BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Is your house of worship secure from an intruder? With Christians attending Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday services and Mass, we look at the issue of church security.
Wednesday a 37-year-old New Jersey man was arrested after walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City with several gallons of gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighters. Marc Lamparello claimed he ran out of gas and was taking a shortcut to a gas station, but officers found his van and it was not out of gas. He was charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment.
Eyewitness news senior reporter Eileen Buckley touched base with a local security expert offered advice about what you should look for when walking in the doors to church.
“There’s too much of a sense of security and in the changing times, in which we live, that mind set has to change,” remarked Steven Padin, chief consultant, Watchman’s Academy.
Padin is a retired Buffalo Police veteran. He now trains local law enforcement and specializes in church security for Watchman’s Academy.
All churches should have a security protocol in place. Padin suggests creating "a safety ministry". But it's important for church goers to be mindful and vigilant.
“Even if it's a woman not having her purse on the pew and standing up or whatever – just put it down and be a little more security conscious,” explained Padin,
No one religion is safe, although some have experienced repeated attacks.
“Statistically speaking - synagogues and the Jewish faith seems to be under attack quite often and, for a while, statistically the most attacked faith happens to be the Baptist church or more fundamental type faiths - those were the most ones that were vulnerable for quite a while,” replied Padin.
With a check of some downtown church buildings, there appeared to be no outside video cameras. Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo tells us security is a quote, "conversation all churches should be having".
A New York State Police spokesman tells us they do take into consideration the high volume of people in churches this holy week and Easter Sunday and suggest police agencies have additional patrol cars in areas of worship.