According to the RACV, in Victoria there is one burglary every 19 minutes, which equates to 1 in 71 houses in the state. While these statistics relate to private homes, there is the same need for security for your church; in fact more so, since your church building is frequently visited by members of the public.
At the top of the list for church security is a well-managed key-and-lock system. While it may feel right for a church to have a trusting, open-door policy, the fact is that church property such as sound equipment, musical instruments, cash and computer systems can be prime targets for burglars.
A good key-and-lock system will have the following features:
- It will create “layers” of security for your church property. This means that even if members of the public can gain entry to the building during the week, for instance, they will not be able to access church office space or areas where valuables are kept.
- A well-administered key management system – one that is able to track the location of all keys at all times.
- Keys should be restricted to certain individuals on a needs-only basis. Up-to-date signed records should be kept of who has which keys and for how long. Work or voluntary personnel should hand all keys in when resigning from their positions.
If key handling is a problem for your church you might want to consider a restricted master-key system, whereby keys are handed to certain people for particular areas of the building only, while the holder of the master-key has access to all areas. Key duplications can only be made with the written permission of the master-key holder, or the safety committee if there is one.
All locks should be changed every few years, or alternately, the locks could be “re-keyed” by a professional locksmith to fit a new or existing key. Either way, it is not a good idea to keep the same set of keys and locks endlessly.
Some extra tips for church security:
- Form a church safety and security committee or team.
- Train greeters, ushers and car-park attendants to monitor activity and report suspicious behaviour.
- Conduct risk assessments before buying and installing security equipment such as alarms. This helps to ensure that the equipment you purchase will be appropriate for your particular church’s needs.
- Always have two people present when cash is collected, counted and stored, and manage key control particularly closely in these instances.
- Perform an annual inventory check, and consider identification-marking of major items in case of theft.
Sound key-system management in particular should help go a long way towards improving security, reducing burglaries, and lessening the need for insurance claims in the process.Tags: risk management, security