JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Several churches in the capital city were targets of crime late Sunday night.
Monday morning, congregation leaders found their places of worship wide open and valuables missing.
Church leaders say crime in the neighborhoods where their churches sit has escalated over recent months.
Many now say these break-ins are disturbing, but they also strengthen their purpose for being there.
Cardboard covers where there used to be front windows at not one -- but two churches in the capitol street area.
Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church on Robinson Road and the Capitol street Church of Christ, both victims of burglaries Sunday night.
Johnny Gilmore of the Church of Christ says, "They took our speaker system, we operate on mics, then you have what's called a monitor speaker that sit out in front of the pulpit they took all that."
Johnny Gilmore has attended the church of Christ for more than 30 years. He's watched the neighborhood around the church go through many changes.
In the last year, he's seen a flurry of crime activity that reflects the state of the economy.
"It reflects the society in which we live, desperation, people out of jobs there's a drug element that's still present here that contributes to it, it's just a microcosm, as a church we reach out to everybody and there's hope for everybody in this community," says Gilmore.
At Greater Mount Calvary, video cameras, DVD players and the church audio equipment, all taken by the thieves. The items taken and the damage done will be covered by insurance, but the sense of security for the congregations may never be replaced.
Police are still looking for the burglars. The crimes took place less than a few blocks apart, which leaves church members to believe they're connected.