Keeping Our Religious Institutions Safe

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Councilwoman Anna Kaplan

By Councilwoman Anna Kaplan

I hope you were able to attend our Town Hall on March 23 when town leaders joined with the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) to discuss measures we can all take to make our religious institutions safer. We have experienced a disturbing increase in hate crimes around
the county in the last few months and we need to do more than
simply condemn these outrages after the fact.

Here are some of the steps we discussed that you can take to help make sure our schools, community centers and houses of worship are as secure and well-protected
as possible:

If you see something, say something. I know you’ve heard this before, but our police are counting on us to be their eyes and ears. Anything or anyone that seems suspicious around a religious institution building should be called in to the Nassau County Police.

Nassau County Security/Police Information Network (SPIN) is a crime prevention partnership between the Nassau County Police Department and the private sector that seeks to increase public safety through the sharing of important and timely information. SPIN members are contacted by email to report unfolding situations as they occur. Download a SPIN application at www.pdcn.org/143/spin.

Federal and state grants are available to provide money to upgrade security measures in schools and houses of worship. Find out more by calling the Grants Program Administration (GPA) hotline at 866-837-9133.

Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Lee Seeman, Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum joined with the Nassau County Police Department to discuss how to make religious institutions safer.

Private schools, community centers and houses of worship can contact the NCPD to arrange for an on-site Nassau County Police Security Survey. NCPD will survey the property and provide suggestions for improving security at no cost. Contact Officer Steven Krukowski at skrukowski@pdcn.org or 516-673-6670 for more information.

Volunteer parking lot monitors—all religious institutions should appoint volunteers to monitor comings and goings in order to learn who is a regular member and who is not. Unfamiliar people may be identified and politely questioned as to their reason for being on the property.

All of us have a part to play in fighting back against intolerance and intimidation—and in making sure our community is kept as safe as possible. These are troubling and divisive times to be sure, but there is no place for hate in North Hempstead. Whether you choose to worship in a church, synagogue or mosque (or choose not to worship at all), we are all in this together.

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