Church leaders speak out about recent theft and vandalism

Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 6:47 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Churches across the country have been struggling since the pandemic but here in Lawton, they’re also experiencing a spike in crime and vandalism.

Churches around Lawton are experiencing a surge in crime, so Councilwoman Onreaka Johnson hosted one of her regular Citizens with Solutions meetings to target the problem.

“There have been a string of vandalism and thefts of AC units and cooper and different things like that and they targeted the churches,” Johnson said.

Larry Hill is an Elder at New Life Fellowship Church, and he said they’ve had breaks in as recently as last month.

“Our church has actually had two units that were stolen. This is a somewhat problematic situation because we have three units that work in unison and they took two of the three,” Elder Hill.

After church leaders expressed their concerns about the recent crimes, it was time to come up with solutions. Not just for churches to have better security systems but also for help from local law enforcement.

“When we arrest somebody because they have AC parts or cooper, so we are here, and a lot of it goes unnoticed.” Christopher Blessings said.

“We highly encourage our officers to check businesses and churches to have sure there are no break-ins,” Chief Smith said.

The hope is to bring law enforcement into the issue and start getting media coverage so people know what’s happening.

“They feel that they are voicing and voicing and voicing and they are not being heard so to have chief here and also officer Blessings here was a really big win-win for everyone,” Johnson said.

“You know we need to come together as a community because we are our brother’s keeper. So if we can collaborate on our information and also gain information from them,” Elder Hill said.

Councilwoman Johnson said there will be more meetings about church theft and vandalism. She encourages other churches having the same issue to come to a meeting to express their concerns. She said her motto is you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken