While every church facility is characteristically unique from the perspective of construction layout, landscaping and some operating procedures, the approach to security at each facility is much the same. The following list provides some basic security elements that can reduce the potential for property loss or injuries. A local security company, emergency responders, church members who are involved with law enforcement, and even the Internet can provide additional resources to help you assess the best security measures for your facility.
- All walking areas of grounds are well lighted at night. *
- Grounds are free of areas where an intruder can lurk or hide. (Trees and bushes close to walks are trimmed low and lighting is provided where necessary. Dark corners and alleys are lighted. *)
- Parking lots are well lit and in full view from inhabited areas, increasing the likelihood that others will see or hear a person in distress. *
- Members are encouraged to lock cars and keep valuables out of sight and securely locked in vehicle trunks.
- Escort service is available to those who request it after night meetings or other activities. (Members and visitors should be encouraged to leave night services and meetings in groups, where neighborhood conditions and other factors warrant.)
- Security patrols, closed circuit TV and/or other means of protection are provided where neighborhood conditions deem such actions appropriate.
- Building security systems are installed and monitored by a security service.
- Emergency Action Plans are established and in place for natural disasters (fire, earthquake, etc.), bomb threats, robbery, assault or other acts of violence.
- Church leaders have worked in conjunction with police, fire and other emergency responders in establishing the Emergency Action Plan.
- Every church has a safety officer, and church leaders, elders and deacons are trained in how to recognize and respond to events listed in the plan.
- Safety officers, church leaders, elders and deacons have procedures in place and are trained in responsibilities regarding evacuation or lockdown, as warranted by a particular event.
- Visitors and members are encouraged to always be aware of their nearest exit.
- Areas where offerings are handled are not directly accessible from the outside of the facility. (NOTE: Measures for the internal and external security of offerings are addressed in other reference materials.)
- Key controls are in place with keys issued only “as needed.” Doors are re-keyed when keys are lost or when the control system warrants.
- Temptation is reduced. Blinds or shades are closed at night where computers, sound equipment and other valuable items would otherwise be visible from outside the building.
* Good lighting not only reduces the risk of assault, robbery and property losses, but also reduces the potential for trip and fall injuries, which are frequent and expensive losses at church facilities.