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Church in the city centre hopes that individually fitted window grilles will prevent property crimes

SAN ANTONIO – Grace Lutheran Church is hard to miss when driving through downtown, but a closer look reveals a deeper history and the growing impact of crime on this important San Antonio city.

“We're right in the heart of downtown,” said Pastor Bethany Hull Somers. “This is happening more and more often.”

Hull Somers said vandalism on the church grounds is becoming more common, so she is focusing on prevention.

“I think it’s about the balance between protecting people and trying to preserve the beauty and historicity of our building,” Hull Somers said.

The church was given special window grilles to prevent burglars and rock falls. Hull Somers said the aim was to protect the church's million-dollar stained glass windows and historic architecture.

“Everything seems to be custom these days,” said Kyle Bonnema, owner of Arc Fab Contracting.

Bonnema designed the window grilles for Grace Lutheran. He said vandalism like that at the church has completely changed his business.

“How much of your business is this prevention work?” asked KSAT reporter Avery Everett.

“I'd say at least 50 percent,” Bonnema said. “I do carports, fences and automatic gates.”

This is not Grace Lutheran's final solution. Hull Somers said the church is trying to take every possible action given San Antonio's evolving needs.

“We're really proud of the ministries that are here on our campus. Corazon Ministries and Christian Assistance Ministries are also on our campus,” Hull Somers said. “When you're in a place like ours, you just have to think about those things to keep everyone safe.”

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