Sunday, July 31

Excuse Me, Is That Your Bag?

In the Washington, DC area the Metro train system has been running a campaign to heighten riders awareness of unattended and suspicious packages and bags. The theory behind the campaign is that if riders can encourage other riders to not leave their belongings behind then the amount of unattended packages would be decreased. 

The phrase "escuse me, is that your bag?" has been the theme of the campaign. I think the point of this campaign should be transferred to our places of worship. How often do you go into your church and see someone just drop a bag on a seat and walk away. I see two problems with people doing this that I would like to expand on. 

First, this creates an atmosphere for theft to occur within our facilities. Criminals know that this type of activity takes place at churches. In general people tend to have a false sense of security while attending places of worship. Criminals will exploit that false sense of security and use it as an opportunity to steal from those who have positioned themselves in a vulnerable spot. 

The second problem that I see with this is related to the potential threat of a hazardous device being left behind in the unattended bag. Those of you who are not in the law enforcement, military or security industry may read this and think that the threat is not real. I would argue that the exact opposite is true. Places of Worship serve as a target for multiple different types of crimes. Both domestic and international terrorism are both threats that should be considered within our congregations. Some churches pose a threat simply based on their size, while others may be focused on because of the content of what is being taught from the facility. 

I will expand on this more in other posts; however, I wanted to get you to start thinking about how your church handles unattended bags in their facility. Is this even a topic that you have thought about? Should your church take a more public approach to encourage goers to not leave their belongings behind?

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