Protect Your Place of Worship
Many places of worship have no formal safety and security measures in place. There are inherent safety and security risks to take into account, and for some locations there are greater levels of risk that will need to be properly assessed and managed. Usually, there’s no security system in place, no safety committee, no partnership with first responders, no training and no emergency plans.
Your organization does tremendous good for the community you serve. A burglary, an assault, a fire, even a false accusation could seriously threaten your ability to carry out your mission.
A good place to start a safety and security program for a place of worship, a church, or a religious & faith-based organization, is to bring together a committee of community volunteers who can build a relationship with first responders by having your local law enforcement, fire department and paramedics do a walk-through of all your facilities, so you can get first hand professional advice on what changes can be made to increase safety and security measures.
For example, establishing an active fire drill with the fire department will include someone pulling the fire alarm, the congregation evacuating and giving the fire department and paramedics access and give the all clear. This type of drill will undoubtedly identify obstacles to be fixed and safety improvements to be made.
Faith-based organizations are as much a target for criminals as any other segment of society, and because faith-based groups make it a priority to develop a welcoming and open environment, they are often viewed by criminals as easy targets, providing easy access and freedom of movement. The best way to safeguard against possible crime is to monitor access to your facility.
There is an obligation to protect employees, volunteers and visitors while on their premises. A simple and very effective security upgrade to the buildings and offices used as a place of worship is to install a keyless access system on all exterior doors, ensuring that at non-service times, there is a managed and monitored access protocol in place that keeps unwanted visitors out and employees and volunteers safe.
A good security program’s objectives are to deter, delay, detect, deny, respond to and recover from reasonably foreseeable events. These objectives are not met by simply installing a traditional off-the-shelf burglar alarms and conventional CCTV cameras.
We recommend starting with a security audit to ensure that basic protection is met, and one of our professionally trained Sonitrol Security Consultants can develop a security audit for you to determine what your security needs are first, and what your security strategies need to accomplish.
Conduct A Security Audit
The security audit consists of an on-site examination to determine existing security measures and to identify vulnerabilities. This audit will help determine the protection needed and it will also be helpful in recommending measures to enhance overall security during the risk analysis process.
A security audit should be done prior to purchasing security equipment or changing an existing security process or system. It is conducted by a qualified security consultant along with someone familiar with the property and daily operations at your facility.
The security audit is broken down into two components; the risk assessment and risk management.
Risk assessment identifies threats and hazards that could impact people and property. A few examples of threats that can occur at a place of worship are: theft, vandalism, arson, assaults and fire.
Here are a few sources to help identify possible threats that could occur at your place of worship:
1) Police reports of crimes in your immediate area
2) Uniform Crime Reports for your municipality
3) Insurance claims
4) Internal reports
5) Other like places of worship and churches in your neighbourhood
Any information of security incidents occurring in the past two years are a good indicator of future incidents. Additionally, here are a few other factors to consider:
1) Close proximity of your business to a highway or main road
2) Physical isolation of your location and buildings
3) Controversial issues involving your community and congregation
4) Crime, gang activity and other socio-economic factors in your neighbourhood
Risk management determines which cost effective security solutions might be used to mitigate threats and hazards and reduce vulnerabilities.
How Can You Protect Your Place Of Worship?
Criminals know that more than ever, church facilities contain valuable, high-tech items such as musical instruments and multimedia equipment. Many churches even have a retail presence with valuable merchandise, and criminals know that many of these high-value assets often reside in a concentrated area.
For more information, contact Joe Allen, Sonitrol Security of Delaware Valley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 652-3060.