LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Protecting those in prayer — that was the goal of a gathering Thursday involving religious leaders and police. Now, houses of worship here in the valley are stepping up security to keep their congregations safe.
Rabbi Mendy Harlig is serious about security. Following synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, he’s not taking any chances in his house of worship.
“I think that anything that you can do is a good step to take,” said Rabbi Harlig. “It hits home, because we’re also in a small city, and if it can happen there, it can happen here.”
That’s why, among the religious relics, there are several surveillance cameras and more security guards on site.
Extra surveillance and extra security are just some of the measures houses of worship can take to protect their congregations. And local law enforcement say they’re here to help.
Metro police and the Department of Homeland Security met with leaders of different religions Thursday to go over best practices for protection. Police say it’s all about increasing outreach.
“To build those relationships, so people feel comfortable, in sharing information that something may be going on in their own house of worship,” said Metro Captain Jack Owen.
Leaders in attendance, like Rabbi Harlig, are working on the next steps.
“The way to fight darkness, the way to fight evil, is to add in light.”
The Department of Homeland Security says there are also federal resources, such as grants, that are available to help houses of worship increase security.