Is Your Religious Facility at Risk? Take Steps to Keep Your Sanctuary Secure
No matter the faith practiced in your house of worship or the location of your sacred space, there are modern risks you can’t avoid addressing. To be a responsible manager of any religious facility today, you need to develop an adequate security plan to protect against thievery and personal harm.
Risks exist both inside and outside the church, temple, or other holy structure. Follow a few simple tips to recognize your vulnerabilities and develop detection and intervention strategies.
Make Security a Part of Religious Life
Board meetings, parish addresses, and even children’s classes should have a portion of their schedules allotted to discussing security issues. Of course, you will present material in an age-appropriate, non-alarmist way.
It’s best for the core leadership to brainstorm while on a weekend retreat or at longer dedicated security meetings. They should make a list of every possible “worst case scenario.” Designate a team to research best practices before preparing security plans and visitor materials pertaining to these security issues.
Make sure parents, the elderly, and children have a clear idea of what to do in the event of an emergency. Have pamphlets available throughout the worship and meeting areas. Maps should be included showing where exits and safe areas are located.
Far from being an unnecessary, alarmist step, this instruction helps congregants feel empowered. They have a plan of action to focus on if something goes wrong.
Identify Risky Spaces
Alarm installation professionals are the best people to inspect your premises for vulnerabilities. Some of the places they will suggest you protect more heavily are entry and exit points, areas where children are cared for, and areas where valuables are stored.
Entry and Exit Points
Installing cameras at access points is one of the best ways to both deter and prove instances of criminal activity. Your main entry and exit doors, windows and other points of church, temple, or mosque access should be monitored by night vision cameras.
You don’t necessarily need an entire security force. Modern security apps allow you to watch, zoom in on, and record your facility cameras from the comfort of home or while traveling out of town. A security system specialist can recommend an appropriate, commercial-grade smart security system with these features.
Access control at entry points is another key area where churches can restrict risky individuals from entering sensitive areas. Modern access control systems feature web interfaces that are user-friendly and completely customizable.
Smart security systems also give you the power to deny or grant entry access remotely. The entire access control system can be monitored and managed from a PC, laptop, or cell phone as long as you can connect to the internet.
In the event of fire or another hazard, you need alarms, sprinklers, and other security measures where children are located. Alarms alert the caregivers to threats. With advance training, a teacher can be taught to recognize that a certain alarm code signifies a specific hazardous situation. The caregivers can then proceed according to their security training to make certain that all children are accounted for and safe.
With smart phone apps, teachers and preschool workers can receive text alerts with instructions on what to do throughout any ordeal. Similar strategies should be used to manage seniors and people with disabilities in the event of evacuation or shelter-in-place conditions.
Security cameras in the children’s areas also protect children from abduction or abuse. In congregations with many children, it’s important to be proactive in providing safe, monitored spaces for younger members and visitors.
Cash Donations and Tithes
If your facility has multiple areas where money is stored, consider investing in a large safe that’s behind several layers of protection. At the end of each service or day, any cash drawers, donations, or checks should be brought to the central safe, tallied in, and locked away.
When too many people know passwords and cash locations, your risks of suffering a break in, embezzlement, or robbery increase. Centralize money in a locked safe inside a closet inside a room to minimize your risks. The same holds true for valuable religious artifacts and artwork.
Most houses of worship simply need the services of alarm and security camera installation professionals to have a safe facility strategy. Contact Alarm Protection Services today to discover all of the ways to conveniently protect your most beloved spaces from harm.