Tough Security Question For Churches After Break-Ins
Churches are making a difficult decision to step up security to protect their property and those coming to pray after a string of break-ins.
It's a fine line for churches when it comes to beefing up security.
"We used to have an open door and we'd let everyone in but unfortunately we've had some things stolen by doing that, by just letting people in the door to talk to the secretary," Zion Lutheran Church senior pastor Greg Lehr said.
Lehr increased security after his parish was broken into several times over the past few years.
"We've had several break-ins and things missing, so we had to upgrade and therefore and lock all of the exterior doors all the time and put cameras at each door so we can record," Lehr said.
The church has set up seven different cameras at each entrance as the first line of defense to protect not only those who worship here, but the property itself.
"We've had some weird instances here at the church where we've actually had to use the cameras to watch the recordings to determine how a person got in the building and why they were in the building," Lehr said.
He wants his church to be an inviting place for all who come, but the reality is churches are now following in the safety footsteps of schools and businesses.
"It doesn't surprise me to hear about the other break-ins, at the church. Sometimes, we leave ourselves vulnerable to that just because of what we are," Lehr said. "We're an institution of giving and providing for the less fortunate. But unfortunately that's where we've come to in the neighborhood we live in and probably the downtown area, as well."
The intercom systems and cameras were installed about 2 years ago and are important due to the church's size.
"Safety, I guess, has become very important to us. Like I said to protect our own people, to protect the children that are in here everyday and to protect our stuff I guess of the church," Lehr said.