Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS - Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he is 'blown away' that the crime problem in the metro area has made its way into churches, an area where people seek refuge and to be alone with the Lord.

Aymond talked about two recent incidents last week where a woman was robbed of her wallet while praying at St. Dominic's Church and a few days earlier a priest was beaten with a crowbar when he couldn't open a safe.

'My reaction is one of sadness,' Aymond said. 'We used to think of the church as a sacred place... To think of it as a place where theft might take place, it just blows my mind.

Aymond said the crimes are a lack of respect and an unfortunate sign of the times.

Aymond said the Archdiocese is looking in to stepping up security, possibly installing crime cameras in and around the churches.

'The other alternative which I'm definitely not in favor of is locking our churches during the day, wouldn't that be a tragedy.'

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas said anyone who needs to report a crime should call 821-2222 if no one is injured, and 911 if there is an injury or a chance that someone could be harmed.

There were two other robberies at Catholic Churches this past year. Someone stole the safe from St. Anthony's on Canal Street and on Christmas Day, someone stole a golf cart from the Resurrection of Our Lord Church in New Orleans East.

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