More data, more security

"Live Secure Chicago" keeps Jewish organizations safe

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It has been a year since JUF launched "Live Secure Chicago," an effort to expand our security expertise and resources to every local Jewish organization. 

Informed by increased Jewish security threats and accompanied by an unprecedented volume of requests for help from hundreds of groups, the plan's vision is to ensure that no one is deterred from Jewish communal life because of fear. 

Its aspirational goal is that Jewish organizational security decisions be based not on financial considerations but objective security and programmatic considerations.  

The major shift in resources will be towards the Jewish groups and facilities not currently under the JUF security umbrella.   

In this past year we hired a new head of security and a deputy, conducted hundreds of security audits, consultations, and trainings, and helped develop security plans.  To understand our community's strengths and potential vulnerabilities even better, we just completed the most comprehensive and detailed survey we have ever undertaken.  The data provides insights of a community widely and deeply concerned about security, with disparate capabilities to address the challenges. 

Some of the key, preliminary takeaways: 

  • 90% of Jewish groups who have applied received a Federal Security Grant; but less than 2/3rds of all groups that know of the program's availability have applied. 

  • The main barrier to their applying is apprehension over the necessary paperwork. 

  • Over 3/4ths of groups have completed at least one security assessment. 

  • Over half of those assessments were conducted by JUF; police provided most of the others. 

  • Almost 3/4ths have an Emergency Action Plan, but less than half have a security committee. 

  • Over 2/3rds are moderately or extremely concerned about security at their organization. 

  • Even more-almost 3/4ths-are concerned about security at other Jewish facilities. 

  • Over 1/4th say their group has been targeted by a specific threat or hate-related criminal act in the last 5 years. 

When asked how JUF can help their unmet security needs: 

  • Almost 80% said they want JUF funding, and half said capital/equipment funding is their priority among JUF modes of help. 

  • Security training was the 2nd most desired form of JUF assistance. 


  • Third was assistance with federal and state security grant applications. 

  • The 4th & 5th most requested form of JUF assistance respectively, were emergency    preparedness and security audits.   

Among other actions based on this data, JUF will establish a well- informed grants process, provide more grant writing assistance, advocate more smartly for Federal and State funding, better leverage increased security staff, and move forward so that no Jews walks away from communal activities because of fears for their personal, their families, and their community's safety. 

Jay Tcath is the Executive Vice President of JUF. 

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