Big churches now target for crime

We reported six recent church break-ins in our area last week. Three were reported in Graves County and three in Calloway. The problem for many churches, like Spence Chapel in Mayfield, is location and lack of security.

It’s a common problem for small, rural, congregations. But these crimes are affecting larger churches, too. Three new cases have been reported in Massac County, Illinois. Eastland Church, Zion United Church of Christ, and First Baptist Church in Metropolis were all targets last week, according to Metropolis Police.

For First Baptist, this burglary was a surprise to many. Its congregation size of 350, square-footage, and location don’t indicate vulnerability to theft. There was no security system, however, or any surveillance cameras installed on the church.

Mary Nelson has been attending the church since 2002. She was excited when it moved to a new building three years ago. Nelson says she was very surprised and added that “We’re going to have to have some kind of security system.”

“What kind of person robs a church?” Nelson asked. And, although she thinks the situation is frustrating, she says “as Christians, we have to pray for them.”

Jackie Lange agrees. She is involved with the church’s outreach program. Lange says “There are many who are in need, and I’ve been in that position before. And so it’s a blessing that I can turn around and be able to help those who are in that time of need and who are in that desperation mode.”

Pastor Joe Buchanan tells us that the church will be installing security systems, as well as surveillance cameras and motion detectors. 

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