It’s hard to imagine that someone would actually rob a church, and yet it happens every day in the U.S. In fact, one recent ABC report noted that church burglaries are on the rise in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this trend is being echoed in other parts of the country as well. It must require a lot of Hail Mary prayers to be absolved from burglarizing a church, but that’s not stopping would-be thieves who take to the sanctuaries in search of tithes and valuables. If your own church has fallen prey to the sinful acts of a thief in the night, or if you’re just looking to prevent such an occurrence, there are some simple steps you can take to secure your temple.
One Pastor’s Advice
Pastor Jim Hunter is just one of the Albuquerque clergy leaders whose church was targeted by burglars. Thieves damaged his gold-plated chalice and stole two musical instruments after breaking into his church two years ago. Now Hunter is speaking out and encouraging other churches—as well as homeowners—to get serious about their security. Hunter recently shared some of his tips with ABC, which include installing lights with motion sensors and trimming trees to provide extra visibility. As we always say at Home Security Store, even the smallest improvements can have a monumental impact when it comes to deterring criminals.
Protecting Your Church
Far too many churches are under-protected, and criminals know this. It’s especially common to see lax security in smaller churches merely due to a lack of funds. Security systems can get pretty expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a number of highly affordable DIY security systems out there, with 24-hour monitoring offered for less than $10 a month. And even if you’re not ready to invest in an entire security system just yet, you can still improve your security tremendously with a couple of strategically placed security cameras. If you’re on a budget, you can ward off burglars using dummy cameras and yard signs.
Don’t leave money on site. It’s the first thing that criminals look for, and it’s the easiest thing for them to steal. Burglars have even been known to walk off with 200-pound safes, so don’t leave cash unattended. Take it to the bank. Also, remember to always lock up the facility. This may sound like common sense, but so many churches overlook this critically important step. After all, churches are meant to be welcoming, but unfortunately, criminals perceive a welcoming atmosphere as an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
Protecting the Kids
It’s not just burglars you need to watch out for. In today’s unpredictable world, we must all contend with the tragic reality of child abduction. Churches make ideal targets for child predators, and that’s why it’s so important to implement a plan for releasing children into and out of childcare. Make sure that each parent signs their children in and out of Sunday School, to ensure not only that each child is accounted for, but that each child leaves with the same adult(s) with whom he or she arrived.
Do you know who has access to your church? I mean, do you really know? Church-related burglaries and crimes are quite often inside jobs, so it’s important to perform background checks on everyone who assumes a position of responsibility and authority within your church – especially those who work with children. You don’t just want to go for the simple background checks, but complete background checks. Again, if you’re concerned about budgetary issues, there are services that will do this online for free.
Have a Little Faith
By taking a few simple steps to secure your sanctuary, you can enjoy added peace of mind when your church is unattended. That frees you up to focus on more important things, like organizing all of your important sermons, events, studies and ministries. Home Security Store offers a wide array of security essentials suitable for any house of worship, and with our same-day shipping, you’ll be enjoying that added safety in no time.