In recent weeks we have seen an increase in vandalism to statuary outside some churches in the diocese. There is no information indicating these events are related or that the same individual(s) are involved in perpetrating these acts.

As we address these events, it is important to follow some basic precautions to make our parishes and schools as safe as possible and to increase the likelihood that perpetrators are identified and arrested.

Access control helps secure your parish and limits the flow of traffic through the property. Remember to close and lock doors and gates when facilities are not being used. Make sure available lighting is working and not blocked by tree branches. If your facility has an alarm system, ensure it is functioning and that it is used, even if a building will only be vacant for a short period. Video cameras can act as a deterrent and record images that can help identify perpetrators.

Suspects involved in criminal acts frequently plan these events in advance, so pay attention to anything that is out of the ordinary and report suspicious activities to the police.

A frequently used axiom in police work is, “If you don’t report it, it never happened.” If a vandalism or other criminal act occurs on parish property, do your best to preserve the scene in its original condition and report the incident to your local law enforcement agency immediately.

While these desecrations are upsetting, it is important that investigators have the opportunity review the damage in its entirety and examine the area for additional evidence….

The above comes from a June 4 memo from the Diocese of Sacramento.