Security Guards Are Not Just for Celebrities

Security Guards Are Not Just for Celebrities

How To Deal With The Growing Threat Of Violence At Church

by Deann Collins

In 2015, a shooter went on a rampage inside a Charleston, South Carolina church and left 9 dead parishioners behind. That same year, in Alabama, a gunman was wrestled to the ground and disarmed, but not before several people were shot. In February 2016, a man shot and killed the pastor at a church in Dayton, Ohio. Incidents like these are raising awareness that churches and other places of worship are vulnerable to attack by angry loners who have personal grudges with the targeted victims, and people who have ideological disputes that they feel are best addressed with violence. Statistics indicate that about  10% of all mass shootings take place at churches or on church property. If you're in charge of a place of worship for your community, it's time to take a fresh look at security. This is what you should do.

1.) Accept that it is happening.

It's understandable if you don't want to take away from the services at the church in order to instruct your staff and parishioners on safety concerns. However, you need to accept that the danger of violence at the church is real. The church leaders, assistants, and congregants all need to be aware that there are concerns and conscious of the sort of violence that's happening. 

Hold security seminars after the regular church services and in the evenings to discuss the growing issue of violence in churches. Awareness and open, honest discussion of the problem is necessary in order to make changes.

2.) Make physical changes.

Modern security is very much about stopping problems before they start, whenever possible. To that end, your church needs locks on the doors and on the windows. You also need to take other steps to visibly increase the security presence of the building, which may discourage someone who simply thinks of a church as an easy target for violence:

  • There should be a security guard in the parking lot during worship services. If your church can't afford that, ask for volunteers from the congregation to handle the duty.
  • Security cameras with closed-circuit television monitoring should be used during active services. One study indicated that they cut crime by 51% in parking lots.
  • You should have security cameras installed over main entrances and outside the minister's office.
  • Lights with motion sensors should be installed and used at night to prevent a break-in.

3.) Have an emergency plan in place.

Find out who in your congregation is willing to keep an eye on the crowd and look for anything out of the ordinary. Who is willing to help escort someone who is angry, drunk, or high off the property? A few trusted individuals need to be given the authority to quietly step in and handle minor situations before they escalate. Others should be in charge of quietly alerting the police to the situation.

You should also have a plan in case there's no chance to prevent an act of violence. Since 70% of deaths on the properties of churches and other faith-based organizations are innocent bystanders, you want your congregation to know where to flee for safety. If at all possible, children should be taught to find safety inside the nearest room away from the main area of worship, with the door locked, until the police arrive.

Dealing with the increasing threat of violence in places of worship is an unfortunate reality of our times. But a measured response, complete with basic safety precautions, will help keep your congregation safe. Contact a business, such as TS7 Smart, for more information.   


About Me

Security Guards Are Not Just for Celebrities

I had always thought that security guards were only needed by the rich and famous. I never expected to have to hire one for my family until our home was broken into one night. Immediately after the break-in, my children were terrified to go to sleep at night. We found a good security system that couldn't be installed until a few days later. After two sleepless nights, I decided to look into hiring a security guard to stay awake at our home for one night, so I could finally get some rest. I couldn't believe how affordable it was to have a guard at my home for a few hours during the night, and we all got great sleep knowing were safe. I hope I help others who have suffered from home break-ins. A security guard can help you feel secure when waiting for your security system to be installed.