NEW figures released in Australia indicate you may not be as safe in a church as you are at a strip club or in a brothel.
The latest data, compiled by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, showed 1,600 people were charged with committing a range of 27 offences in the state’s “places of worship” in 2008.
But the figures showed only 282 people were charged in premises classified as adult entertainment with the same offences.
Bureau director Don Wedderburn said the data showed people were just as likely to be assaulted or robbed in the sanctity of a church as they were on the streets.
Most people would think of churches and synagogues as sanctuaries in society. But maybe that’s naive, because the statistics show they are likely to rob, assault or steal from people there like anywhere else.
A breakdown of the figures showed that 85 people were assaulted in places of worship, compared to 66 at an adult entertainment premises.
According to this report, places of worship include churches, synagogues, monasteries, mosques, convents, cathedrals and chapels.
Premises listed under adult entertainment included strip clubs, sex shops, brothels, massage parlours, gay clubs, gaming houses as well as gambling clubs.
Places of worship were also ahead on sexual offences (16), theft from motor vehicles (33), resisting arrest (seven) and liquor offences (10).
Harassment and threatening behaviour at places of worship (30) was more than double that of adult entertainment (13).
Two people were charged with possessing or using marijuana in places of worship. The figure was a 90 per cent decrease on the previous year, when 20 people were charged with the offence.
Only one person was charged with the offence at an adult entertainment premises in 2008.