Vandalism at houses of worship is a growing trend in central California, reports the Sacramento Bee. And as donations drop during this soft economy, some churches don’t need the added expense of hiring security or fixing a broken stained-glass window. During the past two years, houses of worship in Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Elk Grove and unincorporated Sacramento County were vandalized 122 times, causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage, according to a Bee analysis of law enforcement and business records.
The region’s religious venues were burglarized 77 times during the same period. And those are just the crimes where churches were the direct victims – scores more crimes such as vehicle break-ins happened to others while at the church. Also, eight robberies and three arsons were reported on church property during the past two years, the Bee’s analysis found. The number of crimes has stayed steady over the past four years, even declining moderately as all crime has in the region. The numbers shed light on how much houses of worship deal with crimes, such as acts of vandalism. What they don’t show is the toll they take on a congregation.