Newsom Increases Funding for Security for Faith-Based Communities

Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Newsom Increases Funding for Security for Faith-Based Communities

A security guard stands watch in front of a synagogue in Los Angeles on Oct. 9, 2023. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

11/13/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

Due to heightened tension in the Middle East and at home, California Gov. Gavin Newsom last month doubled funding available for churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based communities to install security features.
The governor announced funding from the state’s so-called Security Grant Program would be increased from $20 million to $40 million and also vowed an additional $10 million to increase police presence at places of worship.
The boost in funding is to provide security equipment for nonprofit organizations—including synagogues and mosques—that are at high risk for violent attacks and hate crimes, especially now, after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants on Israel.
“No matter how and where one prays, every Californian deserves to be safe,” Mr. Newsom said in an Oct. 18 press release.
Even before the latest conflict erupted in the Middle East, religious hate crimes were on the rise in California.
According to the California Department of Justice, hate crime based on religion in the state rose from 181 incidents in 2020, to 318 in 2022. Only six were reported in 2021.
Funding can be used for reinforced doors and gates, high-intensity lighting and alarms, access control, and other security upgrades.
The application period ended Oct. 27 for the program.
Religious leaders applauded the governor’s funding boost.
“It was a big deal to us,” said Daniel Walsh, of Saint Peter-All Hallows’ Parish in Sacramento County. “We’re quite happy that we were able to get this appropriate fencing for the school and its needs … It’s a human right to be able to practice your faith safely.”
The state has invested over $400 million in funding to increase community resources and address hate since 2019, according to the governor’s office.
Chabad Jewish Center of Mission Viejo in Orange County is one of 700 past recipients of the security grant program.
“Our community, many of them are concerned about coming out and exposing themselves to any possible danger,” said Rabbi Marcus Zalman. “But when I tell them that we now have bulletproof windows, new security doors, security cameras and all the latest safety measures, that makes them feel much more safe.”
Hussam Ayloush, CEO of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in California, thanked the governor for his efforts.
“We welcome Governor Newsom’s proactive measures to protect Californians,” Mr. Ayloush said in the governor’s press release. “California Muslims are increasingly anxious as we observe dangerous rhetoric that continues to dehumanize Palestinians and Muslims, and which leads to a rise in anti-Muslim incidents targeting students, employees, and everyday Muslims in their homes or on the street.”
A security guard stands watch in front of a synagogue in Los Angeles on Oct. 9, 2023. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

A security guard stands watch in front of a synagogue in Los Angeles on Oct. 9, 2023. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.