Monday, April 30, 2012

Church Burglaries On The Rise In The U.S

Fox News--There's no honor among thieves -- even when it comes to stealing from churches.

A growing tide of burglaries at houses of worship are signs of both a reeling economy and the end of a social taboo that once protected the money collected to help the poor and the valuables displayed to honor a higher power. In the latest example, police in Longmont, Colo., have formed a task force to investigate 10 break-ins and attempted burglaries at six churches in less than two weeks. And all around the nation, the faithful are finding criminals unfazed by the prospect of burglarizing a sanctuary.

“From a historical standpoint, the sacredness of the church has changed, so to speak, in our society,”

Jeffrey Hawkins, a security consultant who works with churches. told
Hawkins, founder and executive director of the now-defunct Christian Security Network, said churches are also more of a potentially lucrative target nowadays. The majority of churches today feature expensive multimedia components like digital soundboards, flat-screen televisions, projectors, computers and more, he said.

And they're easy pickings.

“Churches are soft targets,” said Hawkins, whose organization ceased operations amid funding problems. “If you’re a burglar, and you’re after a flat-screen television or things like that, are you going to break into an office with alarms and locks, or are you going to go down to the church with absolutely zero security? It’s an easy decision.”

String of Marshall Cnty. Church Robberies:

The trend of breaking into churches comes as overall crime is actually decreasing.

There were 1,237 incidents of burglaries and thefts of churches in 2009, compared to 1,783 in 2010, an increase of nearly 50 percent, according to statistics compiled by Hawkins’ former organization. The total cost to churches as a result of theft, burglary, robbery, vandalism and arson in 2009 exceeded $6.3 million, Hawkins said.

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