The world we live is becoming more and more violent. Unfortunately, these criminals and mentally ill individuals do not care that you are sitting unarmed in church with your family. They do not care if you are male, female, young or old. They are there to injure and kill as many people as they can and today, they have chosen your church. You sit there and hear shots ring off one after another and your friends and family around you run about unable to protect themselves or others. It’s a horrible thought to think about, but these are very real concerns that we must address in the world we live in today. A concealed carry permit and a firearm is a great start, but it is not ample security. You can’t be in the nursery, junior church and the sanctuary all at once.
As a pastor, deacon, church leader etc.. It is your responsibility to think about these things and protect your congregation the best you know how to. For a church this can be difficult. How do you make your place of worship safe while still looking friendly and welcoming? There are several steps to accomplishing this the most affective way possible. There is no exact science to keeping your place of worship safe, but as we study the behaviors of past criminals and the way the attack was carried out, we can get a very good idea on what we need to do in order to combat these issues. We have outlined 5 easy steps you should take in order to keep your church a safer place of worship.
1.) Security and Threat Assessment – Receive a professional security and threat assessment from an expert in the field. We handle this service at N-Tact Security, there are also a lot of other great companies that do the same.
When having your assessment done ask a lot of questions and make sure you know what you are receiving before you pay. Often times you will pay for an assessment only to have an “expert” tell you where to put cameras. This is not a true assessment. A true assessment will be an in-depth analysis of the property, surrounding properties, crime rate, types of crimes in your area, vulnerable points and solutions. This should be put together in a professional manner and explained to you in detail. At N-Tact Security, the second step in securing your congregation is also included with your assessment and that is organizing a safety and security board for your church.
2.) Safety and Security Board – It is important to organize a safety and security board for your church. This board should be made up of the most qualified individuals in your church.
Individuals with experience in law enforcement, security, and military for example would make for a great board. This board should review the assessment and recommendations. The board shall then make a decision and bring it to the leaders in the church. These board members will be responsible for studying recent events, and criminal trends in order to stay up to date and prepared for any issues that may arise. These same board members can serve on the security team which would be the 3rd step.
3.) Organize a Security Team – A team of well trained and vigilant individuals needs to be organized. This team has a responsibility to keep the members safe, and bring peace of mind.
The board members can also serve as a security team member. Or they can vote on individuals within the church and request that they become a security team member. These Security Officers should be adequately trained and know where and when they are expected to be in position. The security team’s biggest threat is being complacent. In the beginning things are always taken seriously, as time passes and nothing of concern happens Security Officers get complacent. We must continue to combat this mentality and stay vigilant always.
4.) Implement Security Technologies – Security cameras, intercoms and other emergency warning devices should be implemented.
Technology is always evolving, and it is important we stay up to date on what is available. As a former Deputy Sheriff, I have responded to calls of robberies and burglary only to be handed a surveillance video and see nothing but a pixilated blob entering and shortly after leaving. Security cameras are a great resource, but the quality is just as important. Do not fall into a false sense of security, just because you have cameras, it does not make you safe. Cameras are simply a very small piece of the puzzle to help ensure the security of your church.
5.) Create a relationship between local law enforcement – Engage with your local law enforcement.
Build a relationship between the church and local law enforcement. Provide local law enforcement with all emergency contact information in case there is an emergency after hours. Your local law enforcement should provide you with a very basic security survey as well. It is important to stay up to date on your security needs and to continue to always strive towards an unattainable goal of ultimate security. Continue to be vigilant in protecting those you love and those that cannot protect themselves.