Thursday, December 31

Church Money Stolen

Conway church money stolen SCNow

"Church leaders in Conway are trying to figure out who stole thousands of dollars from a safe inside the church office last weekend."

Could this be another inside job? This is the second incident this week that involved money stolen from a church safe.

Tuesday, December 29

Theft of Church Safe

“There appeared to be no forced entry, and more than 50 people have access to the area where the safe was kept, according to police… It is believed that between $90,000 to $100,000 in cash and checks was in the safe.”

This apparently seems to be an inside job. Police stated that the church had surveillance cameras of the area. I have two main thoughts in relation to this story.

First, why was there so much money in the safe? It is possible that the church collected that money Sunday and was planning on depositing it into the bank Monday. Is there another way to deposit the money? Can it be placed in a deposit box on Sunday? Can it be electronically deposited over the Internet? Many banks now have this option.

Second, if the church is bringing in $100,000 a week then why did they not have a surveillance camera installed in the church? A simple cost analysis would show you that the money lost is much more expensive then the cost of a good camera system.

Monday, December 28

Vigilance Conference

July 20-22, 2010 I will have the privilege of assisting with the first ever “Vigilance Safety and Security Conference”.  I have teamed up with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY to help put together a conference that will help support churches, pastors, and security team members advance their understanding in the topic of church safety and security. The seminary should officially release the conference details sometime in January. Please continue to check this link for more information! I will post more details on this blog as them become available.

Sunday, December 27

Pope Attacked!

In my opinion it would be hard to argue that no other church organization provides better coverage for their religious leader then the Vatican City. A dual responsibility between the Swiss Guard and the Vatican Police, the Pope is considered and protected as a world leader. He is the Head of State to the Vatican City. I did not know this until a few years back; however, the Vatican even has an Embassy in Downtown Washington, DC.

Although the leaders of most churches cannot claim to be an official Head of State we can still learn from this incident. The leaders of our churches and religious institutions attack both wanted and unwanted attention. We need to stay alert to those who may be interested in causing them harm.

Saturday, December 26

Church Bookkeeper Steals Money

"Eighty-one checks and more than thirty thousand dollars. That's all it took to land forty-two-year-old Ginger Kaye Vintson behind bars, arrested for allegedly stealing money from First Church of the Nazarene"

Thursday, December 24

Fraud Targets Churches

 In the last month, someone posing as a member of First Baptist Church and Centenary United Methodist Church has ordered thousands of dollars worth of mobile phones from Sprint...Bowling said large churches can be particularly vulnerable to scams and fraud because they often have a heavy flow of visitors and deliveries. "It's terrible to grasp that it's going on, but people have to be really wise," she said. "It's identity theft, is what it is. You think you're safe in the church, and you're not."

Wednesday, December 23

Nativity Scene Stolen From Church

"It was a cowardly deed that even Scrooge would never commit."

As I have researched church related crimes this week I have been shocked at how many reports are available in reference to thefts associated with churches. Every year there is a pattern associated with thefts in relation to holiday decorations. This year has been no different.

Picture from: Danville News

Tuesday, December 22

Blizzard 2009 – Church Safety and Security

A large part of the country was hit by a blizzard this past weekend. Below are a few safety tips to consider in reference to the snow and your church facility:

~ Are all emergency exits clear of snow?
~ Are all fire hydrants completely visible and clear of snow?
~ Are all fire department connections also known as building sprinkler connection clear and visible?
~ Are all sprinkler rooms clear of snow, specifically so exterior doors are free to open?

Remember to keep all sidewalks clear of snow and ice. You do not want the liability of someone slipping and hurting themselves. Even if this still occurs you can show the court that you attempted to rectify the problem by shoveling and salting all walkways and parking areas. If you do nothing then I court may find you fully liable.

This is a good idea; however, I would take it one step further… Why give the fire department one more thing to do before they can save your church facility… Completely clear snow away from fire hydrants.

Clear snow all the way to the base of the fire hydrants. Don’t stop just below the water connections. Remember most fire hydrants have more than one connection. Clear 360˚around the hydrant.

This is the end of a fire department connection. This is a newer style system that allows the fire department to hook up to one end and boost the pressure to a separate location. The FD can then hook up a standpipe pack for initial entry. I tried to find the initial connection and this is all I was able to come up with (see picture below). The sad part was that I knew where is was suppose to be.

Sunday, December 20

Explosives Found in Church

"My secretary was very nervous. She was like, 'I don't think we should stay.' But I said, 'It's been here since May, it's not going to going to blow up right now,'" Peterson said.

Heat, Shock, and Friction are the three main components that can make an explosive detonate. The statement highlighted above is based on pure naiveté. The smallest shift it the nitroglycerin’s state could have caused a large explosion. If you or a member of your congregation thinks they have come into contact with an explosive, leave the building and call the police immediately from the exterior of the building. Do not call the police from your cell phone in front of the suspicious item. The static electricity from your phone may be large enough to cause the device to explode.

What can a small amount of nitroglycerin do?

Saturday, December 19

Children Drugged at Church Day Care

"Parents of an infant say she often seemed groggy after attending a church day care where some workers are accused of giving children an over-the-counter dietary supplement at nap time, their attorney said Wednesday."

Does your church screen its child care workers? Could a camera system have helped prevent this happening?

In the words of Lon Solomon…”Not a sermon, just a thought…”

Friday, December 18

Friday Security Fun!!

It’s time to take a brake from all of this serious stuff and watch a quick video from our friends at the Christian Security Institute…

Thursday, December 17

Thief destroys Church Air Conditioners

Thief destroys church air conditioners for copper pipes

When someone is in need of money they will be willing to do almost anything to get it. This story brings a whole new prospective to securing your facility. I understand that churches can’t lock up their heating and air conditioning units; however, there may be some things you can do to make it less appealing to the bandit. Consider building a fence around your units. This helps for visual esthetics as well as security. If you have a fence then put a lock on the door and use it. Camera’s can be installed to monitor this area as a deterrent. HVAC units are common targets for other type of terrorist related crimes as well (feel free to email me for more information on this). It is good overall practice to secure the air intakes to your facility.

Wednesday, December 16

Cops Hunt Church Burglar

Nassau police are searching for the suspect who stole money from a Massapequa church on Sunday afternoon.

Is your church collecting money for the poor this holiday season? How are you protecting the money? Is it placed in a location that is easy for someone to grab and run? Taking a little time to consider how you are protecting this money may help your church congregation provide for a family in need this Christmas season. Don’t assume that since the money is for the poor that no one will think about stealing it. Poor is a relative term and unfortunately some people look at their own circumstances and will take things into their own hands.

Tuesday, December 15

Church Increases Security After Attack

Click for Article: 

Mueller made the 911 call herself before passing out the day of the attack. She'd been stabbed twice in the chest and once in the abdomen by a man asking for gas money. After the attack they installed self-locking doors and security cameras on nearly every entrance to the church.

It is normal for people to react to a tragic incident after it has occurred. They feel the effect of the tragedy and are willing to invest time and money into making the necessary changes to prevent it from reoccurring. Church’s need to learn from the tragedy of others and not wait till it strikes their local congregation.

Monday, December 14

Armed Vigilantes and Church Security

Richard Hammer, Editor of Church Law Today ( ), gives helpful insight in considering the use of off duty police officers for church security compared to private citizens who have been issued a concealed weapons permit (CWP).

I agree with fellow readers that I would not have used the word "Vigilantes" to describe non law enforcement citizens carrying weapons. If Police Officers are not available then using well trained private citizens may be your best and only option. This video is simply a prospective and is not consider my opinion in all cases.

Sunday, December 13

Liability and Church Security

The below question was asked by a by a children ministry worker from an Assemblies of God church. The answer is given by Richard Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, and legal counsel to The General Council of the Assemblies of God. I found his point applicable to many churches that sublet their building to other churches.

Liability and Church Security

Question: Please help me understand security in my church. As Children’s Ministry Coordinator, I am concerned about unsupervised children in the church. We have a sister church that meets here, and their children are left unsupervised during many events throughout the week. My concern is that the church has many entrances and many areas where a child could be taken quickly. I have tried to get people to understand the importance of adult supervision for these children who roam the church. Do you have any guidelines that could be used concerning this matter?

Answer: The bottom line is that the risk created by your sister congregation’s complete lack of supervision is not limited to that congregation. It extends to your church as well, since you are the property owner. In other words, if a child is abducted, molested, or in any other manner hurt or killed, I can assure you that your church will be named as a defendant if a lawsuit is filed. You need to be satisfied with the level of risk management being exercised by the congregation and also with the amount of insurance coverage that it has obtained. Let me emphasize that adequate insurance is NOT a substitute for risk management. The fact that the congregation has adequate coverage (and I suspect it does not) does not mean that it can continue to completely abdicate its legal duty of providing reasonable supervision. If the congregation cannot provide you with adequate assurance that it is practicing appropriate risk management, then I would not hesitate to terminate its access to your premises at the earliest opportunity consistent with any legal documents you have signed.

Saturday, December 12

Church Security - Baptist Press

In 1999 the Baptist press ran a story on Church Security. It is interesting that after a decade we are still struggling to advance the same message.

The article address three main topics:

Have adequate lighting, both inside and outside.
"Lighting is the No. 1 deterrent to criminal activity," he said.

Have access control.
"We have been into many churches that leave their doors open and allow people to roam the halls at any hour. This is a disaster waiting to happen," he said. "Yes, the church should be open to anyone, and the church is here to minister to everyone. However, just as you wouldn't put a wolf in your child's bedroom and walk away, we must also take the same precautions toward access of God's precious house."

Screen employees and volunteers.

Friday, December 11

Church Emergency - Global Rescue

Does your church send missionaries out into the field? It could be a youth group going to serve an orphanage or long term missionaries abroad. What happens if you get sick or seriously injured while in a remote part of the world. God calls us to reach out to all nations. This includes those nations that the State Department would consider safe and the nations that are not.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Mathew 28:19 ESV

There are several companies that will offer services to assist you in both a medical emergencies and a security crisis. Thousands of American’s have been caught in countries over the years when civil war has unexpectedly broken out. You can not always rely on the government for quick action. The fees that many of these companies charge are surprisingly low. It worth looking into the next time you travel abroad. I am not endorsing any one company; however, I have included a link to one of the common corporations being used.

Global Rescue

Thursday, December 10

Church Fire

The holidays are approaching fast. This is a quick reminder to remember fire safety at your church. Do not leave open flames burning unattended. Make sure that you have plenty of fire extinguishers available and that all employees are trained in their use.,0,2983534.story

Church fire in Ohio accidental, started near unattended advent wreath with burning candles

Fire Safety Tools Reminders:

Wednesday, December 9

Should Churches Have Armed Security Guards?

Has your church decided to move forward with starting a security team? Each and every church is different and has seperate needs. I would safely say that they all need some form of security. This could simply be a church member considering the topics we are discussing or it could be a fully staffed armed police force. Understanding that each situation is unique, there are four main options to choose from.

You can use Local Law Enforcement
You can use Contract Security Company
You can use Church Run Security Force
Or you can use a Combination of the Three

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company offers this advice when considering armed security at your facility.

Team composition—Will you use volunteers or hire professional security guards? How many members will you need? How will you screen them?

Risk to Others—What is the likelihood of your security team members being overpowered by an attacker or shooting someone other than the intended target? Could they be accused of using excessive force? How will they be supervised?

Training—How much formal weapons training have security team members received? Are they licensed to carry a weapon in your state? Has their experience included training in resolving conflict with people without using weapons?

Vocation—Are security personnel current or former law enforcement agents? How often do they undergo weapons training?

Before concluding that your church needs armed security guards, do some overall planning in conjunction with local police, your insurance agent, and your attorney. All can give you valuable advice.

Tuesday, December 8

Mark Driscoll on Church Security

After the shooting of Pastor Fred Winters at the First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois, (March 8th, 2009) Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor at Mars Hill Church, commented on 5 important topics to consider in reference to Church Security.

1. Does your church have a series of written, known, and practiced emergency plans?

2. How secure is your children’s ministry?

3. Does your church have security?

4. Does your church have a warm relationship with the local police?

5. Does your church have a policy for potentially dangerous people?

Click on the Below Article and Read Driscoll’s Response…

Monday, December 7

Church Security Directory

The Church Security Institute is a new not for profit website designed to help churches and organizations link to professionals in the Church Security industry. The site is a work in progress; however, it is a great resource for those seeking information on Church Safety and Security.

Sunday, December 6

Church Shooting - Houston

HOUSTON - Those weren't church bells ringing at the Market Street Baptist Church in Northeast Houston Saturday morning. It was gunfire ringing out just before 10 a.m.

What is the emotional trigger that causes a person to commit a crime? Specifically, what would have to happen to cause you or someone you know to be willing to take a person hostage and eventually take your own life? I hope that you are never able to come up with an answer to these questions. For me I pray that I am always able to look towards the Lord for strength even in times of trial.

1st Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Unfortunately crimes like this are becoming all too common in our churches across this country. A common trigger that most law enforcement officers would contribute to this action would be directly related to domestic problems within the home. To compound the problem issues tend to surface more during the holidays.

It is important to try to notice signs of aggression prior to a person committing them. Pastors should take this issue seriously and look at how their church counseling programs are being run.

Saturday, December 5

How big is the Threat?

Why is this topic so important? Are churches really that large of a target?

Q: How many religious congregations are there in the United States?

A: There is no official directory for all the congregations in the county, so sociologists of religion have to rely on statistical estimates extrapolated from surveys. These are often disputed, and to complicate matters, thousands of new churches open each year, while thousands of others close. Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. Of those, about 300,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 22,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.

Friday, December 4

Beefed-Up Security Is a Mixed Blessing

For Churches, Beefed-Up Security Is a Mixed Blessing

"Conservative Christian outlet OneNewsNow polled 4,000 churches and found that three-quarters had no security plan"

Does your church have a security plan, or are you like the thousands of churches across America who has never even considered the topic? You do not need to have armed guards or police officers to know what you are going to do in the event of an emergency.

Thursday, December 3

Two men shot at Church Dance

Two men shot and injured outside Ontario church dance

Posted using ShareThis

Each week continues to surprise me as I research this topic of Church Safety and Security. Two men were shot outside of a church dance in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to concentrate on events within the United States; however, this story caught my interest and I thought that it may do the same for you.

Wednesday, December 2

Carbon Monoxide Strikes Again!

Click Link to read  >,0,1309785.story

DES MOINES, Iowa - "Police say more than 30 children and teenagers were taken to hospitals after being sickened by carbon monoxide during a church choir rehearsal in Iowa."

The below link will take you back to a blog post that I wrote at the beginning of November. This article talks about carbon monoxide and gives suggestions on how to protect against it.

Tuesday, December 1

Car Break-In, Shots Fired!

Click Link for Article:,0,1441981.story 

Church parking lots are easy target for those who have an itch for grand theft auto. Just think about it. The bad guys know what time church starts and what time church ends. Unlike a shopping mall with people coming and going as they choose, churches provide an open window of opportunity for those seeking to commit a crime.

What is your church doing to protect itself against thefts in your parking lot? Do you have a parking team that watches over the property during the service? Does your security team do rounds of the parking lot periodically? Even if you are a smaller church with limited resources, you can still assign someone to randomly look at the parking lot two or three times during your meeting. Another benefit is that this keeps down the amount of random advertisements that people tend to place on your car window. Prior to my church monitoring the parking lot many years ago, when would regularly be visited by aggressive advertisers who wanted to take advantage of all the cars parked in the lot. This only led to unwanted flyers and a lot of trash blowing all over our property.