A local San Diego church is helping to improve safety and security at houses of worship by hosting its annual National Church Safety and Security conference.
The Rock Church in Point Loma is putting on a three-day conference to help keep worshippers safe.
Recent attacks, including the shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, the Easter Sunday bombings at Sri Lanka churches and the New Zealand mosque attacks, appear to be on the rise, according to the church’s safety director, Mike Diggs.
“I read a recent stat that incidents of violence against places of worship in general in the United States has risen 27 percent compared to this point last year,” Diggs told NBC 7. “So, it’s happening everywhere.”
He created the conference nine years ago.
Diggs noted that many churches do not use a safety team, surveillance cameras, or security guards on site -- but he urges places of worship and their worshippers to be open to security changes.
“Just be open to that your church, your organization, may decide to do bag checks, or have a metal detector, or have a uniformed, armed security police presence,” said Diggs. “So just know that and help by being more aware.”
Diggs said conference attendees will receive training in topics such as how to create a security team, how to conduct background checks, and how to respond to an active shooter.
The Rock Church has a team of roughly 400 traffic and safety team members volunteering to be extra eyes, ears, and helping hands at the church.
Diggs hopes the Rock Church can be a model to help churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship across the country.
“Roughly 70 percent of churches or places of worship across the country don’t have anything in place,” Diggs told NBC 7. “We’re saying the worst thing you can do is that. The worst thing you can do is nothing. So, come and let us help equip you to do something.”
The conference runs from June 19-21, 2019. To purchase tickets, visit the event’s website.