NY churches install metal detectors as post-9/11 security measure

At least two churches in New York have installed metal detectors in its premises. Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel, which both stood for years amid fires, calamity and the destruction of the World Trade Center in 9/11, boosted its security measures in response to the sign of times.

(REUTERS/Ammar Awad)Two churches visited by millions of tourists in New York City have installed metal detectors to deter terrorists.

Officials of the churches had the metal detectors in place as of March 1 in light of an increase in tourists. The measure is meant to protect the visitors seeking comfort and sanctuary in these institutions.

People flock to the Trinity Church to visit Alexander Hamilton's tomb at the graveyard, while visitors pray at St. Paul's Chapel where George Washington also prayed. At the height of rescue operations during the terrorist attack on 9/11, emergency personnel took refuge in these churches as well.

"While it saddens Trinity to implement these measures, the times we live in necessitate this action," Trinity Church's communications officer told the press. "There is no imminent threat to Trinity or St. Paul's, and planning for these new measures has been in the works for some time," the officer added.

Rev. Phillip Jackson, Trinity's vicar, also said that the metal detectors would remain "until this world becomes a safer place." Just last fall, a speeding truck plowed through pedestrian traffic and killed eight people in Lower Manhattan.

Church visitors expressed surprise upon seeing the metal detectors initially but understood the need, considering the churches' location near New York's financial district, which is a high target for terrorist attacks. For a time, these churches relied on security personnel and armed guards to protect the premises and delayed installing the metal detectors for years.

Rabbi Philip Graubart of the San Diego Jewish Academy, however, said that having metal detectors in places of worship "reinforces fear" after synagogues in New York installed the security measure years ahead of Trinity and St. Paul. He said churches have become a fortress and it reflected the "madness of the world we live in."