Church officials, residents can help prevent burglaries

Published 3:52 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

By Staff
Burglary is despicable under any circumstances, but the latest rash of break-ins at Beaufort County churches defies appropriate outrage.
Three churches were burglarized sometime between last Sunday evening and Monday, and they may have been tied to break-ins at six other churches that began in December. Evidently, the burglar or burglars were simply looking for “fast cash,” as Levi Cichorz, associate minister of Old Ford Church of Christ, said last week.
Harvest Church and Rosemary Church of Christ, both on Slatestone Road, and another church in Martin County were also hit in the latest spree. The one-day trio of burglaries was audacious, even for an area that has experienced three other church break-ins over the past several months.
Though the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incidents, church officials, congregants and residents can help.
First off, eliminate the incentive for burglary: Leaving cash in a church invites mischief, especially for people who might perversely enjoy burglarizing houses of worship. If money is normally accepted by churches — through offerings or other means — make sure the cash is stored someplace safe off site when the church is unoccupied.
If that is unfeasible for some reason, church officials might consider placing detection cameras at critical entrances to dissuade potential burglars. If the burglaries become commonplace, hiring night guards could also be warranted.
Congregants and residents should also keep eyes out for suspicious activity at nearby churches. A little added vigilance might prevent further burglaries and promote for people a feeling of “ownership” in their neighborhoods.
In the meantime, we urge the sheriff’s office to find the creeps who broke into the churches and prosecute them fully.