Temple Shalom in downtown Lafayette has security measures to keep its members safe.
The temple works closely with the Lafayette Police Department to provide an armed guard during services.
“A few years ago when we saw the uptick in hate crimes, we decided that it would be a prudent thing to do because we saw that other synagogues– people with guns were coming into services and killing people,” explained Temple Shalom President Fay Bowen.
That’s why Temple Shalom has not only a security and surveillance system but officers on regular patrol near the building.
“We are very lucky. The Lafayette Police Department has always been very diligent about monitoring our building,” said Bowen.
Bowen says the FBI monitors the activity of several anti-Semitic hate groups in Acadiana.
The FBI then relays that intelligence to Lafayette police.
“They would give us an update if there is some activity here in Lafayette or nearby of the KKK, which there are chapters. Just if they hear if they’ve been having meetings or planning some kind of activity,” explained Bowen.
Bowen believes domestic terrorists plan their attacks for a time when a building is full, such as Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
“There was a ceremony going on at the time, which leads me to believe that the man had done research and knew exactly when the synagogue would be populated.”