Security experts urge religious leaders to secure their buildings

Security experts urge religious leaders to secure their buildings (WRGT/WKEF)

DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF)- The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting wasn't the first active shooting scene at a place to worship, but security experts hope it will be the last.

According to security experts, places of worship can be extremely vulnerable to an attack because of their open door mentality.

It's not just shootings that threaten places of worship, statistics show an increase of other criminal acts like theft, vandalism and arson.

John Dipietro works with the Ohio Crime Prevention Association to teach those religious leaders how to protect their Holy Spaces and services.

Dipietro says the biggest thing religious leaders need to start doing is taking a closer look at who comes in the door.

"74% of the statistics show that an incident is going to happen in the parking lot. So one of the things we teach is if you have a safety team or if you just have ushers that you're using, have them in the parking lot, watching everybody that's coming in." said Dipietro.

Dipietro says creating a plan of action and practicing it could also save lives.

The action plan could mirror what school do to be prepared for the worst.

Homeland security's Run, Hide, Fight program and ALICE training both models Dipietro recommends to religious organizations.

"Very much like a fire drill in school. Practicing those things, then you're prepared and then more apt to survive things like that." said Dipietro.

Places of worship should also consider adding extra locks, lighting and changing chair layouts to give congregants more time to get away.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton says they will be having a vigil Tuesday evening at 7 pm, in honor of those who died in the mass shooting.

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