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Church bricks up windows, installs traffic-light warning system amid Mexico violence

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

Catholics pray near windows covered partially with cement blocks inside St. Teresa of Avila church in Monterrey, Mexico, on Feb. 17, 2013.

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

A green light indicates there is no danger as a priest distributes Holy Communion to the congregation inside the church.

A church in the Mexican city of Monterrey has set up extreme security measures to protect worshippers, bricking up its windows and introducing a traffic light system to warn churchgoers if a crime is taking place nearby.

During mass, a green light is activated above a side door of the St. Teresa of Avila church to indicate that there is no sign of danger outside.

When the amber light is lit, it indicates caution, while the red light represents danger from criminal activity, such as a shooting, taking place near the church.

A concrete wall has also been constructed in front of the main facade of the church. 

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

A concrete wall has been built in front of St. Teresa of Avila church.

Last week, Mexico's new administration offered the first details of a long-touted shift in the country's war on drugs, saying the government will spend $9.2 billion this year on social programs meant to keep young people from joining criminal organizations in the 251 most violent towns and neighborhoods across the country. 

"It's clear that we must put special emphasis on prevention, because we can't only keep employing more sophisticated weapons, better equipment, more police, a higher presence of the armed forces in the country as the only form of combating organized crime," President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

-- Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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