northeast Detroit, the church put up glass blocks on some windows, added secondary locks on doors and installed bullet-proof glass where the thieves entered.
“It’s a blatant disrespect for the House of God,” Pastor Roderick Dallas said of the break-in.
Crime has long been a problem at Detroit’s churches. Years ago, several clergymen said they carried handguns due to the city’s crime rate.
More recently, church groups have met several times with Detroit police officials to discuss security. Police have stepped up patrols.
Church security expert Chuck Chadwick plans to conduct a security-training conference for churches in June at Northridge Church in the suburb of Plymouth. Chadwick said the program will train church security officers on state gun laws and on how to respond to emergencies.
“It’s a sign of our times,” said Chadwick, president of the Christian Security Institute and president of the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. “It’s really happening at churches that have a staff of less than four people.”
The Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, co-pastor of Greater Christ Missionary Baptist Church on Detroit’s east side, said his congregation has hired security guards and taken other steps to head off trouble. An aim is to help reassure worshippers of their safety.
“When you have services, you have to be diligent,” Peek said.
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