Downtown church hopes customized window guards will prevent property crime

SAN ANTONIO – Grace Lutheran Church is hard to miss when driving through Downtown. But a closer look reveals a deeper story and the growing impact of crime on this San Antonio staple.

“We’re right in the heart of downtown,” Pastor Bethany Hull Somers said. “It’s becoming more common.”

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Hull Somers said the church has seen acts of vandalism on its campus occur more often, so she’s pushing prevention.

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

The church got customized window guards to prevent people from breaking in and rocks from smashing through glass. Hull Somers said the goal is to protect the church’s millions-worth stained glass and historic architecture.

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

Bonnema designed the window guards for Grace Lutheran. He said vandalism similar to that of the church has completely changed his business.

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

“I would say 50% at least,” Bonnema said. “I do carports, fences and automatic gates.”

This isn’t Grace Lutheran’s final solution. Hull Somers said that as San Antonio’s needs continue to evolve, the church is trying to take any action that it can.

“We’re really proud of the services that happen here on our campus there. Corazon Ministries and Christian Assistance Ministries are also on our campus,” Hull Somers said. “When you’re in the kind of location that we’re in, you have to just be thinking about these things for the safety of everyone.”

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