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 12/31/14 NUM %
TOTAL DFI's (Deadly Force Incidents) 950  
NUMBER OF (Homicides) DFI's WHERE THE "ATTACK RESULTED IN DEATH OF OTHERS" (ARDO) 330 34.74%
Total known (generally accepted as known) attack triggers 751  
Domestic Spillover (Domestic relationship violence that found it's way onto ministry property and resulted in a DFI) 128 17.04%
Personal Conflict (disagreement between 2 or more non-domestic-related people that erupted into a DFI) 95 12.65%
Robbery 183 24.37%
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 78 10.39%
Confirmed drug related 19 2.53%
Confirmed mental illness 83 11.05%
Religious Bias (against any form of religion) 47 6.26%
Random and other (including rare triggers) 118 15.71%
Number of DFI's occurring based upon the TOP 3 known single issue triggers -- (Domestic Violence, Personal conflict and robbery) 406 54.06%
Total incident weapons known (some attacks had more than one weapon) 981 %
Gun 562 57.29%
Knife (or other stabbing weapon) 165 16.82%
Auto 42 4.28%
Explosives (includes Molotov Cocktails) 57 5.81%
Other (poison, beating, hanging, fire, various objects) 155 15.80%
Victim Statistics (not including suicide or attacker KIA)    
Total killed and injured 1000  
Killed 425 42.50%
Injured 575 57.50%
Male victims (killed) 274 64.47%
Female victims (killed) 151 35.53%
Aggressor Statistics    
Total known (even if known only by description) aggressors 956  
Male 876 91.63%
Female 80 8.37%
Affiliated (member, past member, employee, volunteer) with ministry 219 22.91%
Incident Statistics    
Occurred inside the building 293 31.20%
Occurred outside on ministry property or activity location  646 68.80%
Occurred during event 369 39.76%
Occurred in off hours 559 60.24%
Single attacker 554 72.80%
Multiple attackers 207 27.20%
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
TOTAL DEADLY FORCE DEATHS and INCIDENTS SINCE 1/01/1999 549 950
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 216 22.6%
Non-denominational (includes those of unknown affiliation) 202 21.1%
Catholic 140 14.6%
Methodist 67 7.0%
Lutheran 38 4.0%
Parachurch organizations 31 3.2%
Presbyterian 31 3.2%
Mormon (LDS) 24 2.5%
Episcopal 23 2.4%
Church of God / COGIC 23 2.4%
Church of Christ 21 2.2%
Christian Church (the denomination) 17 1.8%
Pentecostal 17 1.8%
Jewish 16 1.7%
Christian Orthodox (Including Greek and others) 12 1.3%
Islamic 14 1.5%
Assembly of God 11 1.2%
Foreign Ethnic houses of Worship in U.S. 11 1.2%
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 10 1.0%