Churches and other places of worship are supposed to be safe places for everyone. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and attacks and such places are on the rise. Security is often a difficult task due to high traffic volumes and an open door policy but there are steps that can be taken.
A good security plan should combine effectiveness in preventing and containing threats, without changing the experience for the members. Attacks on places of worship are not just violence, it may be crimes such as arson and theft too.
The bible says that we should not have a spirit of fear, instead we should use common sense and wisdom in our approach and planning for the unexpected.
Security Tips for Places of Worship
Below, you will find some of the most important aspects of church security. Don’t ignore the security or safety gaps in your church. Don’t wait until it is too late. Get started now!
- Develop a security plan. These should detail how help people should behave when a security issue arises. These are only the beginning and not enough on their own.
- Install CCTV. CCTV systems are a convenient monitoring option and will allow church staff to oversee all areas of the building from one area and responding instantly. You should install cameras both on the inside and outside of the building.
- Create a security policy in event of a fire or other incident. Fires, violent entries, fights, attacks, and shootings must be given special attention. If you don’t take the time to do this, it may result in greater damage and harm to people and property.
- Separate public and private WiFi use. This will allow the church to control who can share sensitive information over the public network and restrict the church security system to private WiFi networks.
- Assign patrolling staff. It’s vital to include church staff in the security procedures.
- Keep all funds safe. You must keep all donations and funds in a safe area with very minimal access.
- Watch the children. Never allow an adult into the children’s area without proper identification.
- Assign someone that will patrol the parking lot regularly throughout services.
- Train your staff and congregation. This includes training them in lockdowns, evacuation plans, reverse evacuations, room clearing, shelter-in-place, and emergency drills. Additionally, you need to have flexibility or alternate ideas in place.
- Controlled hours. Your church should have designated public hours of operation there must always be someone in the building anytime that the doors are unlocked. Whenever possible, there should be more than one person inside. There is strength in numbers.
- Have lock-down procedures in place. These are especially important in the children’s areas. Determine the best approach to protecting church members in the event of a threatening or unsafe situation.
- Background checks on staff and volunteers. Inside threats can also be a problem so you need to reduce that threat. Background checks can prevent those with criminal records from occupying important positions within your church.
- Develop situational awareness with the church. This serves to identify criminal or dangerous situations. Your staff and members need to be aware of their surroundings at all times to help them identify potential threats and dangers. When ignored, these can sometimes erupt in more serious and violent behaviors.
- Create a single entrance. Assign a member of your team to lock doors once the service starts. Any unlocked doors should be actively monitored. All other entrances should be inaccessible from the outside of your church. Ensure that the exit doors remain unlocked from the inside.
It is important to understand the risks that churches face and how best to make them safe for the future. Use the security tips to serve as a guide to helping you provide a more secure atmosphere for your own place of worship.