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March 10, 2015 4:56 pm

Expert Urges Synagogues to Reassess Security Following Surveillance Scare

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avatar by Chris Coffey

Police confer outside Congregation Beth Torah. Photo: Office of Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

A leading security expert has strongly urged all synagogues to invest in security training following reports of suspicious activity at Brooklyn synagogues.

“Synagogues and other Jewish institutions must do more to invest in training their staff and congregants to be able to identify and report suspicious activity,” said Dr. Joshua Gleis, president of Gleis Security Consulting, a leading security firm that works with Jewish institutions.

“Investing in operational security training, as opposed to just security hardware, is critical.”

Gleis’s comments follow reports of suspicious surveillance activity at two Brooklyn synagogues. Recent Security footage showed two men taking pictures in front of the Bet Yaakob synagogue on Ocean Parkway. Within seconds, a security guard confronted the men. The men quickly left the scene.

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There was a similar incident that same day at Congregation Beth Torah in Brooklyn.

While police identified the men in Brooklyn, and found no evidence of criminal activity, the incident highlights the need for sound security at every synagogue, according to Gleis. He believes that the community should treat incidents like these as “wake-up” calls.

“Most attacks are preceded by surveillance,” warned Gleis. “It is the time where the community can have the most impact in assisting law enforcement by reporting the activity, and hopefully preventing a potential attack.”

Gleis’s comments also follow the murder of Dan Uzan, who was killed only weeks ago by a jihadist while standing guard outside a Copenhagen synagogue during a bat mitzvah party.

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