Access control isn’t something that is often associated with churches or other places of worship. They are universally known as peaceful gathering places that are welcoming to all with open-door policies. In today’s world, you can never be too safe, especially in places where so many gather. Regardless of the usual open-door policy, many churches and places of worship put security plans in place to ensure the safety of the parishioners and visitors that enter their buildings. Though church security may sound contradictory to the message that they mean to send out, it is important to prioritize improving general safety.
The tips below are designed to help churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and any faith-based communities that want to ensure a safe environment for their congregations.
Begin by creating a church security plan that analyzes the current measures and procedures you already have in place. Start by asking some key questions that will help you analyze your security needs:
· Do you have a lockdown plan?
· A designated exit?
· Are there documented emergency response procedures? Are they up-to-date and easily accessible?
· Are your employees and volunteers aware of their roles in case of an emergency?
These questions will help you determine what level of security you currently have and what you need to add. Once you’ve evaluated your current security policies you can explore some of these suggestions:
1. Develop A Church Security Plan
If you don’t already, make sure you have lockdown procedures in place. Make sure your pastors, parishioners, and visitors are aware of them in case a dangerous situation arises. Though you cannot predict a security threat, it is important to know exactly what to do if one occurs.
2.Create a Church Security Team
In addition to any staff or church security team, reach out to your community and request volunteers to support all security measures including guarding doors, monitoring surveillance cameras, and keeping track of any “blacklisted” members or visitors.
3. Maintain an open dialogue with all members, parishioners, and visitors
Ensure everyone who visits your location is aware of the security measures being taken and the rules and regulations that you set forth. Put an informative communication plan in place and use it as an opportunity to let them know that you value their safety and take it seriously.
4. Install and/or upgrade cameras and surveillance technology
Have a technician make sure all your equipment (cameras, monitors, etc.) is working and is up to date. Research new methods, cameras, and the latest in surveillance technology, such as Access by Ipsidy, a mobile biometric identity management solution that’s affordable and easy to implement at any location.
5. Aim to disrupt the normal procedures of your church as little as possible
Instate as many security methods as you deem necessary without causing concern from the community. The less the protocols affect the flow of daily services and events the better. Consider biometric solutions such as Access that can be configured to meet your needs and integrated with IP Cameras.
6. Establish controlled hours of operation.
Outside of open hours of prayer and mass services, your location should be locked and secure when there are no employees or congregants on site.
7. Church Security Training
Make sure your staff and volunteers are up to date on the newest security protocols and measures and that they are fully trained. Don’t assume one-time training is good enough. Make sure those who are helping you enforce new security measures are consistently refreshing their knowledge on methods to protect your community. Implement a regular training schedule and treat it as an opportunity to present current, relevant information.
8. Contact and maintain a dialogue with your local law enforcement officers.
Reach out to anyone with a law enforcement background in your community. Make sure they understand the security measures you have in place and allow them to inspect and approve them.
9. Upgrade Locks.
Check all window and door locks for times when the church is closed to visitors. Make sure your locks are secure and only those who need them have keys.
10. Know your parishioners and visitors are who they say they are
Research access control or digital visitor logger systems that will help you know who is where and when they arrive or depart. This will allow you to keep track of your members and greet your parishioners by name.
These simple but effective tips can help to create a much more secure and safe environment for your church or place of worship.
Identify members and visitors using a visitor pass solution
Ready to take your church security to the next level? Provide a more secure, safe, open-door environment at any location or event, and enhance member relationships with a digital access control system. Access by Ipsidy is a convenient Identity Access Management System that uses technology on the mobile devices we carry everywhere. With Access you can identify members and visitors with biometric certainty, allow for seamless entry, or require digital identity verification upon arrival, choose from a variety of secure digital authentication methods: facial biometrics, PIN numbers, or scannable QR codes, and adjust as needed for scenarios and special events. No installation, integration, or construction necessary, and minimal hardware requirements. Learn more by getting in touch with our team!