The Rock Church San Diego will hold its Annual National Church Safety & Security Conference on Thursday, June 21, in an effort to bring attention and provide solutions to a growing problem facing churches nationwide.
A Rock Church press release states that national crime statistics show that houses of worship are not immune to crime and conflict.
According to a report published by the Christian Security Network, there were at least 1,237 crimes committed against Christian churches and ministries in the United States in 2009 (the latest year available). Those crimes ranged from vandalism to violent crimes, including sex assaults and crimes against children. Church burglaries resulted in an estimated $24 million in property loss.
The report, Crimes Against Christian Organizations in the United States, found that burglaries were the most common crime, with 779 incidents making up 63 percent of all crimes reported against churches, followed by 149 thefts (12 percent) and 98 cases of arson (8 percent.)
"All churches face security challenges. It's how well prepared you are to respond that matters," said Mike Diggs, director of Safety and Security for the Rock Church and Academy. "Anywhere people gather can become a focal point for criminal acts including terrorism."
Knowing churches always struggle to balance resources, the Rock has committed to providing an affordable, annual effort to bring experts together to share their knowledge to benefit every church congregation, large and small.
"The reality is there are always potential threats, but there are not always adequate resources to prevent or investigate and prosecute a crime once it has occurred," said Diggs. "If you have regular gatherings, whether or not you offer children’s ministries, have paid staff or even have your own building, everyone will benefit from this conference."
In addition to Miles McPherson, lead pastor at the Rock Church, speakers will include Jeff Hawkins, founder of Christian Security Network, and Wendy Patrick, San Diego Deputy District Attorney, Sex Crimes Division, among others.
The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rock Church's main campus at 2277 Rosecrans St. Cost is $95 and includes lunch and a special lunch-hour speaker.
Full schedule and registration info is available at www.sdsecurityconference.com or by calling 619-764-5255.