Friday, October 7

How to Conduct a Basic Church Security Survey

From: The Baptist Standard

{While you can depend on the police to assist you with risk assessment and crime prevention advice, you should understand the police will investigate your crime after it has occurred and rarely are able to prevent church crimes. At a church shooting in Illinois, police responded in 90 seconds, but there already were seven dead worshippers and 11 more injured. In Securing Houses of Worship: A Community Service ManuaI
, Philip Purpura wrote: "The police response is primarily reactive, and departments are under great pressure to solve crimes. As a result, the proactive efforts that would reduce risks at houses of worship are rarely in place."}

From Article: Quarles lists basic crime-prevention advice for churches:

• Stop denying the threat. "Churches are not safe havens. Criminals hold almost nothing sacred."

• Seek God's guidance. "We need wisdom beyond ourselves and a recognition of the evil in our society."

• Form a security committee. Quarles suggests a group representative of the specific congregation's ministries and age groups, with both men and women included.

• Assess the risks. Talk to law enforcement officials to find out if other churches have been targeted.

• Use discretion. Security cameras, alarm systems and security personnel are provided by for-profit companies. "Always remember that private companies offer a service or a product. So, sometimes their assessments are biased in favor of a profit."

• Spend if necessary. If security does demand a financial investment, keep in mind the church's vulnerability if risks are not addressed. A security system may be much less expensive than a lawsuit.

• Empower greeters as guardians. A church member stationed at each entrance who welcomes every person who enters the church facility is an effective crime deterrent.

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