The best security plan is one developed with good and relevant information.

 

The data on this page is only that associated with deadly force incidents and suspicious deaths at churches and ministries in the U.S.. The data is dynamic, but gathered from enough incidents that trends are stabilizing.

 

There is no agenda to prove anything other than the importance of intentional security and safety by every ministry – regardless of size. I record the data as I am able to confirm it, allowing others to reach conclusions on other statistics (such as church shootings, domestic violence in church, church homicides or other details related to developing a church security plan).

 

I am especially grateful to many who have written or met with me regarding their personal experience in some of the stories. Many have sent me stories that I missed along the way. I am grateful for every clarification, correction and revelation provided by all of you. Your information will help make ministries safer everywhere.

If you know of incidents not found, or have personal experiences with any of those stories found in the CHURCH CRIME HISTORY tab, please write me – the more we all know, the better prepared others will be.

Security!? In a church?
Ministry Violence Statistics
Deadly Force Incidents (DFI's) at Faith-Based Organizations in the United States (includes abductions, attacks, suspicious deaths, suicides and deadly force intervention / protection)
DATA CURRENT for time period 1/1/1999 through 2/28/14 NUM %
TOTAL DFI's (Deadly Force Incidents) 799  
NUMBER OF (Homicides) DFI's WHERE THE "ATTACK RESULTED IN DEATH OF OTHERS" (ARDO) 303 37.92%
Total known (generally accepted as known) attack triggers 627  
Domestic Spillover (Domestic relationship violence that found it's way onto ministry property and resulted in a DFI) 106 16.91%
Personal Conflict (disagreement between 2 or more un-domestic-related people that erupted into a deadly force incident) 85 13.56%
Robbery 149 23.76%
Gang related (Gang or potential gang related that included drugs are in drugs category). It is reasonable to assume many of the PC and robbery cases were gang-related as well, but cannot be confirmed 65 10.37%
Confirmed drug related 15 2.39%
Confirmed mental illness 65 10.37%
Religious Bias (against any form of religion) 42 6.70%
Random and other (including rare triggers) 100 15.95%
Number of DFI's occurring based upon the TOP 3 known single issue triggers -- (Domestic Violence, Personal conflict and robbery) 340 54.23%
Total incident weapons known (some attacks had more than one weapon) 826 %
Gun 479 57.99%
Knife (or other stabbing weapon) 141 17.07%
Auto 31 3.75%
Explosives (includes Molotov Cocktails) 49 5.93%
Other (poison, beating, hanging, fire, various objects) 126 15.25%
Victim Statistics (not including suicide)    
Total killed and injured 892  
Killed 382 42.83%
Injured 510 57.17%
Male victims (killed) 242 63.35%
Female victims (killed) 149 39.01%
Aggressor Statistics    
Total known (even if known only by description) aggressors 798  
Male 732 91.73%
Female 66 8.27%
Affiliated (member, past member, employee, volunteer) with ministry 191 23.93%
Total aggressors (including those without even a description) and their status  944  
Suicide 77 8.16%
KIA 28 2.97%
Arrested  506 53.60%
Unknown or at-large 333 35.28%
Incident Statistics    
Occurred inside the building 259 32.78%
Occurred outside on ministry property or activity location  531 67.22%
Occurred during event 316 40.15%
Occurred in off hours 471 59.85%
Single attacker 463 72.34%
Multiple attackers 177 27.66%
Total deadly force incident stats by year
Year Total deaths (Homicide, suicide, unsolved suspicious and aggressors killed in action) Total Incidents
1999 22 10
2000 9 6
2001 4 6
2002 11 9
2003 12 9
2004 3 4
2005 19 10
2006 30 27
2007 39 41
2008 50 64
2009 54 108
2010 52 102
2011 49 107
2012 76 139
2013 45 132
2014 12 25
TOTAL DEADLY FORCE DEATHS and INCIDENTS SINCE 1/01/1999 487 799
Where attacks occurred by denomination
While there are many branches of "Baptist" (as 1 example), there has been no attempt to clarify specific branches of that or other major denominations. While the "Church of God" may be different from "COGIC", they are in the same category (as another example). I apologize for any offense some may have with such groupings; the intent is to track the frequency of deadly force incidents at faith-based ministries.
     
Denominational affiliation (some DFI's affected more than 1 site -- i.e. 7/2/2009, 10/29/2010) Number of incidents Percentage 
Baptist 179 22.2%
Non-denominational (includes those of unknown affiliation) 164 20.3%
Catholic 120 14.9%
Methodist 56 6.9%
Parachurch organizations 31 3.8%
Presbyterian 29 3.6%
Lutheran 28 3.5%
Episcopal 22 2.7%
Mormon (LDS) 21 2.6%
Church of Christ 20 2.5%
Church of God / COGIC 18 2.2%
Jewish 14 1.7%
Christian Church (the denomination) 14 1.7%
Pentecostal 14 1.7%
Islamic 10 1.2%
Christian Orthodox (Including Greek and others) 10 1.2%
Assembly of God 10 1.2%
Foreign Ethnic houses of Worship in U.S. 9 1.1%
Nazarene 6 0.7%
Unitarian 4 0.5%
Jehovah's Witness 4 0.5%
7th Day Adventist 4 0.5%
Evangelical Free 3 0.4%
Foursquare 3 0.4%
Buddhist 2 0.2%
Scientology 1 0.1%
Other 8 1.0%