It is an unfortunate reality that many places deemed as safe havens have become targets for terrorist activity. Arenas, festival grounds and even places of worship have experienced their fair share of violence in recent years. Churches, synagogues and mosques have all been sites of terrorist acts perpetrated by people with differing views, mental illness or a grudge against a group or institution.
Whatever the reason for the violence, places of worship must remain vigilant to protect their congregations and properties. Communities of faith are no longer safe from these types of threats and must put systems in place to prevent these atrocious acts from occurring in the first place.
There are many factors that make securing a place of worship a challenge. Religious facilities at their core are open to all who want to worship there. Often, members of the congregation may change from week to week making it difficult to track who is there to worship, and who is there to cause trouble. Because places of worship are often busy at very specific times, they can become easy targets for those who wish to wreak havoc.
How to Secure Religious Facilities
Church leaders have a big task on their hands when it comes to security. Many religious leaders have sought the help of professional security companies to assist them in implementing processes and procedures to protect their congregations, their financial resources and their sacred artifacts.
There are a variety of measures that places of worship can take to protect people and property without intruding upon the experience of their congregants. Strong security protocols can be put in place that provide exceptional protection while remaining unobservable to those there to worship. If you are the leader of a place of worship, read on for an overview of security recommendations and information on how security guards can protect your facility.
Security Recommendations for Places of Worship
The security needs of every congregation will vary depending on their size, location and resources. In general, the following suggestions apply to any place of worship who is looking to establish the foundation of a strong security plan.
Assess your specific threats.
As we mentioned, every facility is unique and will have different needs and threats. On your own, or with the help of a professional, perform a thorough assessment of your property to identify current vulnerabilities and potential risk factors. Evaluate external areas such as parking lots, auxiliary buildings and playgrounds and internal areas including all offices, the basement, attic and the primary worship locations. The assessment should include lighting, doors, windows, fire hazards and other areas of potential risk.
Implement access control systems.
One of the most effective ways to prevent terrorist behavior inside a place of worship is to manage access to the premises. Access control can look different from location to location and can take on varying degrees of intrusion to normal operations. In some cases, it can include establishing a welcome committee who greets all guests and identifies any suspicious behavior. It can also include reducing the number of entry points, requiring congregants to sign in or more advanced measures such as metal detectors.
Make security a priority.
Take a proactive role in the security of your property. Demonstrate to your congregants that security is important by hosting meetings, sharing security information and making security a frequent topic of conversation. Establish and document security plans and make them available to everyone in leadership roles and among the congregation.
How Security Guards Can Help Protect Your Place of Worship
For many religious leaders, developing security protocols to protect a large group of people is not an area of expertise. Professional security guard companies can be a fantastic resource for religious groups who are looking to establish strong security protocols. One of the most effective means of deterring threats is having highly trained security guards on the premises. Reliable, efficient uniformed or plainclothes security guards can provide a number of key benefits for places of worship and ensure the safety of people and property.
Qualified security guards can:
- Be visible deterrents to crime.
- Provide peace of mind to congregants and leaders.
- Manage access to the property.
- Perform mobile patrols of the grounds.
- Communicate with law enforcement during and after an incident.
Off Duty Officers - Security Guard Services for Places of Worship
Off Duty Officers has been providing professional security guard services for businesses and organizations across the country for over 25 years. If you are a religious leader who is concerned about the security of your congregation, contact the security experts at Off Duty Officers today. Our team is happy to discuss how you can better protect your people and property from threats at your religious facility.
When you need security personnel who aim higher
Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.
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