Specific terrorist threats of concern to synagogues include the following:
Disruption of a facility without inflicting casualties could erode the confidence of religious group members in returning to the site. In addition, any significant terrorist attack would have a cascading effect. Concern over safety and fear that an attack could occur elsewhere may cause members to avoid attending services nationwide, dealing a significant psychological and economic blow to the synagogue.
Many security measures are available that are low in cost or no cost at all. An excellent first step is to contact your local law enforcement agency and have them conduct a vulnerability assessment at your site. This assessment will provide numerous recommendations to strengthen your crime and terrorism prevention efforts.
Also, notify your local police of your schedule of meetings and all religious services. The law enforcement agency can best determine what resources should be made available for security, crowd control and traffic purposes.
Houses of worship were rarely the focus of security or crime prevention efforts - except those targeting hate crime - prior to the tragedy of 9/11. There is no guarantee that crime or terrorism prevention measures will succeed and there is no "foolproof" security. However, multiple prevention strategies provide defenses that protect people and assets, deter offenders and help to avoid a major incident against a house of worship.
For more information, contact SCN.