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 [& attempts], attacks, suspicious deaths, suicides & deadly force intervention / protection)
DATA CURRENT for time period 1/1/1999 through 2/15/15 NUM %
TOTAL DFI's (Deadly Force Incidents) 971  
NUMBER OF (Homicides) DFI's WHERE THE "ATTACK RESULTED IN DEATH OF OTHERS" (ARDO) 335 34.50%
Total known (generally accepted as known) attack triggers 769  
Domestic Spillover (Domestic relationship violence that found it's way onto ministry property and resulted in a DFI) 131 17.04%
Personal Conflict (disagreement between 2 or more non-domestic-related people that erupted into a DFI) 97 12.61%
Robbery 191 24.84%
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 80 10.40%
Confirmed drug related 19 2.47%
Confirmed mental illness 84 10.92%
Religious Bias (against any form of religion) 47 6.11%
Random and other (including rare triggers) 120 15.60%
Number of DFI's occurring based upon the TOP 3 known single issue triggers -- (Domestic Violence, Personal conflict and robbery) 419 54.49%
Total incident weapons known (some attacks had more than one weapon) 1003 %
Gun 576 57.43%
Knife (or other stabbing weapon) 168 16.75%
Auto 43 4.29%
Explosives (includes Molotov Cocktails) 57 5.68%
Other (poison, beating, hanging, fire, various objects) 159 15.85%
Victim Statistics (not including suicide or attacker KIA)    
Total killed and injured 1011  
Killed 430 42.53%
Injured 581 57.47%
Male victims (killed) 277 64.42%
Female victims (killed) 153 35.58%
Aggressor Statistics    
Total known (even if known only by description) aggressors 977  
Male 894 91.50%
Female 83 8.50%
Affiliated (member, past member, employee, volunteer) with ministry 222 22.72%
Incident Statistics    
Occurred inside the building 295 30.73%
Occurred outside on ministry property or activity location  665 69.27%
Occurred during event 375 39.52%
Occurred in off hours 574 60.48%
Single attacker 565 72.53%
Multiple attackers 214 27.47%
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 51 102
2011 50 107
2012 76 139
2013 45 132
2014 74 176
2015 11 21
TOTAL DEADLY FORCE DEATHS and INCIDENTS SINCE 1/01/1999 549 971
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 219 22.5%
Non-denominational (includes those of unknown affiliation) 211 21.6%
Catholic 142 14.6%
Methodist 68 7.0%
Lutheran 38 3.9%
Parachurch organizations 31 3.2%
Presbyterian 32 3.3%
Mormon (LDS) 24 2.5%
Episcopal 24 2.5%
Church of God / COGIC 23 2.4%
Church of Christ 21 2.2%
Christian Church (the denomination) 17 1.7%
Pentecostal 17 1.7%
Jewish 16 1.6%
Christian Orthodox (Including Greek and others) 12 1.2%
Islamic 14 1.4%
Assembly of God 12 1.2%
Foreign Ethnic houses of Worship in U.S. 11 1.1%
Nazarene 7 0.7%
7th Day Adventist 5 0.5%
Unitarian 4 0.4%
Jehovah's Witness 4 0.4%
Evangelical Free 3 0.3%
Foursquare 3 0.3%
Buddhist 2 0.2%
Scientology 1 0.1%
Other 11 1.1%