Each year, churches experience significant losses due to vandalism. Vandals often act impulsively. Lighting and surveillance systems are two key ways to reduce vandalism.
Lighting It Up
Lighting is one of the best and least expensive forms of prevention:
- Lights must have sufficient illumination.
- Install protective lighting around locations that someone might use to enter the facilities, such as doors, windows, or skylights. The parking lot and street entrances into the parking lot also should have good illumination.
- Use protective covers so someone will not be able to break the bulb easily.
- Consult with the local power company to determine the proper level of illumination for security purposes.
Sound the Alarm
Increasingly, churches use surveillance systems to reduce vandalism and to promote security:
- Monitor church parking lots and property during church services.
- Use an alarm system as a complement to basic security measures. Be sure to shop around—there's a wide range of prices and monitoring fees.
- Alarm systems make use of a phone line, so find out how the security company protects the phone line.
- Most systems have a built-in delay in order to allow staff members to disarm them when they enter the building. The delay should be as short as possible.
- Place stickers on windows and doors, and place signs at strategic locations on the property warning of your alarm system. Deterrence is the best policy.
Other steps churches can take:
- Maximize visibility between offices and the outside of the church, especially at parking lots and entrances, to create natural surveillance.