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Be aware of your surroundings

Last week, I interviewed Poplarville police officer Joe Bowman about a church safety seminar he attended.

This story not only addresses an important concern but it’s one of those instances where I have been involved in a similar situation.

About six years ago, we were attending a church in Diamondhead where my mom was the organist.

We had been going there for years and never once was there an instance where we felt our own safety or personal belongings would be in jeopardy.

As a result, my mom never locked her car and would often leave her handbag inside.

One Sunday morning after the service, when she got in her car, she realized her purse was missing.

She filed a police report and instantly had to cancel all of her bank cards.

She also carried a spare key for each of the vehicles in the family inside her bag along with many other valuables.

Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought a criminal would target a church parking lot.

When I look back, I realize that a church parking lot could potentially be a hotspot for criminals.

Everyone is inside for at least an hour, absorbed in church activities and rarely gives a second thought to what may be going on in the parking lot.

In my opinion, Bowman’s seminar is a wonderful asset to the church community.

It is important for church leaders to realize and become informed about the potential dangers that lurk outside their sacred doors.

My mother’s handbag, what was left of it, was eventually recovered a couple of weeks later after the suspect was caught in a high-speed chase down Pass Road in Biloxi, not too far from the law firm where I worked. What a small world.

As a result, she no longer leaves her car doors unlocked or her handbag in her vehicle.

It is my hope that all church leaders will contact Bowman and learn about securing the safety of their flock.