As “Evil Invades Sanctuary,” Churches Boost Security Measures


A growing number of churches are beefing up security after the Newtown shooting and several killings at houses of worship in recent years, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A team of uniformed and undercover public safety officers roam the halls, security cameras are located throughout the campus of Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Mn., and a full-time public safety manager oversees the sophisticated security system set in place to handle potential gunmen as well as other emergencies. “It's really important people feel safe when they come to worship,” said Jeff Kornoelje, pastor of administration at Grace, which has close to 5,000 attendees each weekend for worship services. The number of shootings at faith-based institutions is on the rise, and congregation leaders are trying to strike a tricky balance – wanting churches to be as safe as possible from violence while still being welcoming places. Carl Chinn, author of the book “Evil Invades Sanctuary,” tracks shootings and other attacks on houses of worship. In 2012, he counted 75 deaths from attacks at faith-based groups. There were 135 “deadly force incidents” last year; and 638 since he starting tracking incidents in 1999. Guns were used in more than half the incidents. Chinn, who visits churches to speak about security issues, recommends houses of worship have “limited points of entry, each monitored by someone during worship and other events.” More and more churches are also using security card and intercom systems to limit access.

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