Friday, January 20

Choir Robbed at Gun Point at Church!

From: The Post and Courier

{As the strains of "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" filled the sanctuary, a man with a long gun interrupted choir practice Wednesday in a Goose Creek church and made off with purses, wallets and cell phones.

"He yelled, 'Get on the floor! Get on the floor!' the whole time he was coming down the aisle of the church," said one of the nine robbery victims, 77-year-old Dorothy Causey, on Thursday.}

Click For Full Article

Tuesday, January 17

Church Worker Robbed at Knifepoint - Texas

From: KXAN News

{FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) - Fredericksburg police are looking for a robbery suspect whom they say pulled a knife on a church worker and demanded money...

The worker at the church, who asked not to be identified for safety purposes, said she came into work and was sitting at a desk when the door chime sounded, indicating someone had entered the building.

When the worker turned around, a man was standing there.}


My Thoughts: Story is a good example of needing a panic button at your reception desk!

Monday, January 16

"Think About it" - After

Reposted with permission from www.carlchinn.com



"After" 
Some trauma can be disturbing enough to cause one to remember life before, compared to life after -- “it”.
A deadly force incident in a church is painful enough to do that. We don’t expect to see blood, hear gunshots, smell smoke or feel the concussion of explosion in a house of worship. Our church is our sanctuary. When evil invades it, that day marks the separation of life before and after for those who were there.
If anyone is still living who was there in 1916 at the Mt. Tabor Church revival in Decatur, IL when Edgar Willis was shot by Henry Sharp, the sounds of gunfire are still fresh in their minds. The wounded survivors from the horrific 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that left four innocent little girls dead will never forget it. The angry darkness of smoke replaced the bright futures of 11-year-old Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. One of those little girls was decapitated by the blast lit by wretched hatred.
And the entire town of Daingerfield Texas changed on Sunday morning June 22nd, 1980, when Alvin Lee King invaded the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church. An atmosphere of worship was shattered when he yelled “This is War!” and began randomly shooting into the congregation. Dressed in an Army helmet and 2 flak jackets he had an AR-15, and an M1 carbine (both with fixed bayonets), two handguns and plenty of ammo in a bag he carried around his shoulders. Before being stopped by men who carry the scars today (or are counted among those killed), he slew 5 people ranging in ages from 7-year-old Gina Linam up to 78-year-old Thelma Richardson. His surprise attack left Daingerfield residents asking not only why -- but how.
An 80-minute documentary is coming out soon regarding that incident. Take a moment to view the trailer at Healing a Broken Heart It will bring you face to face with the reality of evil, but more importantly will renew your faith by understanding the significance of redemption and forgiveness. My friend, Texas Police Officer Jimmy Meeks, (who was married in that church before the shooting)keeps a web-page dedicated to the Daingerfield Shooting.
Think About It…
  • Plan to watch the documentary when it comes out, as a group activity with your team. The lessons learned go beyond the smoke and blood, carrying through more than 30 years of after-action relationships.
  • The perspectives we take away from such an event can change our lives and others. Will we let it destroy us or make us better? The choice really is ours. As David Works (see next bullet) says on his website, “When tragedy strikes, will you be left standing”?
  • David and Marie Works lost two innocent girls in the church shooting at New Life Church. Their response is a model for all. Not only did they meet with, embrace and forgive the good family the shooter came from, but they wrote a book of encouragement I strongly recommend: Gone in a Heartbeat -- Our Daughters Died...Our Faith Endures
  • In 1981 John Walsh was a Hotel Manager. His response to the horrific abduction and murder of his 6-year-old son that year, led him into a lifetime of well-known crime fighting from the civilian side that has international acclaim. His America's Most Wanted program is now responsible for 1,168 criminal captures world-wide. Though it didn’t have anything to do with a faith-based incident, Mr. Walsh’s response is a model for those who have come through any such trauma.
  • As Faith-based security professionals we try hard to never let anything like that occur at our place on our watch. But if it does, we still play an important role in managing the incident. We can’t promise security, but we can promise to be there and to be ready to protect and serve.
  • A criminal never thinks his act clear through. If he did, he wouldn’t do it. As mature men and women of faith, we must think things all the way through. No matter what happens, there will be an “after”. Handle it with care.

Saturday, January 14

Church Sign - Beyonce Had Her Baby


From: The Pilot

{Even a small Baptist church on a country road in Moore County can be a victim of the viral Internet.

A photo purporting to show Beulah Hill Baptist Church’s sign on the entertainment website TMZ sparked a flood of calls.

In the picture — beneath Pastor Curtis Barbery’s name and times for Sunday School and worship services — it looks as if somebody put up one of the messages frequently used on such signs. It capitalized on wide interest in the birth of singer Beyonce Knowles’ and rapper Jay-Z’s baby.

“Beyonce Had Her Baby, Satan Is on Earth,” it proclaimed in capital letters.}

Click For Full Article


Photo from TMZ... (Internet Scam)

Photo from The Pilot (Real Sign)

My Thoughts: Church security is needed in all types and forms. It seems that someone took a random picture from the internet and added a little photoshop. The picture went viral on the internet and the church was left with the aftermath. What would your congregation do if this happened to you?

Friday, January 13

Case Closed - Police Solve Stafford VA Church Thefts

From: Stafford Country Sun

{STAFFORD — A 24-year-old man has been arrested for thefts that occurred recently at three Stafford County churches.

Bryan Christopher Stevens, of no fixed address, was charged with three counts of breaking and entering, three counts of grand larceny, obstruction of justice, unlawful entry and theft of services, the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.}

Church Institutes New Rules After Volunteer Arrested - Child Molestation

From: The Arizona Republic

{A few hundred concerned parents gathered Wednesday night after a Valley church youth volunteer was arrested on suspicion of child molestation.

The meeting at Highlands Church in Scottsdale was a way for parents to get details about the accusations directly from the detectives working on the case as well as to ask questions...

Now all volunteers - even parents - will be the subject of background checks. Previously, the church conducted checks only on volunteers who worked with children younger than sixth grade.}

Click For Full Article


My Thoughts: As you read this article you will notice that the volunteer did not have a prior record. This means that the background check would not have produced a result. Regardless of this, I think that the church is making a good decision to change their policy. 

12-year-old Boy Dies From Fight At Church

From: NewsOK by The Oklahoman Replica

{CORDELL — A 12-year-old boy is dead after getting in a fight at a church on Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reported.

Lane B. Madison died after the fight at First Baptist Church of Cordell... Madison had been in an altercation with a 13-year-old boy after a youth service}

Click For Full Article


Thursday, January 12

2012 Church Security Conference - NOCSSM


Church Security Conference
May 11-12, 2012
Carrollton, TX
Hosted by: Covenant Church

(From NOCSSM)
Fellow Members and Supporters, 

Each year we try to bring you a church security conference that is worth traveling to.
    • You want to hear and see the latest developments and strategies that will make your church more secure.
    • You want to bring back intelligence that will better equip you to deal with the issues we deal with on a weekly basis.
    • You want the tools to make you more effective and given the upper hand against those that would victimized the church and its people. 
    • You want to feel revitalized in your battle against evil.

Well, here it is! The 2012 "Called 2 Duty" Church Security Conference.

Don't miss your church's chance to attend this groundbreaking event. 

The early-bird discounts end March 15, 2011. Reserve now!

President and Founder,
Chuck Chadwick
NOCSSM

Theft During Church Service

From: WGRZ News

{BUFFALO, NY--Buffalo Police are looking for a suspect wanted for taking a wallet during a church service...

Officers say a woman had her wallet taken from her purse while the purse was on a church pew.}

Click For Full Story

My Thoughts: This is not the first story that we have seen related to wallets or purses being stolen from churches. I have a personal story that related to this occurring. A little over 10 years ago my brother got married. During the wedding all of the bridal party left their purses in a room that was being used to get ready for the ceremony. During the ceremony all of their purses had the money and credit cards stolen from them. 

As Carl Chinn would say... "Think About It"

Everyone at the church was preoccupied with the ceremony. The culprit knew that they had a open window to commit the crime. The bridal party would be pre-occupied till the ceremony was concluded. It was the "perfect crime".

The Sunday service is very similar. The culprit knows when the service is starting and when it ends. People tend to think that church is safe and will leave their belongings on a chair or in a pew while they walk out and visit friends or go to the restroom. 

Recommendations: Make it a regular practice to remind your congregation to not leave their belongings unattended. Train your ushers and staff to be on the lookout for this type of behavior. They can often remind people to bring their valuables with them and prevent a crime from occurring. Video surveillance is also a great option to help identify the culprit after a crime has occurred. You want to be sure that the "wolf" is not continuing to live within your congregation! 


Wednesday, January 11

Double Shooting at Texas Church - Murder/Suicide

Breaking News! Two Dead in double shooting at Catholic Church in Texas!

From: KSAT News

{Helotes, Texas - Helotes police say the double shooting at a Catholic church there was a murder/suicide.

The shooting occurred just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church off Riggs Road and Highway 16.

Helotes police Lt. Elliot Rodriguez said police received a call for shots fired at the church and when they responded, they found the front door locked and they could see two bodies inside.}



Update on Missing Gaithersburg Girl

Unfortunately, I do not have details to the story; however, I was notified today that Alyona Joy Mayo has been found and is reunited with her family.

Special Thanks to all who passed on the information!





Tuesday, January 10

New Endorsement - Dr. John Kim Cook

I recently received the below endorsement from Dr. John Kim Cook. Thanks for supporting this website!!

Dr. John Kim Cook
-Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush

"Brian Gallagher is the consummate security professional with not only a broad knowledge base but an eternal perspective. Whether the topic is emergency preparedness, physical or cyber security, counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, threat assessments, or securing houses of worship, Brian has developed an unique awareness and understanding of the security challenges facing our faith-based institutions during the 21st Century. He is able to evaluate security threats and tell the truth in an honest yet gentle manner. Brian is armed with strong federal expertise in law enforcement, keen spiritual insights, and impeccable character."



Dr. John Kim Cook Biography

A government and private sector consultant with recent experience as a senior-level government executive, Dr. John Kim Cook is an accomplished, skilled, visionary leader with a demonstrated ability to develop sound policy and quality programs. He has more than ten years of experience in state and federal government, a decade in higher education administration, and a wide range of expertise in homeland security, emergency management, civil rights and civil liberties, education, labor, human services, disability and faith-based initiatives. Dr. Cook is highly regarded as an approachable yet persuasive, resourceful problem solver with excellent presentation skills and strategic public and private sector relationships. Dr. Cook is currently President and CEO of Cook Strategies LLC, a Washington, DC area consulting firm specializing in winning homeland security and emergency management business development strategies, program management, government relations, training, and technical writing as well as policy issues such as civil rights and civil liberties, disability and human services.

Previous to his consulting role, Dr. Cook served for eight years as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration, serving most recently as Director of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI). He was also simultaneously designated by President George W. Bush as FEMA’s Small State and Rural Advocate. DHS CFBCI was established in 2006 to improve outreach and policy coordination for DHS and FEMA’s disaster preparedness and relief efforts, and to eliminate regulatory and programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and community organizations in all DHS security and disaster-related activities. In this role, Dr. Cook planned and hosted a number of regional emergency preparedness workshops nationwide for more than 1,500 faith-based and community organizations and state and local emergency management officials in key urban areas to highlight effective practices among non-profit organizations, government funding opportunities, collaboration tools and other resources available before, during and following disasters.

Prior to his appointment at DHS CFBCI, Dr. Cook served as Senior Advisor to the DHS Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. There he developed and coordinated department-wide training programs for law enforcement officers and other DHS personnel on civil rights and civil liberties issues such as equal employment opportunity, detention standards for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, racial profiling, cultural competencies and Constitution Day. Earlier in the Bush Administration, Dr. Cook also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and Senior Intergovernmental Officer at the Department of Labor as well as Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.

In his native state of Texas, Dr. Cook was appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush to be Austin Director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations. He also served for more than a decade in higher education administration, spent a number of years in radio broadcasting, and worked for two members of the Texas House of Representatives.

Dr. Cook holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration and public policy from Texas A&M University, a Master’s in education administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Baylor University. Active in his community, Dr. Cook is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors for the National Disaster Interfaiths Network, a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Church Safety and Risk Management, and chair of the Eye of the Storm Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Relief Team at McLean Bible Church in Vienna, VA. He resides with his wife and two young sons in Northern Virginia.

Monday, January 9

Metal Thefts at Church: "Think About It" by Carl Chinn

Reposted with permission from www.carlchinn.com



Metal Thefts at Church
We’ve all heard the stories of copper theft. While copper isn’t the only valuable non-ferrous metal, it is that of the most abundance and a current cash cow.
Copper as a trading commodity, is now bouncing around $3.40 / pound. Any time it is that high, copper prices go high in the scrapyards as well. Metal scrapyards (though watched carefully by law enforcement in most metro areas) are the pawn shop supply of metal thieves. Whether they are bringing batteries, copper, lead, brass, aluminum or stainless steel there is a scale waiting to calculate their payoff in green cash.
I have seen myself where brass hydrants were jerked out of an exterior wall by a chain hooked to a vehicle. I have seen rooftop air-handling equipment as big as the box on a moving truck completely stripped of all precious metals. Many hits around us are to churches.
In the Memphis area, copper thieves have hit six churches and a cemetery in recent weeks. Most of these were the common stripping (and thereby ruining) air conditioning units, but they also went under the crawlspace of a building and took all the copper piping.
An Edmond Oklahoma church hit recently calculated that the $240.00 worth of copper stripped from their three AC units came with a $9,000 repair bill for the church.
At one of the churches hit in the Brooksville Florida area the damage to 5 air-conditioning units is estimated at $100,000.00.
Every single day right now, I read about similar thefts form churches around the country.
Think About It…
  • Thieves still view churches as soft targets. In many cases of smaller churches, they know the building is unoccupied much of the time. Even in large churches, it is easy to see what days of the week or times of the night there is nobody around.
  • Your local security systems suppliers can install automated and / or local sounding alarms to go off should the panels be removed from AC units. This is a great deterrent.
  • Lighting is often a low priority in mechanical areas. Low light attracts thieves.
  • Like graffiti, metal damage should be taken care of quickly. If they steal a little bit and notice weeks have gone by without anyone seeming to care, it attracts the thieves to consider bigger targets at the site.
  • Report all metal thefts. There is a regrettable tendency in churches to not report crimes – especially if they are less than the insurance deductibles. Report all crime.
  • Outside security patrols should have it in their regular routine to check exterior equipment. A panel pried up can be an indication that someone has checked the copper content of a piece of equipment and is ready to come back and complete the project when they can get a vehicle (or whatever reason they may be waiting on). Such minor damage should be treated with high suspicion.

Sunday, January 8

Police Search for Critical Missing Gaithersburg Woman

NOTE: The below story is about a girl from my church who went missing this weekend. Last May we posted a similar story about a Boy who went missing from a sister Church in Washington, DC. That story ended with good news and we hope and pray that this one will too. 

From: WTOP NEWS

{WASHINGTON - Police are searching for a critical missing adult from Gaithersburg who has not been seen since Saturday.

Montgomery County Police say Alyona Joy Mayo, 19, left her home in the 7400 block of Rosewood Manner Lane around 12:50 p.m. Saturday to walk to the Goshen Plaza Shopping Center.

Mayo did not return home and has not made contact with family members.

Police say the missing woman functions at the level of an 11 year old.

Mayo was last seen wearing a pink hooded jacket, blue jeans and brown shoes.

She is described as a white female, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.

Police say there is no evidence of foul play, but it is unusual for Mayo not to be in contact with her family or return home.

Anyone with information about Mayo should call the 6th District or the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.}

Photo: Montgomery County Police / WTOP

Sexual Predator Training Helps Catch Priest

From: Reuters

{A Catholic priest already charged in state court with possessing thousands of pornographic images of young boys is due in a Pittsburgh courtroom on Friday on new federal charges, authorities said...

A parish employee who had undergone training to identify sexual predators allegedly saw Sorensen viewing child pornography on his computer and called the church child abuse hotline.}


My Thoughts: What caught my attention in this article was the part about the parish employee who had received training to identify sexual predators. I think this is a very important point that so many churches overlook. Sexual sin and sexual abuse is a concern that is plaguing our churches and places of worship. Take the time to give your church membership and leadership the proper protection it needs. 

A second item of interest in this article was the fact that this was the second set of charges that this priest was receiving for child pornography. A good learning point is to insure that your church leadership is included in your screening when doing background checks. It is a good habit to re-screen everyone every couple of years. 

Saturday, January 7

Church Crime Spree - Tampa Bay

From: Tampa Bay Times

{SPRING HILL — Just a week into the new year, Hernando County is already facing a crime spree — and some of the area's most benevolent organizations are the victims.

Thieves have stolen copper tubing from well more than 20 air-conditioning units, and among their targets, the criminals have raided three churches and a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.}

Click for Full Article

My Thoughts: If have you been following this website for even a short period of time you will notice that crimes like this are common occurrences for churches across the country. Criminals can make quick cash from construction material used in items like air conditioners, heaters, electrical wiring and alike. A well lit exterior and security cameras are your best protection against this type of crime. 

Thursday, January 5

Local Congregations and Background Checks

One of the hot topics on the website from 2011 has been background checks. One of the main reasons for this has been my belief on how important they are. I feel that they sever as both a deterrent and an accountability system for screening workers that will be around our children and working with our money. I found the below list today from the Dioceses of Texas. I thought that it served as a good check list when thinking about who should be checked. This is not an exhaustive list, but a good starting point...


Local congregations must do the checks for: 


1. All paid employees (full- and part-time) 

2. All nursery workers (paid or volunteer) 

3. Volunteers who regularly supervise youth activities 

4. Any volunteer who supervises an overnight youth event 

5. Camp counselors

6. Persons having financial responsibility, i.e., posting to ledgers, writing/signing checks are also required to have a credit check. (Requires Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Disclosure and Release Form)

7. Persons transporting children will be required to have a driving records check.

NOTICE: All Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teachers, leaders, and directors will need to have background checks and Safeguarding God’s Children training.

Click for Background Check Information sponsored by securityatchurch.com 

Monday, January 2

Carl Chinn's Christmas Addition of Think About It"

Reposted with Permission from www.carlchinn.com


Christmas Terrorism

While the focus of this website remains on U.S. faith-based organizations, I occasionally look up and consider ministry violence going on around the world. Unfortunately there is more to consider during the Christmas season each year.
Every professional I’ve spoken with in our industry agrees that what we see in the global theater is a glimpse into the future of incidents on U. S. soil to some degree. As unrealistic as it would be to conclude America would see the same frequency of Christianity focused terrorism as in under-developed regions, it would be na├»ve – even reckless -- to dismiss such events as entirely irrelevant to home soil considerations.
As quoted before on this website, the bipartisan 9/11 commission issued the following statement regarding a very real and determined radical enemy we should not too quickly forget or too lightly consider;
“We learned about an enemy who is sophisticated, patient, disciplined and lethal…its hostility toward us and our values is limitless. Its purpose is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite and equal rights for women”[i].
While politically incorrect to tag that enemy what it is – radical Islam – that is the right label. With that in mind, look at what happened recently in Nigeria.
Concerns about anti-Christian attacks were expressed by many in Iraq, Pakistan and other volatile regions in the days leading up to Christmas, 2011. But on Christmas day, it was Nigeria where the worst violence erupted.
Coordinated attacks by the Islamic Extremist sect -- Boko Haram -- occurred in the Nigerian settlements of Jos, Madalla, Kano, Gadaka and the Yobe State Headquarters in Damaturu. The months leading up to these attacks were full of violence from the Boko Haram that left Christian churches and other targets burning across Nigeria, and a death toll climbing exponentially.
At one of the Christmas day attacks -- St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla (near Abuja) -- the death toll is reported as 37, with another 57 wounded in various stages of seriousness. At this site, the only known surviving security operative reported that the suicide bomber drove a late model, clean looking Toyota Camry into the crowd of congregants as they came out of the church after services. The vehicle bomb detonated upon contacting people.
There was little time for anyone to do anything but die.
Think About It…
  • The man recognized as the only surviving security person at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church indicated the suicide bomber had his un-tinted windows rolled up and may have been saying his “last prayers” or “incantations” as he accelerated towards the crowd resisting efforts of all police and security persons (most of whom perished when the car exploded) trying to stop him.
  • How would your outside team deal with a person acting anything like the driver of the Toyota Camry at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Nigeria?
  • An explosion deadly enough to have killed as many people as it did, would likely have weighted the car down noticeably. Are your security people trained on what to look for?
  • Boko Haram is loosely translated as “Western education is sacrilege” or “Western learning is forbidden” or “Western education is outlawed” or “Western education is sinful” depending on how the Hausa dialect of the Chadic language is converted. I think we all get the message of their mission.
  • Does anyone doubt that such violence around the world is not indicative of radical anti-Christian plans for U.S. based churches?


[i] The 9/11 Commission Report, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Official Government Edition.

Sunday, January 1

Welcome to 2012!

Wow, I can hardly believe that it is 2012!!


Now that the holiday's are over and most of use are getting back into the swing of things keep a lookout for new posts at securityatchurch.com. 


Sorry that things were quite in December. I had an unusual amount of travel that kept me away from updating this website. 


If you have any new ideas for 2012, please send them my way.


Happy New Year!