Saskatchewan RCMP issue ‘Crime Pattern Alert’ as thieves target more churches

RCMP say they are dealing with a new trend in Saskatchewan involving a significant increase in crimes affecting churches.

Mounties have issued a “Crime Pattern Alert” about a growing number of thefts, break-ins, attempted break-ins and mischief involving places of worship.

Read more: Break-ins at 4 Dartmouth churches under investigation: police

Police said that from January to November there were 64 such crimes involving 55 churches — a 60 per cent increase in break-ins from 2019.

In most cases, the doors of churches were opened by force at night and thieves took money, electronics, computers, guitars, safes, freezers and refrigerators.

Investigators say all denominations are being targeted and nothing indicates the crime trend is motivated by hate, racism or ideology.

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RCMP crime analyst Monica Deters said people and communities are being urged to make their churches more secure.

“This increase in church break-ins is concerning enough that it creates a pattern,” Deters said Wednesday in a release.

“This new criminal trend is noticeable because these break-ins happened all year and across Saskatchewan. It is imperative that we all get involved to better secure these buildings.”

RCMP said most of the crimes that affected churches this year are in the central part of the province.

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Saskatoon faith and community leaders encourage creative holiday celebrations

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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