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Starting a Church Watch Program

Though many people assume that vandals and thieves would not want to focus on crimes against churches, sometimes the opposite is true. In fact, the word is getting out that it can be easy to break into church buildings to steal or cause damage because of their lack of security efforts.

In some cases, churches almost invite problems because they have not taken the steps necessary to protect the church facilities. Beyond the standard steps of providing adequate lighting, locking doors and windows, and trimming bushes around entrances and windows, a congregation may also help protect its property by forming a “Church Watch Program.”

The process to set up such a program is fairly straightforward and won’t damper your church budget. By adhering to the following guidelines, you are taking steps that may end up protecting the resources and facilities God has entrusted to your care:

  • Educate members that the protection of church resources and facility is an act of good stewardship.
  • Invite members to make an effort to drive around the church property whenever they are out and about in the neighborhood.
  • Ask them to look for suspicious activity, cars, or people.
  • Encourage them to observe unusual activities, and call the police if they believe something looks out of the ordinary.
  • Ask them not to confront individuals or take any unnecessary risks.
  • Invite church neighbors to also report anything suspicious to the appropriate authorities.
  • Use the church newsletter or bulletins to remind members of the watch program and to thank them for their participation in making your church community a safer place to worship.

The added traffic through your parking lots and around your facility will be a significant deterrent to potential vandals and thieves. By taking the time to ask for the assistance of all church attendees and members, your property and resources can stay better protected and ministry can continue uninterrupted. Further, members may take a more active role in the overall safety and security of all areas of ministry.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.