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Police urge places of worship to take steps to stay secure

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 15, 2016

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Police are urging officials at local houses of worship to be cautious and aware that there has been suspicious activity reported at a church in Troy.

“Presently, the Troy Police Department is investigating two incidents of suspicious activity at a local church,” police said in a statement released Jan. 14.  “On two different occasions in the past two months, church security intercepted individuals that appeared to be scoping out the church facility and were uninvolved in worship activity.”

Police did not name the specific church.

Police said that on Jan. 3, two men were seen videotaping the interior and exterior of a church building. When security staff at the church approached the men, they reportedly gave no reason for their visit and left without incident, according to the report.

Police said a group of people were discovered looking at an unoccupied auditorium at the same church Dec. 12 and asked a church security staff member a number of questions about entrances to the building, where security cameras were located and the number of people who attend church services.

“The Troy Police Department takes such reports seriously. An investigation was initiated. The individuals involved have been identified and are cooperating with investigators. Although their actions may have been unusual or suspicious, there is no indication that their intent was violent or criminal in nature,” police said.

As part of an ongoing community safety initiative, Troy police will offer tips on keeping houses of worship secure at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Troy Police Headquarters, 500 W. Big Beaver Road.

Anyone interested in attending the upcoming meeting, or receiving information about future house of worship security events, is asked to contact Officer Russell Barrows at (248) 680-7223 or barrowsrw@troymi.gov.

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