Area churches on alert

POSTED: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 7:07pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 12:42pm

TYLER-Investigators continue to sift through evidence at both Tyler churches that burned this past weekend. Many religious leaders we spoke with Tuesday say they're stepping up and taking it upon themselves to protect their church.

From private security to extra locks, local churches are taking every precaution necessary to keep their place of worship from being added to the lengthy list of churches burned.

"I don't think any of our churches are off limits at this point," Rev. Dr. John Robbins of Marvin United Methodist Church in Tyler said.

For the past few days, local congregations have been living in fear that their place of worship could be next.

"I think in a culture where the church is a community, the church is about faith, the church is about being one, I think some people are threatened by that for whatever reason and there out to attack," Robbins said.

Some area churches are beefing up security. Some smaller churches tell us members of the congregation are working in shifts to keep an eye out.

Others are hiring extra security.

Dr. Robbins said they've always had good security, but they’re not taking chances.

"We've beefed up security, particularly in the evening time," he said. "We have off-duty police officers, people in the sheriff's department walking around the campus all night long."

No matter the hour, Dr. Robbins said someone will be watching the property until the investigation wraps.

Besides security patrol, some churches are adding extra locks and covering windows.

Some local clergyman tell us this is not a time to scatter, but instead come together.

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