Security stepped up at houses of worship following synagogue shooting

Security expert says he's experienced spike in calls following shooting

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Security is being stepped up at houses of worship around the country, including in South Florida, following the shooting at a synagogue in California.

It's a delicate balance, as one can imagine. Security experts want to maintain vigilance and promote preparedness, but they also don't want to spread panic.

On Monday, Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol spoke with Zalman Myer-Smith, the head of security for nearly 200 Chabad religious centers across the state of Florida. He also runs security for the Lubavitch Education Center in Miami Gardens. 

Myer-Smith said his phone has been ringing off the hook in the days since the shooting in California.

In fact, he said that happens every time there's a situation like this, including after the Pittsburgh shooting.

Most of the calls are from people who are concerned their synagogue or religious community center could be targeted.

Myer-Smith said the issue of copycats has been a huge problem, but their organization does everything they can to be proactive instead of just reacting to individual situations.

"It's very similar to what law enforcement do where we will do site assessments," he said. "So we'll assess where, what threats a site has, how weak or strong they are, how to build on that staff training. Of course, everyone's very focused these days on active shooter training, but there's a myriad of other areas, as well, so we try to all-encompassing and have a broad range of programs."

Myer-Smith said unfortunately, he believes that sort of attack will continue to become even more common, which is why being prepared and reporting any suspicious activity is always necessary.

In solidarity with Chabad of Poway in California, Chabad of Florida is asking Floridians to join their local Chabad this Friday and Saturday for a Unity Shabbat. 

"Please join us in prayer and good deeds in memory of the soul of Lori Gilbert-Kaye (Leah bat Reuven), who was brutally murdered in this act of terror, and in the merit of complete healing for Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein (Yisroel ben Chana Priva), Almog Peretz (Almog Yosef ben Ruti), and Noya Dahan (Noya bat Eden) who were injured in the attack," the Board of Chabad Emissaries of Florida said in a statement. 

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