Churches typically think about strife existing outside the church walls and concentrate on helping solve problems that exist in the community and in the world. This is because violence happened somewhere else.
Unfortunately, things have changed dramatically over the last few years. A 2013 USA Today article about church security recently noted that “the number of deadly episodes at sanctuaries has soared over the last decade, and mass shootings at schools, malls, and movie theaters have left Americans feeling like it could happen anywhere.”
Violence perpetrated against the church is on the rise and while most churches want to improve church security, they are doing it all wrong.
Churches Do Not Have a Professional Security Mindset
According to by Christian Security Network (CSN), an organization specializing in church security, 75% of churches are underprepared in an emergency situation and lack adequate security technologies and protocols. Churches have long considered themselves a place of peace that existed outside of the strife and have failed to adopt a new mindset.
They Make Church Security Systems Invisible and Unobtrusive
Many in church leadership feel that the visible presence of security will dampen the spirit of worship or build a feeling of mistrust. The poll by CSN also revealed that 90% of church goers worry about church security and feel their church does not do enough in the area of security. Church goers want to know that their church is doing what they can to make church a safe and pleasant experience. Church security should include both overt and covert technologies and protocols.
Churches Have Security Systems but Use Them Wrong
Most churches have a security system but typically think of them as tool to protect and secure the church facility while not in use. This means that this powerful tool is only being partially utilized. To improve church security, churches should think of the system as a 24/7 tool to help protect people and prevent violence. Things such as access control and video surveillance systems can be very helpful in a church security strategy.
They Forget to Use Natural Barriers
Natural barriers are used in most public places to guide traffic, ease exit and entrances, and prevent or limit access to certain areas. In a well-planned space, it is easy to identify someone that does not know where to go, or someone that seems nervously out of place. Churches routinely forget to use this powerful and easily implemented tool.
Churches Typically Do Not Have a Security Team
Most churches fail to see the need for a trained security team, yet see the importance for other gatherings of the same size. Every church should have a trained security team with a designated head of the team to ensure all safety protocols are implemented.
Churches use Ushers and Greeters All Wrong
While greeters and ushers are assuming their traditional duties, they could be doing more. Greeters, ushers, and others in leadership should be fully trained in identifying problems and in how to defuse a volatile situation. Greeters and ushers for example should practice aggressive friendliness with individuals demonstrating behaviors that could cause problems. Greeters and ushers should form one layer in church security protocol.
Churches Fail to use Emergency Response Plans
In areas of severe weather, most churches have plans for evacuation or for sheltering in place yet do not have an emergency protocol to deal with threats of violence. Just adding elements like lockdown procedures, controlled access, identifying red zones that are not able to be locked down (such as bathrooms), and equipping rooms with things that could aid in a lockdown can prove to be the elements that save lives.
Don’t do church security all wrong. If you are interested in improving church security and want more information about how to use a security alarm and video surveillance system as a tool in church security protocols, give us a call today. We are happy to discuss the many capabilities of these systems and how to use them all to the fullest advantage.