The Burlington County Sheriff’s Office is increasing patrols near all houses of worship, including synagogues, mosques, temples and churches, as part of an effort to boost security in the wake of the unprecedented terrorist attacks in Israel.
Burlington County Sheriff James Kostoplis said increasing patrols is proactively intended to safeguard worshippers of all faiths. This precautionary measure is not in response to any specific, credible threat or security risk.
“America was founded on religious freedom and all people deserve the right to practice their faith in peace, so we’re taking some proactive actions to bolster security and protect our communities,” Sheriff Kostoplis said. “Hate has no place in Burlington County or anywhere else. Crimes or threats directed against any religious groups, houses of worship or community will be taken seriously.”
Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson said the Board of Commissioners supports the Sheriff’s actions and calls on residents to choose kindness and empathy over intolerance and hate.
“Our Board believes strongly in the rights of all people to live and practice their religion peacefully without fear, and we’re grateful for the efforts of our Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies to protect those rights,” said Hopson. “The indiscriminate attacks witnessed in Israel remind us that there continues to be purveyors of hate in this world. We condemn all acts of terrorism and call on all Burlington County residents to stand together with us.”
State Senator Troy Singleton also praised the decision to increase patrols.
“I have called on county leadership to increase patrols around all places of worship throughout Burlington County so that congregants feel safe and secure as they gather,” said Senator Singleton. “While no specific threats have been made, we want to ensure that everyone – regardless of their religious beliefs – is able to practice their faith without worry, trepidation and fear. I am grateful for the Sheriff’s and Commissioners’ collaboration and for their continued commitment to safety.”
Kostoplis said his office was communicating with religious groups in the county to alert them of the additional patrols.
While no specific threats have been reported, he encouraged residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.