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Worried about welcoming?

Does your church keep its sanctuary unlocked to permit church members or walk-in guests a place to pray or seek solace? Many churches do. However, this level of accessibility to the property creates risks. Can you balance the needs of accessibility and expand church ministry while protecting against costly losses occurring from theft? Yes, you can.

Individuals who steal from churches are looking for easy targets, such as overlooked, vulnerable areas of the building, including unlocked windows or doors and dark or poorly illuminated areas of the property. Here are some tips to help keep your church both welcoming and secure.

  1. Secure entry points. Lock or secure every door and window in the building when not in use.

  2. Illuminate dark areas. Leave a light on to illuminate hallways or areas and install outdoor lights at entry points.

  3. Consider a security system. Monitor the property with an alarm system connected to a security company or the local police or fire department. Post alarm system signs and decals throughout the property. These can provide additional deterrent.

  4. Don't forget garage and storage units. Always lock church garage doors and storage unit doors.

  5. Keep vehicles from being targets. Roll up windows, lock doors and hide valuables. This helps you avoid crimes of opportunity.

A theft and vandalism prevention review can be an effective means to help deter crimes against the church property. To help you get started with a theft and vandalism deterrent plan for your ministry, including this and other areas to monitor, we've provided a sample theft and vandalism prevention checklist. Use this sample as a guide in developing your own plan.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church's risk management program.