While a church may be a little different from an office or a factory in terms of its purpose and the way it is used, churches are like other businesses in that they must be secure and safe for employees and visitors. When thinking about office security you wouldn’t overlook the need for an alarm system, for example, so why would you forget this crucial factor when your “business” is a church? Unfortunately, churches are not safe from burglary or vandalism. Here are some ways you can help protect a church against intruders while still keeping it open for the beneficial purpose it was intended.
Any gate that allows access for vehicles should be kept locked at all times and only left open when you are on the premises and expecting a vehicle. Keep gates and fences well-maintained so they are not able to be lifted off their hinges or dismantled easily. Keep the boundary of the church defined and secure – for this you will need fencing or hedges. Make sure there are no gaps and that the hedges are thick and impenetrable but not so high the church is hidden from passers-by. Keep stone walls maintained and pay particular attention to old walls that may be in poor repair.
Make sure you cut any trees and bushes close to the church so you don’t provide easy access to the church roof. The roof is a vulnerable point in a church building and is susceptible to lead and metal theft. Install an alarm system to prevent intruders from accessing the roof to vandalise it or steal metal. A wireless alarm system for maintaining good church security is the best choice – the system is sensitive enough to warn of intruders but not so sensitive to sound every time the wind blows or a bird lands on the roof. Plus, you can monitor and control the alarm even when you are not on the premises.
If you have outdoor equipment like lawn mowers or other tools make sure they are always kept locked in an outbuilding. Take care not to store flammable materials like chemicals and paint close to the church buildings. Keep valuables locked in a safe at all times.
Keep the church well-lit by fixing security lights to key locations on the exterior of the building. It is best to use motion-sensitive lights that will be triggered should someone come onto the property at night, in order to avoid large electricity bills. Keep one door only open to the public – thieves are less likely to risk entering the church to steal if there is only one entry/exit and someone is close to it. And never leave keys outside “hidden” in a plant pot or elsewhere for someone to pick up. If you need to give the keys to someone, for example a church group leader that comes in every Saturday, make a copy and make sure you take the copy back when the person no longer needs it.
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